artwork by Carmen Monoxide
Spartan Records has already had a busy year with vinyl releases from Over The Ocean and Shy, Low. Founder John Frazier has a lot more up his sleeve with multiple releases slated for the very near future, all of which are getting vinyl treatments. We are excited to talk with John about his journey through the music industry,his vinyl collection and what record to play at his funeral.
NS: When did you start collecting vinyl?
JF: I really got into collecting vinyl when I was in college — which was a pretty long time ago. Back before you could even order music online, I mailed ordered CD’s and 7“‘s a lot. My collection really started to expand when I began working at a cool little record store in Virginia called Plan 9 Music. I was able to jump on new and used stuff before it ever made it onto the floor for sale — oh, and did I ever.
NS: Do you remember the first record you bought?
JF: I don’t — but I remember the first record I was given when I was a little kid. It was the 80’s and my cousin took me record shopping in the mall. He gave me a choice between two records - Van Halen’s “Diver Down” and a record by 38 Special. Luckily I chose, Van Halen and my rock and roll fate was sealed. ”Diver Down” is still a really good record with a sweet album cover.
NS: What’s your favorite place to look for records?
JF: If I pick up a record on a whim, it’s more than likely going to happen here in Seattle at Easy Street Records or Sonic Boom. Otherwise, I try to support labels by ordering releases direct from them whenever possible.
NS: Around how many records do you have in your collection?
JF: A few hundred. Mainly 7“‘s but a bunch of 12“‘s too. I’m actually proud of my collection.
NS: What’s your holy grail record right now?
JF: I’m not a hardcore vinyl hound, but I’ve always wanted the Sigur Ros “()” record. It’s too beautiful of an album not to have on vinyl and the die-cut sleeve is really cool.
NS: For many music is a lifelong passion. What record would you want played at your funeral?
JF: That is a wild question, you morbid bastard! Maybe science will discover a way to keep us alive forever. If not, just play some Def Leppard while you pour actual sugar on my corpse. I don’t really care. I know I’m going to heaven.
NS: How did Spartan Records form?
JF: Spartan really goes back to my experiences ordering tons of records from mail-order companies as a kid. I discovered so much good music. Everything from that point has led me to where I’m at now. I took my love of music and just ran with it. I worked in college radio, interned at a major label, street teamed for a bunch of labels, worked at record stores, started my own zine, video taped shows, etc. Eventually, I landed my first job in the music business at a little label called crank! in the distribution arm of the company working with labels to help them get more exposure and sell more music. After that, I headed up marketing at Drive-Thru Records for a few years before moving to Seattle and heading up marketing at Tooth & Nail and Solid State Records for over a decade.
NS: What does Spartan Records have coming up in 2013?
JF: We’ve had a really great year so far. We released new albums from Over the Ocean and Shy, Low. We also released a third pressing of Mae’s “Destination: Beautiful” on glow-in-dark-vinyl. We’re gearing up for a new full-length from Schematic (ex-Mae) and a new EP from Daisyhead. Everything is getting a vinyl pressing and everything is totally awesome. Looking ahead to early 2014, we’ll have a new EP from Waypoint and the US debut full-length from Iceland’s Ourlives.
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