Vinyl Moon puts the excitement back into getting the post. Their simple concept based on mail-order vinyl mixtapes is taken to a level of craftsmanship you’ve not seen before. The man behind popular music blog The Burning Ear, curator Brandon Bogajewicz hand-picks artists and graphicians to create an outstanding monthly package that will make you more excited than your momma to see the postie.
How did you come to consider this project and what were the motivations?
It all started because I collect a lot of 7″ singles from bands I love who are just starting out. And I was getting tired of having to get up and flip the record every 3 minutes. I thought it would be cool if someone took all these singles from new bands and put them on an LP so I could sit down longer…. And then I realized that that ‘someone’ was going to have to be me.
Are you still running your music blog The Burning Ear?
Yes. Posting every day (kinda).
For me, vinyl is about taking time away from my computer and phone screens, and listening to music without those distractions. Plus it makes a completely different kind of music discovery than streaming because you can’t skip or shuffle. Plus the music is stripped of digital context, like play counts. I love that we live in an era of streaming and I love that we live in an era where vinyl is coming back. It’s nice to have options.
Tell us about the focus on high-end print processes.
I see a lot of vinyl releases that were clearly not designed for the large format of a record jacket. Things like oversized tracklists and lots of negative space may work for a small CD cover, but to me, just enlarging that for a vinyl release is both insulting to the LP medium and the customer. Vinyl is a huge canvas! My feeling is that if people are still buying vinyl these days, then let’s make the coolest damn vinyl we can. And that means pushing the envelope of what is expected from vinyl packaging. Also, I want Vinyl Moon to be difficult to put back on the shelf. I want to fight for space on the coffee table. I want people to love the jackets so much that they share them with friends and get back to the days of music discovery through record lending.
Does it allow you to communicate with artists better? What’s the reaction been from artists?
I don’t think Vinyl Moon would be possible without The Burning Ear and the site’s history of supporting bands. In the early days that was key in getting bands to trust that this project will be something cool. Now that Vinyl Moon can speak for itself I think that the jacket design and high production value are definitely appealing to bands that would otherwise be struggling to put out their own 7″ on a tight budget.
How do you choose who to work with?
For the bands, I just go with my gut and find songs I love that I think deserve more ears. Then I thread ten of those together into something I feel makes a great cohesive tracklist. For visual artists, having a voice and a personality in their work is the most essential. But I also look for artists who I feel could translate well to the printed medium. Record jackets are interesting because they are a 2D item that exists in 3D space, so there are a lot of interesting ways to play with that.
Is the exclusivity important?
No. I never ask for the music on Vinyl Moon to be exclusive. I want these songs to go far and wide in the world and these bands to get the most recognition they can. Coming from the music blog world, it’s refreshing to see a song that I perceive as huge (Hype Machine #1, half a million Soundcloud plays, etc.) be very unknown to the general public. It’s a good reminder how small a corner of the world music blogs are and how much bigger an audience is out there. People who still love discovering music but don’t feel like digging around the Internet for it.
How much do you hate post services and logistics companies?
Haha, well that depends on whether any of them are reading this. If I’ve worked with your shipping company before then know that I’m not mad… I’m just disappointed.
Is vinyl just hip?
In some ways, yes. But the vinyl resurgence itself is simultaneously harming the core audience that kept it alive during the lean years. Vinyl’s current ‘hipness’ is why every major label is clamoring for cash and reissuing records that already exist on vinyl. This crowds the world’s few vinyl presses and creates huge delays for indie labels and small bands. So it’s an exciting time, but a weird time. Like watching your dad discover Snapchat.
3 tips for amazing music we should know?
1. DYAN is a brand new band who just released their first song, ‘St. James’, but I’ve heard the whole album, Looking For Knives. On repeat. A lot. It’s fantastic. Kind of like Beach House for people who don’t want to fall asleep.
2. Gourmet is an artist/band/dude from Cape Town who has a weird and wonderful album called Cashmere that deserves many listens. Like if Yeasayer wasn’t so social all the time.
3. Pr0files are a band for anyone who loves the 80’s, dancing and being heartbroken. Preferably all at once. Their debut album, Jurassic Technologie, is out now on cassette even (speaking of hip!)