Eugene’s Flossless Audio
by William Kennedy
To most music nerds, the well-established vinyl LP revival makes sense: fine art versus cheap online knockoffs; but cassette tapes barely made sense in their own time. So, a rumored cassette revival brings back memories of rewinding spools of jammed-up tape with nothing but a pencil. Nevertheless, the rumors are true: there is a cassette revival in our midst and many young bands and boutique micro-labels, such as Eugene’s Flossless Audio, are embracing the format. Hold a brand new, shiny cassette in your hand, and you get the romance—the thrill of unspooling a brand new musical experience. After all, mixed CDs and playlists just don’t have the same place in our hearts as the mixed tape, and when it comes to music in physical formats—it’s all about heart.
“Starting a tape label in 2015 is sort of hilarious,” says Josh Finch, founder of Flossless Audio. “People largely don’t have a means to play the actual product, but for a myriad of reasons seem to still enjoy having the hard copy. Tapes are definitely coming back.”
Flossless Audio recently released the Energy and Entropy EP from Sacramento-based hard-edged goth rockers NMBRSTTN.
“We printed double our typical run for that one, and it is already our biggest pre-sale release to date,” Finch says, “It’s really good shoegaze influenced post-hardcore stuff featuring the ex-frontman of Pipedown,” Finch explains, continuing: “We’re going to be re-releasing a compilation tape by Ukranian black metal act, Moloch. I’m really stoked to work with him. Other Flossless releases includeFamous Last Words from Eugene-based rapper Sammy Warmhands and the Early Rise EP from Eugene’s LostOdyssey.
Finch says tape labels are already running into some manufacturing delays. “Record Store Day is allowing major labels to practically clog every major venue for vinyl production,” Finch says, “making it hard for smaller labels to not only compete, but even have their records manufactured.”
“The same thing is happening with tapes on a smaller scale,” Finch explains, “A lot of boutique labels focus on lo-fi content which allows for simple, at home duplication, and is great for small run releases, but if you want to release something with a higher quality sound, there are only so many companies that do high quality cassette duplication, and we’re already experiencing serious bottle-necks during the busier times of the year. So, I guess the revival is real,” Finch says, “if a need for a larger manufacturing infrastructure is being created.”
Flossless Audio sprung from Exiled in Eugene, a Eugene-based `zine and blog Finch started in 2010. “I’m just a huge, ridiculous fan-boy,” Finch jokes. “Exiled In Eugene is actually the project that led to launching Flossy,” Finch says, “around the end of 2010 I launched a zine/blog with Eugene artist Richard D Owens that focused on Eugene and NW music and art and over the years it took on many forms as I kept trying to scratch a very particular itch with the project,” Finch continues, “That itch being getting involved in facilitating the success of other people’s music—basically to be like a professional fan. Exiled helped me to pinpoint what that meant for me. Writing about music is part of that, but actually helping put that music into the world is far more rewarding.”
So if you’re interested in seeing your next project released in the exciting new format of cassette tape, Flossless Audio is taking submissions. “It’s pretty simple. I have to like it. Cut and dry,” Finch says, “We don’t really aim for a particular genre. We’ve released stoner rock, singer songwriter stuff, country/punk, hip hop, experimental, and have black metal and post-hardcore releases coming. I just have to like it enough to put our name on it. There are other requirements though. The band has to be willing to tour. Nothing sells your release better than a tour, and I assume that if you’re putting the time, effort and resources into creating it, you want people to purchase and listen to it. At least I hope so. You can contact us through our website/bandcamp atflosslessaudio.bandcamp.com,” Finch says.