MADE HERE: Building A Vinyl Record Factory From Scratch  | Popular Mechanics

MADE HERE: Building A Vinyl Record Factory From Scratch | Popular Mechanics

September 18, 2019 0 By Kailee Schamberger


(inspiring music) – [Thomas] I cannot make music. I can play the stereo but
I can’t play the guitar. My connection to the arts is
some kind of manufacturing, whether it’s making
film or printing books. I’m the vinyl manufacturer making records. (inspiring music) (machines whirring) I started 2001. I visited a pressing
plant in Long Island City that had just moved
from downtown Manhattan. Their setup was very nice and when is saw their place, I thought, “Oh record pressing’s very nice.” I bought the first two machines which were in a terrible state. I was simultaneously rebuilding machines by taking them apart, the automation, and cleaning them up and
putting them back together. There were all kinds of
things wrong with them. There’s been a lot more than I expected. I melted this hose. Dropped that one coming off the truck. I had one guy contaminate
everything terribly. I come from a factory environment. So I’d run home from
school and I would play Marley Marl or Red Alert. And then my father would
get home so I’d have to turn the music off and I’d
help him bore out an engine. I know who pressed this record. Anybody who wants that
money is welcome to. Small center, Universal,
flat label area, Universal, teardrop, nice thin record,
flattened of course, Universal. This is gonna be pressed on a Lened. Did you get that? Yeah I see it’s got the… Starting, the goal was to press records. You wanted to become
the vessel for the artist to generate their idea
and then materialize it. There’s a sense of completion
because each project is hundreds of little things
that wanna go wrong. There was like an eight hour
day to press 300 records and it was like, difficult. And so now, 300 records is under an hour. You know, and it’s easy. I used to dread it, I used
to have like terrible anxiety like, “Oh my god, this is
the end of the business.” “I can’t do this.” Once you get through it, you have a sense that you could do anything. If I was to be transported
five years into the future, you know, from five years ago to now, I’d be like so happy. (machines whirring) Exhausting yourself every
night, working hard, you can’t feel bad about what you do. Because when you make
something, you’re making 500, or 1,000, or 2,000, or 5,000. After it’s made and it
goes out into the world and the world enjoys it, and
then it’s requested again, that is the most rewarding. You’re multiplying that by
how many people are hearing it and enjoying it, and you’re not the artist but completely connected with the art. Which is something in
life where you don’t, you don’t need to make crap, there’s enough crap in the world. So you want to make something positive and constructive and beautiful. (upbeat dance music)