Monday, April 22, 2013

Transparent Vinyl: Moving Mountains.

It's been a while. Sitting back for a second, though, as Cold Blue Mountain's eponymous 12" is freed to run rampant across this earth, I thought I may collect and share some thoughts from this go-round.

Following the (in my mind) successful Fister formula, I went down a very similar path with Cold Blue Mountain's record. Again we used Aardvark for cutting the lacquer, United Record Pressing for the vinyl and, this time, Holy Mountain Printing handled not only t-shirts but a jacket folder as well. The timeline unfolded a little something like this:
test pressing.
October 8, 2012: Cold Blue Mountain makes initial contact based upon our Fister project (then just in progress).
January 10: Cold Blue Mountain and Gogmagogical Records sign an agreement to release their self-titled debut as GOG-003.
February 1: Masters received at Aardvark Record Mastering for plating.
February 3: Finalized order placed with United Record Pressing. Aardvark has lacquers cut.
February 4: Aardvark ships lacquers off for plating.
February 28: Order placed for t-shirts and jacket folders with Holy Mountain Printing.
March 14: Test pressings are received from United.
March 20: Test pressings approved by the band, final order approval sent to United and release date set for April 19.
March 28: All vinyl - 100 blue/white splits and 200 black - received from United Record Pressing.
March 29: T-shirts received from Holy Mountain Printing.
April 11: Jacket folders received from Holy Mountain Printing.
April 12: The band's records are shipped via overnight mail for receipt for an April 13 show.
April 19: Cold Blue Mountain releases wide.

I have to say I am getting a little spoiled at this point. Cold Blue Mountain was absolutely a pleasure to work with. No one pushed, questioned timelines, nor argued any points. We communicated well and this was about as smooth as one could ever hope. I worked largely with Brandon Squyres but also maintained regular contact with Sesar Sanchez and Daniel Taylor. Additionally, there were zero problems with all of our manufacturing partners. Holy Mountain's jackets, in particular, are incredibly lush and I have yet to find a blemish on any.

The launch of the record has been relatively slow. Fister, as a counterpoint, was not. There are several factors in play here. First, Fister never listed their album for sale online nor did they hold anything "exclusive." With the exception of Encapsulated Records, to whom I traded 100 records for the jackets, I had zero competition for the product in the online world. I do not believe Cold Blue Mountain have listed their record online to date but we certainly have no agreement barring them from doing so (nor did I with Fister, for that matter). That said, the band is the exclusive holder of the colored vinyl and I expect many of their California-area fans are opting to purchase theirs directly from the band. Second, geographically, I am closer to Fister's fanbase. There are simply more folks nearby and in my admittedly limited circle of influence who know the band and wanted the record right away. It is very clear to me that I need to face the reality of my very limited exposure in a very large world. The band has partnered with The Black Birch for PR and I am extremely impressed with their efforts. Nearly every outlet I have contacted regarding review copies has already heard from them and I am now convinced more than ever that I need a PR firm myself. I'll be contacting them myself very soon.

I chose black vinyl as the second option and could have certainly chosen a more collectible color for the label to hold. That said, expenses were a factor as was consideration of the fact that there is an interest in "pure" black vinyl. I do not want the label to become a source of only colorful collectibles and feel strongly enough about the musicians I am working with to believe that their music alone is the draw and these sounds should matter more than the color of the platter on which they spin. All that said, if I were buying, though, I would opt for that blue-and-white beauty before black in a heartbeat. I am very, very confident that as word of mouth spreads and reviews begin to appear online that Cold Blue Mountain will pick up traction and succeed swimmingly.

Kingsblood's Trudging Through the Field of Crows is currently awaiting test pressings and will begin its sprint toward release any day. Once finished, though, the label will need to recoup some funds before setting out upon the next release. While Violence has broken even, two records underway at once has eaten into a couple thousand of my own personal dollars. I am hoping for GOG-004 to see the light of day in late 2013/early 2014.