Why Buy Cassettes in 2013? They're "Trading Cards for Your Favorite Bands"

Categories: Interview

Given the recent press devoted to the return of the cassette, you may have expected a bigger coming-out party than the first-ever "Cassette Day" on September 7. The Zia Records Exchange on Camelback rolled out all of six cassettes at the front counter, all easily dwarfed by a Questlove book and a Beatles desk lamp. At Stinkweeds, the local cassettes the store dutifully carries year-round were still there, but no extra hoopla. According to storeowner Kimber Lanning, four, maybe five people came in asking about "Cassette Day."

We conducted a cassette-day post-mortem with Gage Olesen, co-founder of Rubber Brother Records, a local outfit that puts out a multitude of new cassette titles. Seven of them saw their "Tape Release" during the first weekend of Rubber Brother Fest, a four-night event spread out over two weekends and two cities, Tempe and Phoenix.

So was the format once credited with killing music in the Eighties killed off by "Cassette Day"?
Most people I know had no idea that it was even going on. I think the fact that it exists is sort of a niche thing, kind of like cassettes are currently. If somebody was expecting Cassette Day to be as big as Record Store Day, they're probably disappointed.

Are you into cassettes over CDs because it's the cheapest form of analog duplication?
Most definitely. The fact that I don't have to get together 10 friends with computers to try and make a run is really awesome. Everything from the means of duplication (we just bought old tape decks from Goodwill) to the price of the actual cassette is perfect for what we're trying to do.

Wolvves - "Live Forever." (Read our interview.)
Is there any part of Rubber Brother Records that isn't DIY?
We're working on our screen printing press now, but haven't really started printing on it yet. We buy all of our shipping materials from my girlfriend's corporate handbook--I'm not sure if that's DIY.

How many copies do you make of each release? What titles have been the most successful?
We try for runs of fifty, and anything that sells anywhere near that is considered successful. So far, Playboy Manbaby, Petty Things, and Wolvves have been our most successful.
Ryan Avery of Related Records says that when he sells a cassette he knows that fan will play the whole thing, where with a CD they copy it to iTunes, find the one song they like, and forget about it.

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