Record Resurrection: local lathe cutter still grooves to vinyl
A local record cutter’s hobby reminds us of why people should rewind to the days of vinyl.
Shortly after the first CD was invented, the vinyl record was left for dead by music labels.
However, a craving for nostalgia – a desire to return to the good ol’ days – has brought the analog sound back from the dead.
Mike Kassis, owner of White Noise Records, is a part of the record resurrection movement.
“Record sales are up over 500 percent – actually, over 570 percent over the last five to six years,” Kassis said. “They’re coming back around.”
Kassis cuts records for people across the globe at his home-based hobby shop alongside his wife, Brenda.
“I just got done with a client in Australia. We’ve had clients in Chile, England, all over the United States … funny enough, I get more business from the Internet than I do here in Rapid City.”
He grooves on a lathe record cutter that he picked up in Minnesota and personally refurbished a few years ago. He also recently expanded his business with the purchase of a second cutter. The record man expressed excitement at the potential of doubling his output.
He’s been in the business since the 80’s, but took a break before the turn of the century – the love for his craft never left him, however.
Kassis has been collecting unique and vintage vinyls for years. Some discs are one-of-a-kind, prized from famous bands like Van Halen.
Having been in the business for so long, bands from every genre come to him.
“We’ve been getting anything from hip-hop, to country western- a lot of hip-hop … to rock and roll. We’ve gotten the whole genre.”
Kassis has also developed an appreciation for local, lesser-known music groups: “I’m starting to get a good flow of electronic music coming in. It s a little harder to make records out of that because of the frequencies, but it’s something new and different and something I hadn’t listened to before. Some of it’s pretty good.”
At the end of the day, he grooves to the beat of another’s drum out of a love for music.
“I like doing it for people. It’s kind of fun. Hearing all the types of music coming in, it’s kind of neat.”
“I think everybody deserves to put their music onto vinyl – I really do – and we’re giving them the opportunity to do that,” Kassis finished.