Streaming music might be the most convenient way people are listening to their favorite albums, but it’s plain to see the physical format of an audiophile’s choice is vinyl. Without getting into all the ins and outs of the sales statistics, the growth in vinyl’s popularity in the past five years, is staggering! Of course it’s never really gone away and regardless of how convenient it might be, indie record shops will always be around in some captivity but when corporate stores such as Barnes & Noble are shrinking their cd selection in favor of making room for vinyl, it’s obvious who’s winning the physical format war.
With Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Best Buy, it’s never been easier to find your favorite album on vinyl. With a few clicks, shipping confirmation number and a little bit of patience, you can be well on your way to listening to Revolver or Jagged Little Pill on your very own turntable in the comfort of your living room.
The recent boom in vinyl sales has not only rekindled the listener’s love of classic albums, but it’s also given the independent music industry a shot in the arm in such a way, it’s become a hotbed for listeners and collectors alike. Indie labels offer up short-run, custom color variants that are just as beautiful to see as they are to hear, giving the collector an extra incentive. Another aspect of the indie record label has revive, is the sales of 7″ singles and EPs.If you buy one of those gorgeous, limited edition color splatter 45 releases, of course you’re gonna want to play it. Being such emphasis has been put on the visual aspect of the release, why not have an equally as fun 45 adapter for your turntable?
Kentucky native Matt Ortt understands this need and started an indie business of custom made 45 adapters that not only serve their purpose enabling the listener to play their 45s, but also add the same incentive indie labels offer with limited edition splatters: looking pretty cool doing it!
From chicken and waffles to zombie’s crawling out of their now dormant graves, The Barn Cat has manufactured some of the wildest creations the human mind is capable of dreaming up. I got the opportunity to talk with Ortt about his business and some of his favorite creations, and despite his products ranging from over the top to down right creepy, it all comes down to one simple thing: the love of vinyl.
Aaron Cooper: What made you decide on making custom adapters?
Matt Ortt: It all started when I broke my crappy, thin, plastic 45 adapter, while trying to snap it into a 45. I immediately started looking for a good replacement. To my surprise, there were very few choices, and most of them were boring pieces of metal, or plastic. I did find some high end wood adapters, but they were way too expensive to justify buying. After seeing the options available, I decided to create a new option. It’s turned out to be one of the better decisions that I’ve made in life. I’ve got a lot of positive feedback from people and really love to see pics of people using my adapters.
AC: What’s the process for making an adapter? How long does it take?
MO: I make them all out of a clear resin. It’s poured into a silicone mold and hardens in 8 hours. I then take the adapters out of the molds and let them sit for another 8 hours. After that, I wash them, test them, and they’re ready to ship. The liquid filled adapters are a little different. Due to the extra steps in that process, it takes a over 2 days to finish one of them.
AC: How big is the operation?
MO: Right now, I make them all in my kitchen. I’m set up to make around 50 a day, which has allowed me to keep up with large orders.
AC: How do you decide on a particular design?
MO: I usually just go with stuff I like, or that I think will look neat. Some ideas just don’t work, but often times I’m pleasantly surprised by the results. I also look for designs that aren’t going to be obstructed by the center hole of the adapter. I’ve had many people send me pics where the hole lands right in the center of their faces.
AC: Do you do custom designs for clients or labels?
MO: Absolutely! I’ve been lucky to work with indie labels like Greenway Records, Fat Elvis Records, and WaxOHolics, as well as shops like Reckless Records, Vertical House Records, and Mellow Matt’s Music already. Always willing to do custom work for an individual, band, label, or shop.
AC: What are some of your personal favorites you’ve made?
MO: The “From the Grave” adapter, released through WaxOHolics, is probably my favorite. Last year, I captured a Black Widow and sealed it inside an adapter, which turned out to be a personal favorite. I’m very proud of the new liquid filled adapters too. It took a long time to figure out how to properly make them.
AC: Why do you think vinyl has gotten popular again in the last few years?
MO: Hard to say. I initially assumed it was the work of the Illuminati, but maybe people just enjoy listening to music on something that they can also turn into a sweet bowl.
AC: What are you currently listening to?
MO: My dog snoring, but Courtney Barnett is playing behind that.
AC: What’s next for you product wise?
MO: Currently, I’m working on liquid filled 45 adapters and new record toppers. Hoping to have something cool ready for Halloween too.