Forgive me for providing a little private perspective on Record Store Day. Night School is not my full-time occupation, it’s an independent label run in the hours between my day-job and sleep, on weekends instead of Sunday Roasts, in the early hours of the morning instead of dreaming.
As such, I can afford to take risks out-with the realms of strict commerce. I have a regular income which means Night School can take a chance on sometimes marginalised voices, artists who have no access to the sort of support networks we’ve built up over the past 6 years. Sometimes these chances pay off and we connect an artist with an audience, sometimes they don’t pay off and we lose a bit of money. The fact I’m not paying myself from the label means the label is viable using this model for the time-being.
For the past 12 years or so I’ve worked in independent record stores during the day and have felt blessed to do so. For a time, record shops that specialise in vinyl records were facing mass extinction and indeed, many of our favourite record shops around the globe didn’t survive the music industry’s abandoning of vinyl in the 90s. Some did, however, and many more are continuing to open due to the resurgence in interest in owning beautiful, physical artefacts, objects infused with meaning and the music we hold dear.
Record Store Day is an annual event fraught with anxiety for many people involved, something that’s become an almost necessary evil. From my own experience working in the stores that this event has helped over the last 11 years, Record Store Day is a massive boost, a help with overheads, it’s something that elicits cynical responses from many but ultimately I firmly believe I wouldn’t have had some of the jobs I’ve had down the years if this massive, commercial, cynical, capitalistic behemoth hadn’t come and publicised an industry that was on its last legs. I completely understand the arguments against Record Store Day. For many small labels, our releases get delayed or pushed back in favour of pressings from big major labels intent on boosting profit margins, ironic since they have only recently started pressing vinyl again on any sort of scale.
However, Night School has decided to take part in Record Store Day 2018. It’s always been our aim to provide an alternative voice in a crowded cultural landscape and for such a mainstream event masquerading as alternative culture, I feel this is important. The simple fact is that if Night School releases a record on Record Store Day, it and the artist will reach more people than if they didn’t. And besides, as someone who has worked at 7 of them, they can be fun events that encourage new people to get into this thing we do. And that’s our aim as producers and partakers, right? April 2018 will see the release of two records we would have made anyway but nonetheless it’s thrilling to think of someone finding a Molly Nilsson record next to Noel Gallagher and wondering, “what’s this?”
Molly Nilsson‘s debut album These Things Take Time will be released on a limited pressing on clear vinyl. At present, a second hand copy of the 2014 edition is £100 second hand, so we’d love to get this into people’s hands at a more reasonable price.
And Sorrow’s – aka Rose McDowall and Robert Lee – post Strawberry Switchblade album Under The Yew Possessed will be available on vinyl for the first time. Like our version of Cut With The Cake Knife, this edition will feature a new interview with Rose and exclusive photos, plus re-designed artwork.
We hope you have a great day on April 21st if you choose to take part. We’ll be here the other 364 days of the year too