Veteran record executive Jason Flom is no stranger to brushing up against stardom. The stalwart has had major stints at Atlantic and Capitol Records, founded his own label – Lava – and helped launch the careers of everyone from Matchbox Twenty and Paramore, to Lorde and Greta Van Fleet. He sat down with Rolling Stone to spill on his unique experiences for an episode of “The First Time.”
Watch: Jason Flom chats with Rolling Stone
As a teenger, Flom recalls having one of his first brushes with stardom by sharing an elevator with Ike and Tina Turner, Pete Townshend and Elton John, who were on their way up to a penthouse for Robert Stigwood’s release party for 1975 film Tommy. “We tried to sneak into the party through the kitchen – didn’t work,” he says, as he recounts the humorous story.
Flom speaks on his humble beginnings starting Lava with “no clue,” before meeting with massive success. “I didn’t have any idea what I was doing – that whole fake it ‘till you make it thing,” he says. “We set up with me and three other people, and no artists, and a very small budget. And then Lava got hot.”
It was through that record label that Flom would eventually make one of his biggest signings, the massively successful New Zealand artist Lorde. On meeting her for the first time, Flom recounts that it was in a small Auckland coffee shop and his first impression of her wasn’t typical of just any 15-year-old aspiring star. “She was pretty introspective and carried herself like a star.”
Elsewhere in the interview Flom talks about his heavy involvement in criminal justice reform, which just a few years ago extended to a podcast with guests like Meek Mill and Kim Kardashian West. Flom recalls the case that got him interested in the first place, describing it as a combination of “luck and serendipity and perseverance.”