When it comes to hardcore music, few people have put in as much hard work as Chris Wrenn. Running a record label might put you behind the scenes of the moshing masses, but I can assure you that Chris is there every step of the way. Chris wears his heart on his sleeve, all the while waving the banner for the hardcore scene and its ever changing landscape. Some of his earlier releases not only defined different times of my life, but also helped me through them and let me feel like there were other people on earth like me, screaming for change, screaming for a difference, and screaming just to be heard.
In an ever disposable music world, Chris still puts out music that means something. He supports the bands that deserve the support and gives you something real, something honest, and in many cases a real tangible record that is so much more important than a downloaded sound clip. I was pleased when one of our followers, Dan, suggested I get a hold of him. I had no idea that Chris was a father, and jumped at the chance to talk to him about being a dad. I had known of Chris for years through his handwork and dedication to the music scene, and it was obvious that his dedication and passion was just as much, if not more for his own child. Without further adieu, meet Chris Wrenn, the guy behind Bridge9 Records.
1. Tell us about what you do, who you are, and how you balance your career with being a dad?
My name is Chris Wrenn and I like to make things. Most notably albums with hardcore punk bands on the Bridge Nine record label that I founded when I was 19 (I’m 38 now), but my greatest achievement to date has been my daughter, Georgia. Career wise, I’ve just had to shift my day around. I used to go to my office around 7am every morning, now I head there around 11am. I then head back around 6pm to give her dinner and take her for a walk, and then usually spend a few more hours at the office after she goes to sleep by 9pm.
2. What does being a modern-day dad mean to you?
I guess it just means finding a balance between being the person I’ve always been, but at the same time being the father that my daughter needs. Providing stability – both financially as well as emotionally.
3.How did becoming a father change your life?
It made me stop being so focused on myself, and it really challenged my priorities. I’d become so used to working 12+ hours a day, it made me realize that there was more pressing things in life, and nurturing hers became the most important.
4. Whats the greatest part about being a dad?
Her running to give me a hug when she sees me is high up there. We spend every morning together, our routine is going to the local coffee shop where she knows a lot of the staff and other customers. She’s befriended the photographer who took the pic of me sitting on the ground holding her (John Andrews) and they’re buds. He’s taken some amazing photos of her. We split a bagel and I have coffee while she eats a fruit cup. Then it’s off to the playground or the Peabody Essex Museum, where she has become a regular. She has a favorite artist – performance artist Nick Cave – she’s a fan of his colorful “sound suits”. Just being proud of how much she has learned and how she copes with the obstacles that 2 year-old’s face.
5. Can you share a funny story about being a father?
Yeah, I’ve got a story about one of the many times my 2 year old has outsmarted me. Earlier on, before she became more affectionate to me, I asked my daughter to give me a hug. Knowing that gave her a little leverage, she said “No”. I had already realized when out with her toddler friends that the easiest way to get her attention when I was being snubbed was to pick another kid up, so I thought I’d pretend to give a big hug to an imaginary friend that I called “Peorgia”. Not only was she not impressed and continued to ignore me as I hammed it up, but several days later when I asked her for a hug again, she responded “no Dad, why don’t you go hug Peorgia”.
6. What advice can you give any new father out there?
You get back what you put in. It takes a little getting used to but your time together will become more comfortable and natural. I spoke with a woman recently at the museum who said her husband would have a panic attack if he had to take their daughter out by himself for the afternoon, which is a huge loss for everyone involved. It took a while before I was comfortable (and the bond that Mom’s have immediately took 6 months for me as the Dad to get to) but my time with my daughter is truly special and I don’t think I ever imagined it could be like this. Honestly, I don’t know if I had given it much thought beforehand. I just feel very lucky that I’ve structured my life in such a way that I can try and have as many opportunities to be there for her and I’d advise all new father’s to really set aside as much time as they can for their children. Not to mention it gives the Mom’s a well deserved break.
Thanks so much Chris! You are an absolute inspiration and I appreciate all you’ve done for the music I love! Thanks for taking part!
Check out Bridge Nine Records here: http://www.bridge9.com/
Follow Chris on Instagram here: http://www.instagram.com/chrisb9