Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Transparent Vinyl: Perpetuating Violence

This is not Fister's first rodeo. I'll be perfectly honest: I'm still not 100% certain who connected them to my tweeted solicitation but, thus far, they have been a godsend. And by "they" I really have to credit bassist/vocalist Kenny Snarzyk, who has been my sole point of contact thus far.

First off, Kenny pointed out segments of the draft agreement I had posted that, while designed to appeal to the artist, would strain me financially. Upon first contact, he proposed a split of product that would tilt in favor of this fledgling label and offered an opportunity to press a project that already had proven success in the cassette format. We spoke almost immediately following the first few emails and Kenny understood I was inexperienced here and has offered invaluable experience and guidance every step of the way. I had inquiries from about a half-dozen acts, all of which have been humbling, but Fister were one of the few whose music I truly, truly enjoyed, which is absolutely essential.

We started with thoughts of a 10" but the length of each side was prohibitive for our preferred plant so we moved to 12" picture discs, got floored by the pricing and have come back to a 10". I love the 10" format and have been enamored with that idea from the start as every 10" I own is some neat, off-the-wall EP that just seems to deserve that mid-sized unique format. Violence on cassette came with a beautiful book featuring original artwork by by Coby Ellison, Clark Medley, Travis Lawrence, Scott Fogelbach, and Josh Rowan, each corresponding with one of the recording's five movements. As recreating the booklet for the vinyl format would be cost prohibitive, Kenny had the fantastic idea of limited runs of picture discs with each piece of artwork on the flipside. You can see a sample of the 12" dream as mocked up by Kenny below:

Damn, the cost got out of control fast. To change the image every 100 records adds a lot of expense. The overall budget here is definitely a concern, I won't lie. The larger concern, however, is to be able to offer an item at a cost that is reasonable for a record-buying fan. To paraphrase Kenny, Fister are "working man's metal" and a $20+ LP is a luxury most cannot afford. I wish I could take credit for the brainstorm but Kenny's solution was more creative than any I could come up with and speaks to his connections and industry experience. Plates for the record will be created by a mastering firm who can fit what we need onto a 10" (11-13 minutes per side). We'll keep the idea of five sets of 100 with the jackets now bearing the unique artwork and each run of 100 a different combination of colors. I'll share more specifics, samples of the final packaging and credit to all involved as we nail everything down but Kenny has brokered an arrangement with another artist/entrepreneur who is willing to barter printing materials, labor and their own expertise for a share of the pressing run. We'll stay under budget, we'll all get what we need and, above all, the record will remain extremely affordable.

So - tonight I have the WAV masters for the 10" in hand, edited now to two sidelong single tracks. I'll send CDs off tomorrow for mastering/plating and we're already prepped to place the order with the pressing plant as well. This thing is moving. I owe a hell of a lot to a fantastic band and a dedicated, motivated man who, up to now, have done all of the heavy lifting. And, damn, is this thing heavy.

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