We’re in a vinyl state of mind this week. After Paul Du Noyer’s selection of his seven favourite album sleeves (and yours) we’re rather excited to discover a limited imprint series, launched by 80s Casuals chap, Dave Hewitson.
The label, Eighties Vinyl Records, is only one release in, but already it’s sporting a philosophy that’s close to our hearts: only release the good stuff, do it to the best of your ability, and do it because you love it.
It’s a manifesto that Hewitson lives by, having set up the 80s Casuals clothing label a decade or so ago. Records, well, they’re his other passion.
“Everyone knows that if you’re from Liverpool you’ll have a passion for football, fashion and music. With 80s Casuals (which Hewitson owns with Jay Montessori) we get the printing done locally plus the embroidery and any sewing, and for the last eight years we’ve donated clothing to fundraising/charity nights. It was through one of these nights that the chance to put out a single came about,” he says.
Curiously, the lads won a day in the studio (did they win the GIT award? Oh no…) and The Sand Band obligingly came along for the ride.
“From there things sort of snowballed as a few more bands got in touch as they loved the idea. So we then decided to set it up as a ‘not for profit’ showcase for the bands, the sleeve designer, the studio, the videographer – everyone involved.”
With all monies generated from the limited (250 copies) release returned back into the label for the next single, no contracts or publishing deals and an altruistic approach to getting it out there, Hewitson’s created the anti X Factor, and a real shot in the arm for those of us who are still using the wax, not using the CD (as the great Adam Yauch once said).
“Vinyl sales have gone up by 39% in the last two years, up to its highest level since 2005,” Hewitson says. “To me, that confirms that music is an artform that should have tangible presence.”
“The sleeve in itself is a piece of art,” he says, adding to Du Noyer’s rallying cry. “If you’re going to listen to a piece of vinyl then you’re taking time out from your daily activities to actually remove the record from the sleeve, place it on the turntable and really listen, rather than throwing an iPod or Spotify on and skimming through thousands of songs which generally have no meaning to the listener.”
But it’s more than that. It’s a quality thing too. It’s about fidelity. Listen carefully, here comes the science…
“Vinyl is an analogue recording, whereas CDs are digital. Analogue captures the original sound, capturing the waveforms accurately, and capturing a truer sound to that played by the bands,” Hewitson explains.
“Digital takes snapshots of the analogue recording, therefore it can never capture the full soundwaves.”
So that’s why your Ed Sheeran CD sounds shit. Possibly.
So far, the feedback has been encouraging (and we’re not talking about a nasty howling sound loop) – with the website generating 50 sales in its first day.
“It’s been overwhelming,” Hewitson says. “One or two well known bands have got in touch wanting to support the project and help out. We obviously need to sell a good percentage of each release so that we can generate monies to re-invest, so it would be fantastic to have some few high profile names do a song now and again…”
“The Las to reform…”
Ah, it’s nice to dream. In the meantime, the label’s first imprint, by The Sand Band, is available for pre order now: with a limited edition T shirt available at a bargain £15 plus p&p. Next up, The Troubadours…