Liverpool opens first vinyl pressing plant in 30 years

Part of plans to expand the Jacaranda venue

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For 60 years, The Jacaranda, or The Jac as it’s known to locals, has been a popular Liverpool institution, providing a platform for upcoming musicians.

Founded by Allan Williams as a coffee bar in 1958, the Slater Street club famously played early host to The Beatles, who rehearsed and performed there back when they were called The Silver Beetles.

The Jacaranda’s status as a creative hotbed was enhanced when it reopened in 2014 following extensive renovation. It now encompasses a live venue, rehearsal space, record label and vinyl store, with free rehearsal spaces for live acts (just like Williams offered The Beatles), open mic nights and record listening booths.

Now it has plans to expand with a new label and record pressing plant.

Forwards not back

“When we closed there was a lot of pressure on us to do a Beatles museum and presumably play Eight Days A Week on repeat, but I had no interest in that at all,” said managing director Graham Stanley.

“Far more exciting was doing a similar thing to what Williams was doing in 1958 and providing a platform for grassroots bands to get heard.”

The next phase in the company’s ambitious expansion plans is the launch of its own artist-focused record label, headed by Liverpool-born producer and former senior Universal Music executive Ray Mia. Also involved is Iain Bruce, who previously headed production at Universal’s advanced media division.

“Bands in Liverpool don’t think small time. We think big time and Jacaranda Records are thinking big time with us. They’re not messing around. They’re saying we can take over the world and we are going to take over the world,” said Tracky (pictured), a self-described “ghetto blaster pop” artist from Ormskirk, who is one of eight local acts signed to the label. Others include The Bohos, Shards, Spilt and The Post Romantics.

“We haven’t signed eight bands from Liverpool to put them on the shelf. We firmly believe that there’s big things coming out of Liverpool at the moment,” said Stanley.

Vinyl pressing plant

Work is underway on securing a site within the city boundaries to build a new recording studio, as well as the first major vinyl pressing plant built in the UK for 30 years. Jacaranda hopes to open both facilities by early 2020. Funding for the multi-million pound project comes from private investors and the business owners.

“This is not a pipe dream. This is really happening,” promised Stanley, pointing to the gap in the market that vinyl’s revived popularity has created. At present, the majority of vinyl records sold in the UK are produced in Eastern Europe. The team behind Jacaranada want to bring that business to Liverpool and help re-establish the city as a global music centre.

“The talent has always been in Liverpool and if you look at the acts that have come out of the city at different points it’s certainly been one of the key musical cities in the world, but it’s never really received the investment or support that it needs to take its place at the head of the table,” said Stanley. “We hope to change all that.”

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