Cassette is back, baby.
There are several reasons why the medium has been chosen for both these artists’ new releases.
“It’s cost effective, it’s nostalgic and it’s easy to make look professional,” says Trimble of his Old Ugly release. “It’s slightly cheaper than CDs, but you can get them in smaller quantities, whereas with most CD pressing plants you can only get shipments of 500 to 1,000 to 2,000. With cassettes you can order any amount that you want.”
With CDs being harder to sell these days because of file-sharing, limited pressings of albums is one way of creating hype around the album.
This sentiment is reiterated by Mark Templeton, whose upcoming release is on the label Sweat Lodge Guru Records and Tapes.
Sweat Lodge only releases cassettes and vinyl and they only print a certain amount — once it’s sold out, it’s sold out. It makes you want to pay attention to what they’re releasing a little more, says Templeton.
“Artists and labels are trying to find a way to get people to purchase their work,” Templeton says. “It becomes an item that’s collectible — that only a certain group of individuals would purchase. People who are appreciative of a specific artist.”
Trimble admits, though, that it will probably only appeal to a certain type of music consumer.
“The kind of person that would be interested in it would probably be a hipster,” jokes Timble. “It’s kitschy, it’s cool, it’s certainly DIY. You pretty much have to put the whole package together yourself, which lends a craft aspect to it.”
Perhaps it is hipsters who will appreciate it, but music lovers have to admit that there is a certain amount of charm to cassettes, says Trimble.
Also, it is the only method of music consumption that caters to the crappy-car demographic.
“Most people my age — the ones I envision listening to my music — still drive shitty, old cars that have cassette decks,” says Trimble. “Cassette decks still came standard in cars as recently as 10 years ago. So 80 per cent of cars out there have cassette decks. They’re ready to go — ready to listen to my tunes.”
Templeton agrees that there is a certain charm to the dying formats.
“In today’s day and age, we consume things so quickly that formats like vinyl or tape are consumed as a listener in a different way,” he explains.
“It requires a little bit more effort on the listeners part, but when I use the word effort I’m not saying that’s a bad thing.”
Though both of the artists are excited about their upcoming releases being on cassette, they have different favourite ways of listening to music.
“Probably digital,” Trimble says. “I mostly listen to music while walking around, when I am in transit. Digitally on whatever device. When I’m at home I’m usually not listening to music because I’m making music.”
Templeton, on the other hand, prefers an even older medium.
“Vinyl,” he asserts. “I like the idea of having to, first of all, put the vinyl on the turntable and then the amount of time you listen to it, then you have to pay attention to it and flip to the other side.
“You just become a lot more aware of what you’re listening to. It becomes more of the foreground as opposed to the background. I like how closely I listen to it when I listen to vinyl,” says Templeton.
If you feel like getting nostalgic while experiencing fresh, new music you can check out Mark Templeton’s “sound art or experimental” music April 9 at The Artery (9535 Jasper Ave).
The next night, April 10, you can check out Liam Trimble’s eclectic pop, which includes a style described as “medieval trance” on one track, at The Pourhouse (10354 82 Ave).