Writer, DJ, label boss, editor, presenter, promoter… Jen Long has her fingers in a great many pies. Yet her enthusiasm for music shines brightly in any area of the industry she’s exploring.
Long established the Kissability imprint, in collaboration with the guys from Transgressive Records, in 2011. The stable’s USP: all of its releases were cassette-only affairs. Since its inception, Kissability has seen its brand grace tapes housing music from the likes of Cut Ribbons, Splashh, Among Brothers and DZ Deathrays.
For Record Store Day 2013, Kissability is compiling a track from each of its 10 cassettes to day on a special, super-limited 12” – every copy snogged personally by Long herself. Full details can be found here.
Long has written exclusively for ClashMusic.com on her memories of Record Store Day – taking place on April 20; more information at its official site – and why it matters in 2013…
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“So, it’s less than a week to Record Store Day, but why is it so important? Should we not all be visiting record shops every week to discover releases we might have missed, to interact with people IRL, and remind ourselves that we don’t live in The Matrix?
“Obviously, yes. And as someone who runs a cassette label, I’m hardly going to disagree. But there is something quite handy about being able to stream or download music at the touch of a button that I’m equally into.
“I started Kissability with Transgressive Records around 18 months ago, and in February we released our 10th single, the charming rush of pop that is Thumpers’ Dancing’s Done.
“I can’t remember who came up with the idea of doing a 12” compilation for Record Store Day, I just remember being really excited when it actually happened. As ridiculous as I feel writing this, it made Kissability feel like a real label.
“My first memory of being involved in RSD was heading to Spillers in Cardiff in 2009 to watch Truckers of Husk perform in-store. I was writing for Kruger Magazine at the time, and I remember they had a photographer there who snapped a crowd shot of me, mid-whoop, looking like an utter idiot. Of course, that was the shot that made it to print, much to the amusement of my three editors. It ended up as the back cover of 2010’s Spillers Calendar. My mum was so proud.
“A year later I woke up in a friend’s flat in London, late and hungover, and we rushed down to Rough Trade East just in time to miss Caribou. I think I bought a couple of Wichita re-issues, the Pulled Apart By Horses Live At Leeds 12”, and then jumped on a Megabus to Cardiff and arrived at Spillers just in time to pick up a Dance To The Radio compilation that I hadn’t found at Rough Trade. In all fairness this was probably due to my hangover, and not the Rough Trade team.
“I was still living in Cardiff in 2011 and had Katie Stelmanis from Austra visiting. We went to Spillers in the afternoon and Ashli who runs the store let me pop behind the counter to see what RSD stock was left that I might want.
“I turned back around to see Katie and Charlotte Church stood next to each other at the counter, making purchases. I don’t know why I found this so funny, and still continue to. It was like an indie-opera postcard moment.
“Last year I was living in London but working weekends in Cardiff and sleeping on sofas. One of our Kissability bands, Cut Ribbons, played an acoustic set at Spillers. I arrived hungover and with my phone about to die. Ashli made me a cup of tea and charged my mobile while I picked up some records. You definitely can’t get that on iTunes.
“So, why am I telling you all this? Because all these moments still mean something to me – just like a song can remind you of a first kiss or a friend you miss, where and how you acquire records is just as important. It’s like that scene in High Fidelity when John Cusack re-organises his collection autobiographically.
“So why champion Record Store Day? Because there is a generation growing up who have music at their fingertips. Just as much as RSD is a chance for the already initiated to revel in a favourite pastime, it’s also about enticing in a new crowd who might think of record stores as, well, that place in High Fidelity your dad goes to that won’t be stocking the new Paramore.
“It’s like the McDonald’s philosophy – get them young, get them for life. Except consuming loads of records will only make you more attractive, or so I’m told. But it doesn’t have to be young people – RSD has the ability to reach anyone and welcome them to a new chapter in their record buying lives, and hopefully, it’s a chapter that’ll span many pages.”
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Loads and loads and loads of exclusive releases are available on Record Store Day 2013. Acts like Beak>, Cream, Paul Weller, Pink Floyd, Willie Nelson, Benga, Disclosure and Kate Bush have new, limited-run products out (full list here). So save the date – April 20 – and be sure to head to your local record store to check out their special stuff.