Burning Witches Records, one of the best new synth labels out there, has announced a vinyl subscription service for 2018. Starting today through April 1, fans of the label that brought you releases like MAINE’s V, Espectrostatic’s Silhouette, and Brass Hearse’s self-titled release, will be able to snag new releases early, automatically, and at a discounted rate.
The subscription will consist of four LPs and a subscriber-only cassette released over the course of 2018, featuring some familiar names and some new to the British label. First up in March will be All of Them Witches’ Hunters Moon, followed by Graham Reznick’s Robophasia. The final two are yet to be announced. Members will also get discount codes for non-subscription releases.
Vehlinggo interviewed label heads Gary Dimes and Darren Page recently to discuss why they decided to offer a subscription, the origins of the label, and what’s in store. (The interview was edited for increased clarity and concision, and to conform spelling and grammar to American and Vehlinggo styles.)
Vehlinggo: I’m curious what inspired the decision to start the service.
Gary Dimes: We wanted to offer a cheaper option than buying each vinyl separately, plus the “subbers” will receive the vinyl a week before the standard release date. Just a way of saying thanks for all the support, and we know how expensive and addictive record collecting can be!
Darren Page: We decided to start the sub because we had just completed our first year as a label successfully, which is more than we ever imagined we could achieve.
Due to the success, we now have a jam-packed roster for 2018 and we thought it would be cool to share and repay the loyalty to the people buying our records. The sub will be the absolute cheapest way to buy the four LPs and also included will be bonus “subber extras,” like an exclusive tape release. We will also get the people involved, if they vote and help us choose what color variation we should get manufactured for a certain release. We want to connect and get fans/artists involved in as many aspects as possible.
In your research about subscriptions, what pros and cons did you uncover and how does that inform your approach?
DP: In general, subscriptions can be a long commitment and sometimes expensive as an upfront cost. That helped us decide to keep it small, succinct, and above all affordable. We also want it as a statement of what BWR is and if your first exposure to the label was the subscription then you will know exactly what we are and what we are about.
On that note, let’s back up a bit and talk about how BWR came about.
GD: Darren and myself met up at John Carpenter’s Halloween gig in London in 2016 after conversations on Instagram and Twitter. We quickly realized we had very similar interests, and decided to start Burning Witches Records as we both had albums we wanted to put out around the same time. These were originally released as limited-edition cassettes. They sold out super fast in under 48 hours. We’re very surprised how quickly people got behind the label, and most recently the amount of amazing artists that want to work with us. Some of these artists already have pride of place in our record collections.
DP: It was one of those situations that snowballs on to the next. Gary and I had communicated via Instagram realizing we were like minds and coincidentally relatively local to each other in Kent, UK. Purely by chance we were also both working on finishing up albums in a similar synth/soundtrack vein. We joked a couple times about starting a label for this stuff and then it became a matter of necessity.
Two months later, we were set up and ready to go with my album Blood Runs Dry [under the BurningTapes name] on short-run cassette. That sold out in 48 hours, which was a shock as a complete unknown artist and label.
We released Gary’s tape The Coven [under the pseudonym All of Them Witches] a few weeks later to similar results. We then took a very risky crowdfunding move to raise money for the two albums on vinyl. It was quite humbling to get that support and get it pressed on wax. After that, we were balls out and foot to the floor!
It sounds like the response to your label so far has been superb.
GD: We’re stoked that we’ve had such an amazing backing since the get-go. Really has been a dream come true for both of us. This year we’re going all guns blazing and doubling our releases from last year. We do have to pinch ourselves every now and again — so many great artists we’re working with!
“A huge thing for us will be our first Record Store Day outing as a label.”
DP: We have been knocked sideways by the support from people. It’s a great feeling shipping records you worked on all over the world. It amazes me how people come to hear of us and the label’s output. It’s also such an honor to have made so many new friends and colleagues. We now talk to people on a regular basis that we were just fans of a short while ago. It’s a real buzz. I think, as long as we can maintain people’s trust with our choices, then we will only continue to grow.
In addition to the subscription, what else do you have planned for the label?
GD: We’ve got tons planned for this year, absolutely packed full of releases until early 2019. There’s been a lot of interest from artist/bands sending us demos over the past year, but we just don’t have the room at the moment.
We have the awesome Hauntlove on sleeve art duties on a few releases coming up — he absolutely knocks it out of the park every time! We also have Kidethic onboard. He’s just done the sleeve art for my All of Them Witches album, and is currently working on another we need to keep under wraps for now. He’s a real talent — blew my mind when he sent over my sleeve art.
DP: This year will be even bigger than last year, as we have a whole heap of plans and releases already underway. Expect new names, some old favorites, and some surprises.
A huge thing for us will be our first Record Store Day outing as a label. We have something very special planned and it will give good insight to our year. I can’t say too much more about it now, but it’s just being prepped for final production. So come April, we will be ready.