Yes, this is a MASSIVE fudge. Heavy Wax aren’t a label. They’re a shop. They’re not even a real physical shop. Heavy Wax is an online vinyl-only music shop founded last year, run by Nathan “Barley” “also-runs-Basick-Records” Phillips. We figured it was a good idea to grill the brains of the Basick Bossman as to why he’s gotten into the physical end of the musical business chain, and we’ll be damned if we can’t ham-fistedly fudge this into our ongoing Label Profile series because of it.
So why start selling vinyl now?
Well, it’s always something I’d wanted to do, as I’ve been into vinyl for a very long time. And with vinyl sales increasing year on year and now at an 18 year high, it seemed like the right time.
How did Heavy Wax come into being? How did it go from idea to reality?
I was acutely aware that there weren’t any retailers out there that specifically catered solely for heavy music on vinyl – not in terns of new releases anyway. Most stores also stock CDs along with other faff across a multitude of genres, which is fine and I think works for larger shops, but I wanted something more refined than that, something more specific. My day job puts me in a unique position, in that I’m in direct contact with the owners of most of the labels whose records I want to sell. With all of these factors in mind, I decided to put my money where my mouth is and set this thing up.
What was your first record?
It’s a bit hazy, but the first vinyl records I bought with my own (birthday) money were Thriller by Michael Jackson, True Blue by Madonna and Rio by Duran Duran. I must have been around 9 years old.
What record made you fall in love with vinyl as a format?
I’m not sure I can pinpoint one single overall record, but I can vividly remember getting a copy of Jeff Wayne’s War Of The Worlds on double vinyl when I was around 12 years old and not being able to put it down. And I think that’s the key for me; a vinyl product can be such a tangible thing. I had the music on repeat for months whilst constantly leafing through the giant illustrated booklet that came with it. I was in sci-fi / musical heaven.
What would you say to someone to make them buy vinyl for the first time?
I think it depends on how much that person enjoys listening to music. And I mean listening to music, not just having music straining through your ear buds whilst you’re working. This might be a bit of a cliché, but I would encourage anyone to listen to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon on vinyl through a decent home audio system and then match that experience through Spotify on your iPod. If you really want to appreciate and experience music in the way the artist intended, there’s just no comparison.
What record player do you use?
I have a few, from a Rega RP1 to a dual set of Numark Pro TT-2s, plus an old school Ariston RD11s. I also have a standard Numark TTUSB turntable for ripping to digital formats too when needed.
What was the first vinyl record you put out on your label? Why that one?
Well, it wasn’t just one record: it was four. We released a collection of debut albums from Chimp Spanner, Skyharbour, Uneven Structure and The Algorithm on double vinyl for Record Store Day, that when compiled together made up the full ‘B’ of the label’s logo.
I guess If you’re gonna do it, do it properly haha!
Is ritualising music – which buying and playing music on vinyl surely is a form of – important? Why so?
Well, it’s important to me, but of course it’s probably not so important to everyone else in the grand scheme of things. I just think that in an age where the perception of music is increasingly more devalued and throwaway, having something tangible for super-fans to indulge themselves in is becoming more important than ever. Whilst it’s obviously important for bands and record labels to get to grips with streaming and other new technologies, we shouldn’t forget that fans will always want something a bit more special from the artists they look up to.
What are you planning in future for Heavy Wax?
More label and artist hook-ups and more exclusives. And more encouragement on all sides, so that everyone is getting awesome music within an awesome product.
Other than that, I just want Heavy Wax to keep growing in a really organic way. We don’t pay for advertising and I don’t envisage that we will in the near future either – so far everything has just been word of mouth. I like it that way. If something is genuinely good, then you’ll usually find that the word will get out over the natural course of things.