While I was creating the artwork for Sageâs Copper Gone artwork, I was working on our own release behind the scenes.
Me and Leigh have had an occasional record label for a number of years, and this was to be its next release. As soon as we heard âViva La Vinylâ, a track on the Sick to D(eat)h album by Sage Francis, we knew we had to do something with it. As record buyers for four decades ourselves, manufacturers of 45rpm adapters and with Record Store Day approaching in the next couple of months, it was immediately destined to be a release – and on 7â, of course!
As a total contrast we decided to make it a double A side with the track âYou Canât Winâ by the Epic Beard Men – Sage and B.Dolan, a massively upbeat fist-bumpinâ rap-athon with crisp disses and crisper beats by Buddy Peace.
With the decision made we had to spring into action, fast. First we had to licence the track from Strange Famous, then set about getting the actual record made (we used Well Tempered with excellent mastering by Finyl Tweek) for which labels had to be designed first, since theyâre smushed into the vinyl as itâs flattened on the press. And of course, it had to have a Big Hole in the centre for an adapter! Here I am drawing the labels:
With the records in production, and with distribution organised (ST Holdings), we had to get the sleeve designed. As with a lot of our projects, we didnât have a complete vision at the start, we just knew that it had to be a 12â sleeve to have presence and provide a nice big vehicle for the artwork. After a lot of fat-chewing and discussion around scraps of paper and a sketchbook, the idea evolved fairly organically and centred around a gatefold sleeve with lots of artwork.
A large hand-inked proclamation on the front would say all it needed to, and a bespoke knife-cut hole in the centre would reveal the label and adapter. Inside, the sleeve would open up to reveal two pieces of artwork on each side of pin-perforated detachable board, a nice recycled Kraft-based one with a real chunky quality.
Printer Steve, who’s taken care of all Inkymoleâs print needs for the last fifteen years, came to a meeting with his board samples and our scrappy paper mockups, added a couple of fine constructional ideas, and after that, the drawing could begin. Watch the process of drawing out each piece of artwork, from pencil to ink – I lost count of the time but weâre looking at three days straight, with more hours on top for layout, design and prepping for print (the terrifying bit!)
The set-up for the Viva La Vinyl illustration was my desk with our old much-stickered speakers, assorted records and vinyl-related props. The little boy is based on no-one in particular, except that he had to look really bloody excited! And freckly.
In the end the records arrived a week early and we set about popping 500 adapters into 500 holes and sticking 7â records onto sleeves, then folding and boxing. They were driven to the distributor (a 400 mile round trip) 48 hours before we left for a few daysâ break in Portugalâ¦during which time, we sold out of our own stock thanks to many supportive tweets and posts, including this great review by Factoryroad/Inkymole gang member Strictly Kev, coming back to a day of immediate packing and posting! It is however well understood in this house that there is, as the legend says, no rest for the wicked.
The record was released on April 14th and is available in the following stores in the UK, along with assorted bricks-and-mortar shops:
(Boomkat, Norman Records and Beatdown are sold out right now, unless the stock up soon, soz!)
A childhood dream come true, having a record we helped create being featured in my favourite local record shop (now the only local record shop). Nervous Records, Hinckley.
I sit back and kick my feet up until my mind relaxes
Time passes slow like it was pitched down
The globe spins on its axis but the needle never skips town
Cause I clean it
I take proper care of my LPs
But every single spin brings the groove closer to its knees
It’s normal everyday wear and tear
Takes an especially professional ear to hear it
But from year to year
You notice subtle differences from multiple listens
It’s upsetting cause you wanted to have something to hand down to the children
Sure, you could convert it all to mp3
And it probably already exists digitally – that’s not your history
In fact, it lacks the full experience
We built bulldozers and smashed the magic out of the pyramids
Kids don’t understand, they’re laughing when you’re serious
You just shrug your shoulders, and admit how silly it is
Somewhere in a grandma’s attic, there’s a little brat
Who stumbles upon a phonograph, perfectly intact
He uses a sheet of paper to make a makeshift slipmat
Now a collection of well-preserved 45s are getting scratchedâ¦
Lyrics Â© Sage Francis
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