Brooklyn Phono

Records and record players, DJs and DJ culture are so ubiquitous today that to speak of a "vinyl resurgence" verges on cliche. Brooklyn Phono however has been in the game working on the renaissance since the mini disc was king and well before before Urban Outfitters decided to make it part of their retail identity.

Our Sunset Park neighbors, Brooklyn Phono’s Tom and Fern run one of the handful of American based small pressing plants working closely with producers and musicians alike.

Apart from Tuna Fish the dog, Tom and Fern are running a pretty lean shop. They do it all. Everything from from label design, color mixing, to the printing and stamping. We even caught up with them on recycling day: unloading the tens of thousands of pounds worth of old Warner Music vinyl that gets reconstituted into an entire year’s worth of raw material.

These minced bits or old vinyl are heated in an extruder and made into a “shot” or a biscuit then stamped with their respective A and B sides. At one time Brooklyn Phono took on mastering duties and the electroplating needed to produce the stampers, but their proximity to the BQE highway and its vibrations made cutting master discs untenable. These days, they’re sticking to pressing and packaging.

The Brooklyn Phono catalogue is genre spanning and deep. From indy rock (Grizzly Bear’s breakout Yellow House was pressed there) to 90s house music reissues and, to more recently after another pressing plant shut down in Jamaica, dancehall and reggae releases too.

Along one of the walls of their factory, climbing almost to the ceiling 25 feet high, are thousands and thousands of archived pressings. An impressive totem and cultural time capsule spanning nearly two decades of music.

Words: Ryan Langer
Photos: Lowercase