AMERICAN VINYL CO,
“I love field recording. I had been into delta blues, folk recordings, and the work of the Lomax’s for a while and was very drawn to the rough but authentic sounds. The unedited live performances with all the noise, dirt and grit spoke to me. I really wanted to find a way to be a part of that.”
American Vinyl Co. is a small record cutting and pressing company based in Ashville, NC. run by couple and rock-duo Ryan Schilling and Christy Barrett. With their, travelling 1950’s recording studio, The American Soundtruck, they intend to ‘capture the sounds of the incredible musical talent in Western NC and beyond’.
Hi Ryan, how are you both doing? Especially with everything that’s going on with the Corona pandemic?
We are doing well, we feel very fortunate to have a tiny bit of property to breathe during all of this. We’re keeping our minds busy with new instruments, practicing, and rebuilding our dumpster of an airstream we bought last year.
Can you tell us where you’re from and where you’re living now?
I grew up in Palm Desert, CA (right near the Coachella Music Festival). Christy was right up the way from the desert in a small town called Anza. In 2016 we packed everything up and left Southern California to tour the south with our trio at the time. Basically just toured around until we found a city we wanted to live. Luckily we ended up back in Asheville, a place we had toured to before, and it was a no brainer.
You guys have a strong shared passion for music, was this what brought you together?
Absolutely it was music. I mean, of course attraction and all that, but music was definitely our initial common thread. Basically, I heard Christy singing in my apartment at 1am when I was trying to sleep. I was grumpy at first but quickly knew I had to play music with her…and try my best at dating her.
What inspired you to start American Vinyl Co?
I love field recording. I had been into delta blues, folk recordings, and the work of the Lomax’s for a while and was very drawn to the rough but authentic sounds. The unedited live performances with all the noise, dirt and grit spoke to me. I really wanted to find a way to be a part of that so I did a ton of research on what equipment they used. I learned they used portable record lathes made by Presto and so my journey began. Now we cut on 4 stereo lathes and a 1940’s Presto (in the sound truck).
Tell us about the American Sound Truck…
The truck is my passion project more than a business venture. I was inspired by all kinds of people for it but mostly Bob Fine’s recording truck in the 1950s. Pre 1950s, record cutting was the main way to produce audio recordings and there were all kinds of instantaneous record making going on. At fairs, radio stations (pre recorded commercials), in trucks so soldiers can send home a message from over seas, dictations in offices, kids toys, family recordings, etc. I knew it was kind of rare these days and I wanted to give the opportunity to be on a vinyl record again to anyone. The truck isn’t just a gimmick though, it’s a full functioning 1950s studio (also has digital for flexibility) similar to Sun Studios so musicians can use it for an alternative creative space.
What is it that makes vinyl so special? What would you say to younger generations to convince them to buy records rather than downloads?
Of course, a lot of things! I think mostly for me it’s the activity of it all. The engagement it has starting with hunting down the right record, picking it out from your collection intentionally, caring for it, dropping the needle, listening all the way through. It all gives music the importance that it deserves. Digital is all fine by me except we may not value the music as much. It’s free and in abundance, when is the last time something was free and abundant that didn’t eventually lose its value to the world? And for the younger generations…it’s way more fun man! Build your stereo system, go hunting for finds and new discoveries, swap records with friends, the list goes on.
Can you describe the different activities that keep you busy at American Vinyl Co?
Sean and Charlie are our cutting engineers and are cutting custom records 40 hours a week. Izzy is our production manager making all the record covers, labels, assembly, customer service, basically everything else. Christy used to help with production but has refocused more on Christy Lynn Band these days. We are always tinkering with extinct audio gear and have a mini museum.
Can you tell us a little bit about your Christy Lynn Band journey so far?
We moved out here as a duo and added a fiddle player and spent the first year performing like that. Then for this new record we wanted to expand to full band, it’s definitely filled out the sound and puts a little less pressure on us live which is more enjoyable. We are really happy with how the new songs have come out and can’t wait to get back to playing them for a live audience.
We hear you have a new album?
Yup, we finished up the new record last year and just released it the beginning of this month. It was all recorded in the American Sound Truck too. You can check it out here: https://fanlink.to/SweetheartOfTheRadio
Finally, is there anything in particular you want to achieve in your musical career? Or is there anything in the pipeline you’d like to tell us about?
Just to be able to keep doing it. I do want to get out in the truck and start recording more in the field, start an archive and make some of them available at our shop. We did just purchase a Neumann mastering lathe which we have plans for but aren’t at the point of announcing just yet.
UT Final Five…
Most played record?
Bob Dylans first record.
Favourite piece of equipment?
Neumann vms-66 record lathe
Live your story
The world needs more?
Non-sense! More non-sense
Insider’s tip Asheville?
Nothing beats a hike and a beer by the river
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