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PIAPTK Palm Springs Party, Grey Waves, Forest Fallows, Spaceface, Preorder Update, Survey Results

In this Update:

1) PIAPTK Palm Springs Pool Party at the Ace Hotel - July 22-24.
2) Grey Waves - VOID LP
3) Spaceface - Sun Kids 8" transperency pic disc
4) Forest Fallows - At Home LP!
5) Previous Preorder Updates
6) Survey Feedback
7) Lathe Cut Camp 4: Winter 2016




1. FREE PIAPTK Palm Springs Pool Party! July 22-24, 2016
After the last email blast I was beyond honored to be approached by The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs (one of the coolest/hippest/hipsteriest hotel chains in the world) to curate a PIAPTK/Lathecuts.com weekend. "Do a lathe cut camp and a PIAPTK pop-up shop, or whatever you want" he said. What he didn't bargain for was that, in typical PIAPTK fashion, I decided to take it much farther than necessary and blow the entire budget on a weekend full of so much goddamn vinyl programming and fun that your head will spin. Live vinyl cutting, MOOG modular synthesis classes, Mini-Lathe Cut Camp, DJs, PIAPTK showcase (Little Wings, Sugar Candy Mountain, Pall Jenkins, The Blank Tapes, Cy Dune (mems of Akron Family)), DJs, Hip Hop Pool party with some rad Tucson hip hop crews, Indie Label Popup Shop, Used Vinyl Record Swap, Industry Panel Discussion, etc. This weekend is going to be so ridiculous. And so FREE. If you are in the LA area and have a label, sell used records, etc (or know someone who does) and want to be a part of the action, please email me!



Here is the tentative schedule!

PIAPTK Recordings & Lathecuts.com Present: Palm Springs Vinyl Pool Party?/Hootenanny?/Summer Camp?
Join us for a weekend celebrating the history, science, technology, and art of vinyl records! There will be Industry/Artist Panel Discussions, A Live Vinyl Recording Booth, Indie Vinyl Label Pop Up Shops, A Used Vinyl Record Swap, Hip Hop Pool Party, Poolside DJs, and Concerts. Curated by Michael Dixon PIAPTK Recordings and Lathecuts.com.

Friday, July 22 –
10pm – 2am - Junkbin Jukebox -
Join PIAPTK/Lathecuts.com founder, Michael Dixon, AKA DJ Bored-Er Lord, in the Amigo Room for a night of Obscure, Private Press, and Deep Cut Forgotten Honky Tonk Country 45s and LPs

Saturday, July 23rd-
11-5pm – Indie Label Pop Up Shop –
Some of the best labels focusing on vinyl records and the art of packaging will be on-site displaying and selling their releases. PIAPTK, Soild Gold, Joyful Noise, Burger Records, Wooden Tooth, Baby Gas Mask, Folktale, Dionysus Records, Lightning Records, Fine Print Zine, Philthy Phonographic Records, Kerchow Records, and Hocus Bogus and more TBA.
12-1 pm – Lathe Cut Camp – The vinyl mastering record lathe and cutting process has remained relatively unchanged for more than 100 years. Come get an up close look at the equipment and process that makes up the first step of the vinyl pressing process.
1-2 pm - Moog Camp - Moog will be here hosting a modular synthesis class and debuting their new synth modeling app!
12-3pm – Live Vinyl Recording Booth – Come out and play a Moog, sing a song, recite a poem, or tell a joke and walk away with your own one-off record!
11-5pm – Poolside - Hip Hop Pool Party – Join Lando Chill and Jivin’ Scientists for an afternoon of live performances and Dj Sets.
6-7:30 pm – Industry Panel Discussion/Q&A – Meet movers and shakers from all areas of the vinyl industry. JJ Golden (Vinyl Mastering, Golden Mastering), Nathan Sabatino (Audio Engineer, Loveland Studio), Jake Ingalls (Guitarist, Spaceface/The Flaming Lips), Jake Sullivan/Kellen Fortier (Owner, Wooden Tooth Records).
10pm – 2am – Show with Little Wings, Sugar Candy Mountain, Pall Jenkins (Three Mile Pilot, Blackheart Procession, Mr Tube and the Flying Objects), The Blank Tapes and Cy Dune (mems of Akron Family).

Sunday. July 24th –
11-5pm – Record Junkies Used Vinyl Swap –
Used and rare record dealers from all over the Southwest will be on hand selling everything from rare psych, dollar bin country, modern reissues, to classic rock staples.
12-1 pm – Lathe Cut Camp – The vinyl mastering record lathe and cutting process has remained relatively unchanged for more than 100 years. Come get an up close look at the equipment and process that makes up the first step of the vinyl pressing process.
1-2 pm - Moog Camp - Moog will be here hosting a modular synthesis class and debuting their new synth modeling app!
2-5 Recording Booth – Come out and play a Moog, sing a song, recite a poem, or tell a joke and walk away with your own one-off record!
11-5pm – Poolside – DJs spin whatever summer jams seem like a good at the time.





2. Grey Waves - VOID LP (with bonus lathe cut!)

Debut record from Seattle band, Grey Waves! Bonus lathe cut 7" in handmade covers available to the first 50 orders! 300 hand assembled/stamped/numbered jackets, hazy purple records and a lyric zine designed by Alison Pate.

Add on the Grey Waves - Faith/Void pressed 7" for only $4.99 (usually $6.99!)

If you haven't heard Grey Waves, they are sort of a Gothy/Grungy Replacements! Listen to some here! https://soundcloud.com/grey-waves

PICK THEM UP HERE!



3. Spaceface - Tour & Sun Kids/Anything At All 8" Square Lathe Cut Picture Disc

Spaceface is going on tour! And to celebrate the occasion, we made a special Lathe cut 8" picture disc with two brand new songs! With art by Annie Lynch, these beautiful 8", double sided pic discs are limited to 81 copies and come in custom made heavy duty picture disc sleeves with a transparency side bar. Also, we used some new prototype cutting needles on these, and the fidelity is a serious step up from our previous cuts. We are really looking forward to getting more of the needles made and using them on all of our lathe cuts!

Listen to it here!

BUY THEM HERE!


Go see Spaceface live:

6/30 STL, MO @ Heavy Anchor w/ Minor Characters
7/1 - Chicago, IL @ Schubas w/ Minor Characters
7/2 Grand Rapids, MI @ On The Moon w/ Hi-ker + Mikaela Davis
7/3 Toronto, ON @ The Piston w/ Ginger Ale and the Monowhales + Mikaela Davis
7/4 Montreal, Quebec @ Divan Orange w/ Wizaards
7/5 Albany, NY @ The Hollow w/ Mikaela Davis
7/6 Boston, MA @ Middle East w/ Magic Island
7/8 NYC, NY @ Alphaville w/ Corbu
7/9 Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle w/ Needlepoints & Gods
7/10 Ashbury, NJ @ The Yachtsman w/ Needlepoints and Gods
7/13 D.C. @ DC9 w/ Paperhaus
7/14 Asheville, NC @ The Grey Eagle
7/16 Birmingham, AL @ Syndicate Lounge w/ Swear Tapes

Pick the Pic Discs up here


5. Forest Fallows - At Home LP

FINALLY the vinyl version of this excellent LP from Tucson's Forest Fallows have arrived! This will be your new summer time jam! Influenced by early/mid 90's indie rock like Yo La Tengo and The Sea and Cake, with a fresh atmospheric psych twist, Forest Fallows in one of my favorite bands (and full disclosure, next door neighbors).

This is a co-release with Joyful Noise. The first pressing come in hand silkscreened covers, with a bonus track (which won't be on subsequent pressings of the LP) called Comfort Lime, and is on "Comfort Lime" Green Vinyl with hand-stamped labels. Hand numbered out of 350 copies.

Listen to the Entire Album HERE!

The story of this record is LONG, TWISTED, and FRAUGHT with FRUSTRATION. It involved 16 months, 4 rejected test pressings, a rejected first run of records, 2 phone calls a week for 8 months, countless broken promises, the new owner of a pressing plant telling me my "little indie label can fuck off and never come back, because (they) were going to be pressing MAJOR LABEL records, and didn't need my business.". Do not ever press records with a plant in Dallas, TX that used to have two letters separated with an & sign for a name and was bought out by an opportunist "business man" who owns a record store (and now pressing plant) named after a woman.

BUY FOREST FALLOWS "AT HOME" HERE!



5. Preorder Updates

So, it's no new story that pressing plants are backed up, unreliable, and a constant pain in the ass of an independent label. This goes for CD manufacturers as well as vinyl pressing plants. If you preordered the Saqqara Mastabas, American Monoxide or Sugar Candy Mountain LPs, or any of the new CD-Records, we are REALLLLLY hoping these things come in soon. We've been told that they will "ship next week" for the last month. One of these days, it really will happen (hopefully it won't end up taking 16 months like the Forest Fallows LPs did). We will ship them out as soon as they arrive, PROMISE.

New CD-Records (Nau, RudyWaltz, Floating Action) - these finally arrived the day before I left on vacation in Colorado, and I woke up at 6AM to get them cut before I left. We started shipping them out on Friday, so they should arrive soon!


6. Survey Results

I sent this survey out last time, and had an overwhelming response… My guess is that only people who actually LIKE the label read the emails, and therefore took the survey, but I’m super flattered and inspired by the responses I got. Most of them were extremely positive.

There were a few pieces of “need improvement” feedback that I got. I wish I could respond to each survey personally, but, like an idiot, I forgot to include a field for name/email address, so despite the fact that I would probably recognize a lot of your names from years of patronage, I have no idea who said what. So, to address the big concerns for those who posted them (and those who didn’t), below are my feedback to your feedback.

PLEASE ALWAYS FEEL FREE TO EMAIL ME PERSONALLY AT ANY TIME FOR ANY REASON.

If you didn't take the survey last time, but want to, you can do so here!


In business school (can you believe I have a marketing degree???), they say to never publicly respond to your weaknesses, but here I go.

International Shipping:

I know this is expensive, unfortunately, there is NOTHING I can do. The USPS has almost tripled their international shipping prices since I started this label 10 years ago. I would love to get international distribution, but I make/sell so few records, and my releases are so limited (out of necessity), that no international distro will touch me. The more you buy each time, the cheaper the shipping gets per item.


Lathe Cut Lo-Fidelity vs Pressed Records:
Some people requested I do more pressed records vs lathe cuts because of the lower fidelity of lathe cuts. I am ALWAYS working on improving the fidelity of lathe cuts. Unfortunately, the only way to improve the fidelity is to quadruple the price due to an insane difference in the cost of the materials, cutting needles, and hi-fi capable machines for higher fidelity lathe cuts. I wish that EVERY record I did could be a pressed record, but unfortunately, I honestly don’t sell many pressed records. 90% of pressed records I’ve released (even though they are all limited to 300-500 copies) are still in print, (aka haven’t broken even, financially). Also, because of the labor intensive nature and (and usually found/thrifted/garage sale/dumpstered) unique materials and processes involved, I wouldn’t be able to do nearly as cool packaging if I had to make more than 75-100 copies of something. And a lot of the weird formats (shaped discs, eulerian circles, etc) that people really seem to like are completely impossible to make as pressed records. I try really hard to keep a balance. Records that MIGHT sell enough to press through a plant, I do, and ones that are either not possible, or require being kept limited due to artist obligations are done as lathe cuts.


Things That Sell Out Too Fast
This one was kind of confusing to me. At least 75% of people listed this somewhere in their survey. Very few of my releases sell out in less than a week. Usually, anyone that opens my email in a timely manner is able to get them. The reasons that they are limited when they might be highly sought after are:
1) They are uniquely handmade by the artist: in which case, the artist only WANTS to make 50. And then they want some to keep for themselves. Therefore, we only have 25-30 to sell.
2) The artist has other label obligations that require a TINY run. Scott McMicken, Flaming Lips, etc are great examples of this. Their official labels would NEVER agree to a full run that was kept in print. We are only able to work with artists of this caliber because what we do is so weird, limited, and immediately out of print. Would I love to keep these releases in print forever and actually make a little money on them? Sure! Unfortunately, that isn’t possible. I’m honored to just be able to work with these artists at all, and I have to do so on their terms.

Sound Samples
This is another one that confused me. Almost everyone requested more sound samples, but we’ve tried for the last year to upload everything to soundcloud and include it both on the site description and in the email. I will try harder to make it more apparent where you can hear the tunes in the future!


Website difficulties
Some people reported having a hard time navigating the site. The platform we use is FAR from ideal, but I’ve done the best I can to categorize everything and link from the artist page. I’m too busy making these fucking things to sell them appropriately, and I admit that I’m not super thorough and organized with it, but there are several different ways to navigate the site (clicking on the ALL category will take you to all products in reverse chronological order).

More newsletters?
My philosophy has always been to not send out too many emails. I always wait until I have at least 4 or more things to talk about before I send out an email. Because I, personally, ignore or immediately delete, all emails from companies that send out too much spam unless they are few and far between. So, I usually save up and drop multiple things at once. This also plays into the ridiculous shipping cost debate. I would love for people to be able to lower their overall cost by being able to buy several things at once, rather than buying/shipping a new thing every week or two.

Shipping Time/Preorders
A few people mentioned the wait time for shipping. Sometimes we have to release things as preorders, before they are ready/back from the plant. We have to do this for several reasons. 1) The record is being pushed through a PR company. 2) The artist is touring 3) The pressing plant is backed up (as always) 4) we have a new email going out and won’t do another for a month or two. 5) we are broke as hell and need to pay the final payment on the run.

Also, these things are really time consuming to make. I’m only one man, but I do have an awesome buddy (his name is Seth) that does the majority of mailing now (thank GOD). But, he only mails out once or twice a week (largely because we don’t get enough orders to justify daily trips down to the studio and then to the post office). We are a tiny weirdo indie label run by people who are out of town a lot, not a mega-corp like Amazon. Believe me when I say, we never make you wait longer than absolutely necessary. I am the most instant gratification guy in the world, and I will never slack (and neither will Seth). We are conscientious about getting things out as soon as humanly possible.

Pricing
Most people that listed this qualified it by saying they understood why things were expenses. Records and Lathe cuts are insanely expensive to make, in materials, in time, in packaging. AND, because all of our releases are one time pressings and we don’t really sell on-going digital on most of them (we made $138 on over 100 digital releases available through our site in 2015), we pay the artists up front in VERY generous artist copy percentages of 35-50% of the run. This is NOT 35-50% of PROFIT, this is of actual copies. Meaning that if we make 100 copies of a record that we sell for $10 that costs us $6 a disc (cutting time, labels, packaging, needle wear, materials, poly bags, etc) to make ($600) and we give the artist 35 copies, we sell 65 copies for $650, netting us a cool $50 profit. And we keep a few for our self, so at best we break even. Also figure in the fact that many records (pressed records especially) never sell out at all. Even some lathe cuts take YEARS to sell out (we’ve still got some of the 100 hand-colored copies of the excellent Juston Stens lathe cut from 2011, if you are interested). So any potential profit is sitting in unsold copies of records that will be buried with me in the Maricopa County Landfill when I die. PIAPTK, as of Dec 2015 was $76,000+ in the negative. And that isn’t accounting for the $49,000 in inventory (most of which probably won’t sell) that we have taking up space in the studio. So, a total of 1/8th of a MILLION dollars is how much I’ve lost so far on this label in the last ten years. And that’s ok. Just understand that I always try to keep the pricing as reasonable as I can.


TAKE THE SURVEY HERE!



7. Lathe Cut Camp 4: - Winter 2016

We've sold out the last 3 Lathe Cut Camps, and are now looking to book one for the winter. If you are seriously interested, please email me at lathecuts@yahoo.com and let me know which dates work/don't for you and I will try to schedule around ya! For more info on the lathe cut camps, go here!

Posted on June 21st, 2016