Surfing the analogue wave

In a buzzing studio in North London, Darrel Sheinman and Adam Sieff of Gearbox Records cut vinyl on vintage equipment, working with the likes of Kate Tempest, Ronnie Scott and Paul Weller. They tell us about the beauty of vinyl... 


Tell us about Gearbox Records. What do you guys do?

We are an audiophile vinyl record company with our own analogue vinyl cutting studio at Tileyard Studios near King’s Cross, London. We release high quality, previously unreleased vinyl cuts and new recordings by contemporary artists. Our goal is to support new music and lost treasures on vinyl – our recent releases include records by Kate Tempest, Nucleus With Leon Thomas, Michael Garrick, Max Cooper, Kenny Wheeler, Slowly Rolling Camera, Dexter Gordon, Jazz Jamaica, Ronnie Scott, Mark Murphy and Michael Horowitz with Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon and Paul Weller.

Tell us about your vinyl cutting.

Although the vinyl cutting studio was originally set up for the label’s own use, so many people wanted to use our vintage equipment with its 100% analogue chain that we now offer a vinyl mastering and cutting as well as a complete consultancy service to help artists and producers though the minefield of vinyl mastering and production. 

What is the joy of listening to vinyl, compared to digital recordings?

Apart from the fact that it just plain sounds better when properly set up, many feel – and we agree – that there’s a stronger emotional connection when listening to vinyl. It’s as if you’re surfing a smooth analogue wave instead of having to digest thousands of slices of digital pie. And there’s the all-important ritual of taking a record out of its sleeve, cleaning and placing it on the turntable before dropping the needle into the groove. Vinyl is for the times when you want to really listen to music, not just hear it. But digital can be very handy, especially when out hiking or cycling! 

What vintage equipment do you use?

Our cutting lathe is a 1967 Haeco Scully with Westrex amps, the same set-up Blue Note used – we checked with Rudy van Gelder! We also have extremely rare Studer C37 and H37 valve tape machines, a vintage Philips Pro51 from Decca West Hampstead, and superb sounding Audionote amps and monitors. We have tie lines to Mark Ronson’s Zelig Studio next door and have recorded live sessions from his studio direct to our cutting lathe, notably with Emily Barker and The Red Clay Halo for Record Store Day last year.

What's important to you?

Carrying on the tradition of keeping to the highest possible standards in all that we do. And making the best records we possibly can.

What artists should we listen out for in 2015?

Binker And Moses are two fantastic young musicians from Zara McFarlane’s band, and their album Dem Ones is live saxophone and drums recorded direct to tape. Max Cooper and Kate Tempest will go from strength to strength, Sasha Siem will make a breakthrough and it will be the anniversary year of British jazz legend Tubby Hayes. And there will be others that we haven’t even planned for yet. 

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