They’ve started a quiet revolution with a lot of noisy music, from delivering monthly boxes of the very best new music on exclusive vinyl to organising their first festival. We spoke to Craig from Flying Vinyl about reconnecting with music, new talent and this Saturday’s festival.
What made you want to start Flying Vinyl?
I guess our main reason was to try and better connect proper music enthusiasts with new music. We felt like vinyl was a better carriage for doing this than any digital network that forces the attention of the listen in several different directions with ads and related content. I know so many people who think that true music’s dead because they don’t hear what’s bubbling under the surface and because the Internet’s generating so much noise and not enough quality. So we created Flying Vinyl to cut through all of that, promote the best new talent that there is in the music industry and start a revolution amongst proper music lovers that takes music distribution out of the hands of Silicon Valley and places it back with the artists and labels that truly care about it.
What do you look for in the artists you choose?
We’re after the best new music that the world has to offer, something interesting, something that breaks ground. It pains me that so much A&R’ing now involves analysing how many YouTube video views a band has or how many people follow them on Instagram. We honestly don’t care about those things, we place bands that are signed to major deals and touring globally right next to bands who’ve just got out of the studio for the first time, the only thing that links all of the music together is that it’s good quality.
Who have been your favourite discoveries?
We were actually at Indie Label Market on Saturday and put together this big collage of all of the records we’ve put out over the last year and it’s not until you stand back and look at all 55 of them you see just how much vinyl’s been created so it’s really hard for me to list favourites but I’ll try. I think some of the big standouts in terms of new discoveries who people at the time probably hadn’t heard of are Black Honey, Beach Baby, The Big Moon, Kagoule, The Vryll Society, Viola Beach, Meadowlark, The Orielles and The Amazons. But it’s all subjective and every month we get a lot of feedback from our members on Twitter telling us what the standout records in each box have been and it’s always interesting to hear other people’s takes on it.
Why do you think more and more people are choosing physical formats over downloads?
It seems to me that now we’re at a point in time where anyone under the age of 30 probably has never had to purchase music on a physical format before and for many of those people it seems laughable as music’s out there, free. But when you buy a record for the first time and go home and play it, you have an experience that you’ve never had before. It’s a more intimate connection with music and you get this actual physical thing to cherish and it’s completely inconvenient when compared to digital music but that’s the point. You go home, put the record on and listen to it without the distractions of the digital age. It’s that experience which is changing consumer opinion on physical formats and why the market for them keeps growing year-on-year. Once you have that experience it makes digital music feel luke-warm.
With even major supermarkets stocking LPs now, do you see a full vinyl revival on the horizon? Would this be a good thing?
I think with the abundance of digital music we’re never going to see the physical market bouncing back to half of music sales or anything, but I think what we’ve proved as a company is that there’s still a huge amount of people out there who are wiling to pay for quality, for new musical experience and that whilst digital music is convenient it simply isn’t as good an experience as vinyl is. I think every year this revolution’s going to keep growing and more people are going to impulse-purchase one record and then become a collector and yes it’s a great thing. As I say, most people now have never really had to purchase physical music and I feel like somewhere in that it’s meaning that people aren’t connecting with music in the same way that they have in the past.
Finally can you tell us what to expect from the first ever Flying Vinyl festival?
Sure, the festival’s this Saturday at Shapes in Hackney and will be a celebration both of our first year as a company and of vinyl in general. We’ve got a line-up of Flying Vinyl alumni that I really think is one of the strongest line-ups of the summer and there’s going to be a shop built into the venue where artists will be selling and signing records. And it’s only £20 a ticket from www.flyingvinyl.co.uk/festival