Celebrating AEMMP’S 40th Anniversary with Alex Fruchter
Alexander Fruchter is an Associate Professor of Instruction in the Business and Entrepreneurship Department and co-owner of Closed Sessions, Chicago’s premier independent hip hop label. He wrote and edited hip-hop magazines and websites, worked at record labels, and has performed as DJ RTC. He currently teaches the AEMMP’s Record Label: Hip Hop class. We grabbed a few minutes of Alex’s time to speak to him about AEMMP’s 40th Anniversary and where he thinks the future lies.
Congratulations on AEMMP’s 40th anniversary! What do you think has been the key to the longevity of the label?
Thank you for that! I must be clear though, that I have only been involved with AEMMP since 2012 when I started teaching the AEMMP Hip Hop Practicum course. I believe the label continues because of the forward-thinking and passion of the students and faculty before me, and the students and faculty that have been involved since. I also credit the city of Chicago and the rich music scene that continues to provide talented artists, promoters, agents, producers, studios, and everything else in between.
What does it feel like, to take the reins of a label like AEMMP that’s been around for four decades?
I think this is a question that is best for the students. It would be easy for me to use my connections and experience to run this label and put out the music that I want to put out – but that’s not my role here. I don’t like to call myself the instructor of this course, I prefer to mentor and guide the students as they learn how to run a label. It is my goal to provide the students a sense of ownership in AEMMP and this label that has 40 years of history.
What makes an AEMMP artist an AEMMP artist? What are the qualities that you and your students look for in bringing someone in?
I think (the students) look for artists that are exciting, artists that match the values and aesthetic of the label, and artists that can truly use their services. We have been fortunate to work with artists through AEMMP Hip Hop that has gone on to some major success, and AEMMP was a part of that story.
AEMMP has gone through various phases of hip hop over the last 40 years. What are your predictions for AEMMP’s next 40 years?
That’s extremely hard to say – we just signed a global distribution deal with Ingrooves, which will give the students and the artists another level of opportunity and experience.
You’ve discovered some amazing artists who have blown up in the hip hop space. How does it feel to see them grow over time? What is it that you think makes them the success stories they turn out to be?
It feels great to see anyone from Chicago’s music scene have success. As part of AEMMP Records, as well as my own career as a writer, DJ, and owner of indie level Closed Sessions, I have been privileged to see and be part of many amazing success stories. I’ve also seen many students come through AEMMP and achieve success on the business side of things. I have former students that have applied what they’ve done at AEMMP to secure A&R jobs at major and indie labels, start booking agencies, as well a producer for Grammy-Award-winning artists. I love that the most.