Talking Shop feat. Petra-Fi Records
Fresh Pots!: So tell us a bit about how you got started, was it daunting at first to start a pressing plant in an uncertain industry?
Petra-Fi Records: It started back in 2016 when an idea came over me on New Year’s Eve. I’ve been a musician all of my life, and I felt as if it would be great to give back to musicians, and dive into the world of record cutting. I’ve always been an audiophile/record collector, so I tend to ignore the uncertain industry when record collecting & digging has just been a natural process and way of life for me. I’m far out from having an actual “pressing plant”, due to the expensive investment & overall nature of running a plant. I run my shop out of my house now which is really nice. My entire life & hobby surrounds my room, and it gives me a lot of inspiration each time I start on a project for a band or artist. You’d be amazed what one 75 year record lathe can do.
FP: Is vinyl just experiencing a momentary phase or is it here to stay? How has business been for you?
PFR: I don’t think it’s ever been a momentary phase in my honest opinion. Record collectors, audiophiles, DJs, and crate diggers have always been around since the beginning of record production. It’s a tangible format, and I feel as if it’s just gotten very popular over the course of a few years. If the “phase” fades out, there will always be the true record heads filling up their shelves, and taking up space in every corner. My record cutting business has been pretty steady, and it seems to gradually increase over time. I’ve found that word of mouth has been key, and social media has been a great tool to get the product out for everyone to see.
FP: Tell us a bit about your process and how these gems are made?
PFR: Well, first & foremost; every record is cut in real time. So if the A side is 5 minutes long, it takes 5+ minutes to produce & cut one side. If you’re looking at 2 sides per record, you’re actually looking at about 11-12 minutes of time to produce one. Each record is a master copy, and will sound a little different from the other. I print out center labels on glossy professional format, and also slip them in dust cover sleeves & do full printed artwork if the artist is looking to get a complete package. I also cut records on POLYCORBONATE & not actual VINYL, so I find that to be quite interesting & also a good conversation piece when I play a record I cut for someone.
This nature of business is very grueling (especially working with one lathe), but it all pays off when the artist comes back, and lets me know how much they enjoy their product.
FP: We’re always looking out for new music, what are some cool bands/projects you’ve released records for?
PFR: I linked up with 18scales which is a duo hip hop group out of San Diego. They wanted (12) Double LP’s done. This project sounded great, and I physically cut 48 10” records to complete their “12 limited” records. Also an artist by the name of Low Leaf reached out to me a few months back looking for 50 marble painted & stenciled 10” records for her upcoming album “PRIMITIVA” which is coming out in the near future. Brain Orchestra out of New Jersey has been a great customer, and we’ve cut over 50 records for him as well. Also the Speak Easy Jazz cats based out of Seattle WA have been a pleasure to work with. They have an old 1930’s vibe which suites the 1940’s record lathe I cut records on. I’ve cut a lot of lo-fi hip hop, but it’s always nice to work with other genres of bands.
FP: What future plans do you have for Petra fi?
PFR: Continue to cut records for bands & artists. Make odd releases, keep getting more creative with projects, and continue to provide good service for the people I work with. I always try to put myself in other musician’s shoes, since I’m one myself. So each record that leaves my shop is tracked, tested, & up to my liking before it gets packaged & shipped out.
FP: Lastly, a hard working gentleman like yourself surely must enjoy coffee, how do you take it?
PFR: Coffee is a must when working on long grueling projects & releases, but I like to keep it simple with a dark roast with a small splash of almond milk. Nothing fancy