Jack White is making records instead of breaking them!
"This is a commitment to vinyl, the culture and the furthering of it," says Ben Blackwell, partnering with Jack White, of Third Man. "Detroit is our home town, it's where we're from. It is a great town with a storied manufacturing past."
You can tell Third Man Records has a lot of pride for the city they grew up in. Detroit is their home and they are bringing back something tangible to a city that is reinventing itself. Records give a tactile element that can't be downloaded or played in your earbuds as you are on the go. It forces you to take time with it and really listen. The quality is so warm and the sound feels fuller. Even the crackle is nostalgic and adds something often lost when considering how fast we devour media today.
Rolling StoneBen Blackwell, co-founder of Third Man Records
Not only does vinyl provide superior sound, it has artwork that induced creativity. Imagination takes hold as the music and visual are not force fed to entertain, but makes one drift into another world. Third Man Pressing Plant offers this trip that is increasingly popular despite the technology being so many decades old.
Jack White believes so much in this, that no record goes out that is no perfect. The quality of production is important as only 5,000 could be produced a day. Even though it employees about a staff of about 50, it will hopefully start a trend that will attract businesses to come back to Detroit.
Peter Baker for Rolling StoneOne of Third Man's custom-made Newbilt presses. "This is the first significant new influx of machines in probably 35 years," Ben Blackwell says.
Detroit's Masonic Temple was looking at foreclosure in 2013. White paid off the $142,000 debt. His mother had worked there and where the Whit Stripes had performed on many occasions. It was a legendary venue that received such acts as the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix. So maybe it was fate that he would procure the establishment to revive the community.
Much of the equipment required to press vinyl was not easy to find. There were only a limited number of presses in the US. They ended up having to find a company in Europe that manufactured new machines. So all of the plant is run by skilled workers manually. There is no automation. "This is the first significant new influx of machines in probably 35 years, give or take," says Blackwell. The circular label in the center is even a part of the record, pressed with the material that makes up the vinyl. It is flattened just like a fresh flour tortilla.
This 10,000 square foot space is open to visitors and they will be allowed to see the process in action. Third Man Pressing is more than a factory. It supports independent artists, record enthusiasts and brings back something that never really went away.