The vinyl industry might be struggling right now but one man in Brisbane has proudly done his small part to revitalise it.
As reported by ABC, Neil Wilson sold his home in order to buy a record press, starting a record pressing company from scratch in the process.
“Collectively me and my wife were both looking for change,” Wilson shared. “We were both looking for something different. We’d been in our house for a long time, it needed some work, and I didn’t want to do that work. So we sold the house. It’s paid for most of it, we’re financing some of it. It’s a gamble. But it’s a gamble we believe in.”
Incredibly, Wilson’s vinyl record press is one of just a handful set to operate from Australia. The press is being manufactured by a Hong Kong company in Guangzhou, through the Italian press company MCS Sironi. “We’ve done the sums, we’ve spoken to a lot of people and done forecasts, worked really closely with accountants and … people in the industry, and we believe in it,” he added.
Although Wilson wasn’t ready to reveal the total cost for his press, it was estimated that Australia’s first new record presses in 30 years, purchased last year by Melbourne’s Program Records, cost $400,000.
It was actually the example of Program Records that inspired Wilson to bring a record press to his city. “I think Brisbane feels like there’s this whole new music scene kicking off,” he explained. “It reminds me a lot of when I moved down to Brisbane in the late ’80s and there was a great scene in the late ’80s and early ’90s. There were venues down in the Valley, Festival Hall was still going – there was upstairs at Dooleys.”
Wilson is currently keeping his future plans in check but he believes local bands will soon appreciate having his record press nearby. “I keep coming across these incredible bands – mostly young, some not so young, and some of these bands, they’re playing a couple of gigs a week to a couple of hundred people.
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They all know each other, there just seems to be this really strong energy in that scene in Brisbane,” he said. “Because of that we very much want this to be a Brisbane business.”
The press is still in the process of being built in China, with Wilson expecting it to be finalised in January or February, COVID permitting. “We’re hoping we’re going to be up and pressing in March/April, that’s what we’d like,” he said.