By Jason Herring, September 17 2015 —
Only 10 years ago, listening to new music on vinyl was nothing more than a novelty. Sales for the medium fell flat as digital audio emerged and plants that pressed vinyl records began to close their doors.
A lot has changed since then. Vinyl sales have slowly increased each year — in 2014, vinyl records accounted for 3.6 per cent of all albums sold, compared to only 0.2 per cent in 2004.
Dean Reid is bringing this vinyl resurgence to Calgary as he opens Canada Boy Vinyl (CBV).
CBV holds the distinction of being Canada’s only record pressing plant after Montreal’s RIP-V plant closed its doors in December 2014. But RIP-V only performed one step of the pressing process, while CBV has a full production line.
“There’s actually three major parts to making a record. There’s lacquer-mastering, or cutting the audio for the record. There’s plating, where you make things called stampers that form the grooves [in the finished record]. And then there’s the actual pressing itself,” Reid says. “RIP-V never did those first two — they just pressed records — but we’re a full production house at CBV.”
The plant, which opened to the public on Sept. 12, is located in an industrial park in the city’s northeast. Reid has been working on launching CBV for just over two years, with delays occurring as he tried to secure equipment.
“Most vinyl pressing equipment was built circa 1970, so you’re looking at 40-year-old equipment that’s been pushed pretty hard for all those years. Just getting that to Calgary wasn’t easy,” he says. “For me, this started in August of 2013, and if it were up to me it would have been open back then. But it takes a lot of time and energy and effort on everyone’s behalf to get it running. It’s a really difficult business.”
Reid says he hopes to provide a local option to bands and labels who are looking to get their music on vinyl. The plant has already had its soft opening, taking orders in Eastern Canada and from local bands.
Alongside the opening of CBV, Reid is launching a record label, recording studio, record store and distribution service on-site. The label, House of Pleasant Thoughts, released its first record to coincide with CBV‘s launch, a compilation featuring Calgary bands 36?, Chron Goblin, Funkensheist and Mancub.
Even with his foot in every sector of the music industry, Reid’s main focus remains set on pressing artist’s music on vinyl. CBV even offers an option for runs of vinyl as small as 100, an option most pressing plants don’t offer.
“We care what happens to the bands out there, and we’d like everybody to know we’ve got their back,” Reid says. “We think we can provide the service because we genuinely care what happens with them and their records.”