A few months ago, I was browsing through a few Facebook groups, and I stumbled upon a Lightnin’ Hopkins 7″ that I just had to have! I did a little digging and found it had been recently released on a label called Classic Waxx Records. I immediately ordered it, and when it arrived, I was astounded by outstanding quality of the release. Nice sounding vinyl from a blues legend, and a screen printed sleeve worthy of framing! I had become and instant fan!
I did a little more digging, and found that the label owner also runs his own printing studio, Napkin Arts Studio. The prints they turn out are equally amazing as the music!
I know you will become a fan of them as well!
1.When did you start your label and why did you do it?
I started Classic Waxxx Records last Summer, in June 2014 to be exact. Classic Waxxx originally started out in 2010 as a blog dedicated to vintage vinyl records, peppered with reviews of classic albums, LP covers, label art and music ripped from the personal collection.
It had always been a dream of mine to do album cover art for bands and record labels, and maybe, one day, release some music on vinyl. I’m not musically inclined, but I figured there was probably something I could put on wax and send out into the world. Really, having the record label is an outlet for me to be the creative director and make all the album cover art, packaging design, etc., and do it from a fan and collector perspective, rather than a commercial one. Plus, being the music junkie that I am, I wanted to share some of my tastes with some new and seasoned record collectors out there.
2. What format(s) do you release music on?
Our focus is primarily vinyl, but in the short time we’ve been around, we’ve had to learn to quickly adapt to the changing music landscape, especially with the demand constraints vinyl produces on labels and collectors. The average turnaound time for having vinyl pressed is 4-5 months. We really have to plan our releases accordingly, and work with several pressing plants at once to do all we need to do. So, we are also dabbling in digital formats, like downloads and CDs. We like the convenience digital gives music fans, but at the end of the day, we are in this because of vinyl. As long as there are plants pressing vinyl, you’ll be able to find the majority of our releases on vinyl.
3. What has been your most successful release to date, or which release are you most proud of?
We’re pretty proud of everything we’ve released, so far. I would have to say the biggest thrill has to be the Lightnin’ Hopkins single that started our “Heritage Series” reissue campaign, as well as our forth-coming Johnny Cash “Live at Big ‘D’ Jamboree” EP. But, I have to thank John Paul Smith and The Coal Creek Boys from Alberta, Canada, for giving us the music for our very first vinyl release. He and the band have been beyond generous in helping us get established. Their fan base is so amazing, and I’m still pinching myself on a daily basis that this label exists. If it weren’t for them and the many fans we’ve gathered via social media, especially Instagram, we wouldn’t be here.
Lightnin’ Hopkins was the first blues musician I discovered on my own, and I quickly became a fan. I really wanted his music to be the start of our reissue campaign, and by shear luck and good timing, I was able to make that happen for the label. Johnny Cash also has had a big impact on my life, and when the opportunity came to release these nearly lost recordings from Cash’s Big ‘D’ Jamboree performance, I couldn’t pass it up. It’ll be the first time these recordings will be given a stand-alone vinyl release here in the US.
4. Do you have specific tastes in the music you choose to release (i.e. genres, regions, etc) or are you open to anything? If so, what is your preference?
I’m pretty open to most genres of music, but I do have a soft spot for blues, jazz, classic country and rock n’ roll. We’re committed to honoring and preserving our Texas music history, so music and artists that have a deep connection to Texas, we want to make that music available to the public, even if it is in small quantities.
5. How do you go about finding new artists you are interested in releasing? Demos, Facebook, Soundcloud, friends?
We receive the occasional music submission through our website, and I’ll often keep my ears and eyes open to music that piques my interest. There is some great new music being made, though my heart belongs to the classics, so a lot of my focus is in material we can reissue. We’ve got some relationships fostering with emerging acts, right now, so we are excited to see what develops over the next few months and years to come.
6. Anything in the works right now that you would like to share?We always on the prowl for great material that would be killer additions to our “Heritage Series” campaign. The Coal Creek Boys latest album, “Out West,” will be released on vinyl really soon, which we are really excited about. After some delays from the pressing plant, we finally received the test pressings and they sound great. Really can’t wait for the fans to hear the album the way it is meant to be heard. The band is also working on a follow-up album that is more blues-centric, and I’m excited to hear the final masters. Naturally, we always have several irons in the fire, so to speak, but I’ll refrain from sharing too much in fear of us jinxing ourselves.
7. Where do you see your record label going in the next five years? Ten years?
I’m amazed we’ve even come this far in less than a year’s time, releasing some top notch talent that I wouldn’t have thought we would be able to, otherwise. I’d love to see the label expand enough to bring in a few dedicated record lovers help us, as well as get to a point where we can afford help in the distribution area. It is a lot of work to self-distribute our records. Its time we’d like to spend on doing more project research and getting new projects started. But, regardless of what happens, I know Classic Waxxx will be around. I have too much love and passion for vinyl to just treat this like an ordinary hobby.
8. Where is the best place to find out more about your record label?
I’m on Instagram quite a bit, promoting our new releases and showing off stuff from the personal collection. You can find us there @cw_records, as well as our Facebook page and website. We are also on Twitter and Tumblr, you you wade in those parts of the social media waters, too.
9. What are some of your other favorite small record labels?
Hands down, I’m a big fan of what Third Man Records and Daptone is doing, (although Third Man probably isn’t so small anymore.) There might be a few who disagree with me on this, but I feel as though Jack White single-handedly made vinyl popular and mainstream with younger generations, for which I thank him from the bottom of my heart. We all know vinyl never completely went away, but I think he was one of the loudest proponents for the format coming back into the forefront. I like novelty and kitsch, and Third Man does it better than anyone, right now.
I was fortunate enough to meet quite a bit of the Daptone crew via the Dap-Kings, when Sharon Jones last came through Dallas. They were so down to earth, friendly and approachable. Gabe Roth, one of the main cats at Daptone, who is an incredible songwriter, producer, musician, etc., is a big inspiration. Daptone has been doing things their way for a long time now, and releasing some killer classics on vinyl. I felt like I could do the same with Classic Waxxx with our own vision.
I also love what Hidden Volume Records is doing. Their packaging design, as well as Estrus Records‘ releases from the 1990s, is design gold. Their artistic direction definitely fuels our creative fire. Of course, I’m a pushover for anything from the Sun Records catalog…
10. Anything else you would like to add?
I’m still so humbly in awe of what we’ve been able to accomplish in a short period of time, and that people are taking notice. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Classic Waxxx, and all the records that get embedded into people’s collections