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Small Run: New Shop, Niche Service

A few months ago Heather introduced us to Small Run's Nathan Sawford. He'd recently bought himself a lathe, learnt the intricacies of vinyl cutting from some serious German guy and opened up his one-man, one-at-a-time record-pressing studio for business. “This guy is onto a winner,” we thought, “this is some niche service he's providing for local, indie musicians. Where else can they get just a handful of records cut – one by one, mind you?” Well, we decided to catch up with him to find out what's been happening since we first met, and learn a bit more about his individual lathing process at the same time.

This interview was originally featured in Three Thousand.

thethousands.com.au

“MP3s are how people listen to music, but if they want a keepsake, vinyl seems to be it.”

I would never really want to do more than 100. Only because I actually have to sit here and supervise each cut and I want to spend my hours hearing a diverse range of stuff.

Interview with Small Run's Nathan Sawford
Interview with Small Run's Nathan Sawford
Hey Nathan, how's it all been going since you started up?

It's been incredible, I originally got into this mainly so I could press some records for my mates and my own band Trjaeu, but I've been way too inundated with emails to even find time for our own stuff.

According to an ABC news story you linked to from your Facebook page, CD sales are continuing to die a slow death, while Australian vinyl album sales increased by 70 per cent last year. Why do you think people are going so nuts for vinyl? Do you think it's the 'collectable artefact' factor?

I think you're right in saying it's having an object or an artefact, something that is tangible. CDs offer this as well but vinyl has the history. MP3s are how people listen to music, but if they want a keepsake, vinyl seems to be it.

What's an exciting record you've cut recently?

I just did a single for this guy – I think you've written him up before?Japanese Wallpaper. Anyway, this kid is like sixteen or something, and makes really great ambient electronic stuff. I pressed his single out the other week, now guys like Jonti and Gotye are tweeting about it and it's gaining all this momentum. It's awesome how that can happen so fast these days.

True, and with no major label involvement, which is cool too.

Yeah well, with a guy like Japanese Wallpaper there's actually zero need for major label involvement to get his stuff noticed. It's a really exciting situation.

From what I can tell it's been the people in the electronic and beats scene (like Fallopian Tunes and //THIS THING//, and you obviously) who've really taken the reigns with this cottage-industry vinyl thing. Why do you think that is?

Haha it's because we're all gear nerds!

What's the largest run you can actually commit to?

I would never really want to do more than 100. Only because I actually have to sit here and supervise each cut and I want to spend my hours hearing a diverse range of stuff. Also it can get a bit tense if you're 16 minutes through cutting a song and a bit of dust or something fucks it up. When that happens you just have to toss it and start again.

 

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Article by Thousands for Stoli Australia

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