Friday, October 30, 2015

The Wax Record Fair Takes Los Angeles

>> The most exciting thing about attending the first year a fair gets off the ground is being able to watch it grow. WAX: The Los Angeles Record Fair is a two day fair that takes place in the Capitol Records parking lot in Hollywood. It isn’t perfect, but it will grow and blossom and, hopefully, become one of the must-go-to festivals during the season.

>> Way back in the 70s when vinyl was big, there would be a record sale in the Capitol Records parking lot once a month. Once vinyl started becoming a thing of the past, so did these sales. This weekend is trying to bring that back. The Harvest Records representative said it best, “We want to…resurrect it. It didn’t really exist in this incarnation before, but we’re starting something new. It’s an hour old, so, it’s the first of many. Imagine us as the first Tori Kelly song and next year it will be massive.” With over 30 vendors here on this 90 degree October day, I think it has a good chance.

Ari on the scene for TMO

>> Over half these vendors are different record stores throughout LA. Of course there is Amoeba, but that’s not all. From what it looks like there about a dozen different stores that still sell vinyl around LA. This is the part of the fair that is bringing back the sales from all that time ago. 

>> However, the other vendors is what makes this different. There are two vinyl mailing services (like Netflix, only with vinyl) bringing this into the modern era, one radio station that focuses on unsigned artists, Fender Music Foundation which focuses on helping get instruments and music education to kids in the US who can’t afford it, and many more.

Fender Music Foundation (Photo Credit: @waxrecordfair)

>> It’s a baby Warped tour and baby SXSW mashed together with a focus on vinyl. But there is one big thing that separates this fair from anything else — VIP and press get access to Capitol Studios. Most fairs and festivals are in an open area where there never is a building to explore. This is different. The bottom floor of Capitol Records is Capitol Studios, where many of your favorite bands have probably recorded. However, the recording rooms are in the front of the building. If you go all the way back, past the picture of Norah Jones, there is a door that leads into a beautiful but small room with wood paneling and stones on the wall. This is where records are made. 

>> The process is beautifully simple and almost feels like magic. When the song starts, a machine applies just the right amount of pressure to create grooves on the acetate. I’m sure it takes many years, but Ian Sefchick makes the mastering process look effortless. I was never a vinyl collector before this weekend, but I might just go out and buy a turn table now. 

>> From the mastering to hearing about how Dorado PKG makes record jackets to talking to a company like Audio Fidelity which tries to make records sound the same way they used to, there really is something magical and majestic about a vinyl record. 

>> It’s not perfect yet, but the WAX fair is well on it’s way to expanding vinyl culture. The process of making music the old fashioned way really is a beautiful thing.  


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