Lancaster record label is surfing the vinyl resurgence wave

Simon Norfolk
Simon Norfolk
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Record collector and disc jockey Simon Norfolk is optimistic about vinyl’s future.

So much so that four years ago the 50-year-old, along with two friends, took a punt and decided to set up a record label, despite not really having a clue what they were doing.

Vinyl sales in the UK continue to see a resurgence, reaching a 25 year high in 2016.

For Simon and Sunstone Records, however, it’s as much about the process of putting out a record as it is about the number of sales.

Simon, who is originally from Slyne and now lives in Morecambe, said it all started with a trip to Spain.

“I went to visit my friend Ant Andrades, who was living in Barcelona,” he said.

“I DJ in quite a lot of places, and we’ve both been record collectors, so we just decided to start pressing records.

“Our initial thoughts were of forming the label to release a collection of songs that had been recorded at the now closed Deroy Records in Carnforth.

“After setting up we were approached by a couple of bands about releasing their material, and we just went from there. We didn’t have any idea what we were doing to be honest. Literally we just Googled how to press a record.”

The first seven inch single Sunstone put out was by bedroom musician Klaus Johann Grobe. It was then picked up by an American label who re-pressed it.

“We all put some money in, about £1,000 in total, and we’ve still got the money we started with.

“A month ago we had lunch out on the company account!

“We were quite cautious at first in terms of the number of records we got pressed.

“But now we’re quite confident we can press 500 of each album. But it’s got to be good, and we’ve all got to agree on it.”

There are currently 16 artists on the label, including Lancaster’s 3D Tanx and Pill Fangs, and some of the records are already selling on vinyl collector website Discogs for £80.

Other artists are from Australia, America, Switzerland and Ireland, as well as the UK.

“Things are starting to move forward,” muses Simon, as we converse in The Hall in Lancaster, where he hosts a monthly vinyl night, and where he’ll be putting on a show by Chicago based Sir Plastic Crimewave, signed to Sunstone, on September 23.

“When I was young I remember my mum playing Queen and Rod Stewart albums, and as I got older I got into Quadrophenia and scooters, that whole Mod thing, which opens you up to lots of other things.”

Simon, who by day is catering manager at Lancaster Road Primary School, owns around 10,000 albums which he says he’s in the process of “downsizing”.

He explained that music is brought to the label digitally and is then remastered in analogue before pressing.

Some of their releases are available to purchase at Supermarche in King Street.

“We’re doing some Welsh language psych-folk-rock with a band called Wermod. People are making stuff without regard for an audience, and that’s quite inspiring for a little label like us.”

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