Impressed Recordings Aiming Great Aussie Vinyl To Superfans

2 November 2023 | 1:44 pm | Christie Eliezer

Coming just in time for Aus Music Month this month, Impressed Recordings’ plan is to release around ten records per month.

Impressed Recordings team

Impressed Recordings team (Credit: Lilli Boisselet)

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Many great Australian indie recordings don’t necessarily reach the superfans. That’s because they are not released on vinyl.

Superfans spend 80% more on music each month than the average music fan and 128% more likely to buy vinyl, cassettes and CDs.

A new company, Impressed Recordings, which launched this week, is branding itself Australia’s first direct-to-superfan vinyl brand, curated and collectible limited-run releases.

“With my experience at Universal Music Group and Apple Music, I was always aware of the superfan,” says Impressed’s Managing Director Luke Bevans. “As a music fan myself, I always try to think of myself as a 16-year-old, as in, what would I love about the music that I enjoy and which soundtracks my life?”

Bevans was Senior Marketing Director and Head of Domestic Artists for Universal Music Australia and then Apple Music Lead (industry-speak for ‘Head’) for Australia & New Zealand.

The service Impressed offers is mostly offered to local consumers by US and UK companies. “That’s where I felt there was a gap. Whether aged 17 or 45, listening to any genre and from any cultural background, how could anyone have a better customer experience in this area?”

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Ten A Month

Coming just in time for Aus Music Month this month, Impressed Recordings’ plan is to release around ten records per month.

The first run includes a double EP from Byron duo Royel Otis, a debut LP from ARIA-winning Oh Mercy songwriter Alexander Gow, and a very limited Australian-only pressing of the 10th-anniversary issue of Passenger’s All The Little Lights, which was recorded with musicians in Sydney which reached #2 on the ARIA chart.

There are folk and neo-soul EPs from Brisbane hailed guitarist, composer and visual artist Laneous, exclusive variants of this year’s Byron psychedelic band Babe Rainbow EP, and the debut album from Sydney singer-songwriter Georgia Mulligan.

NSW alt-country and folk performer Babitha’s critically acclaimed debut album Brighter Side of Blue gets a repress. Brisbane outfit Hungry Kids Of Hungary’s Escapades (Stop Start/ EMI), a Top 30 ARIA album in 2010, receives a vinyl treatment for the first time.

The inclusion of rapper Tasman Keith’s breakout debut, Mission Famous EP (2018), is significant. Bevans was a big fan of the Gumbaynggirr man from Bowraville NSW’s debut album, A Colour Undone (2022), and was determined it should also get a vinyl-format release. That’s where the idea of Impressed began.

“Independent artists' budgets rarely account for vinyl LP production, the most tangible representation of a musician's work,” points out Alexander Gow. 

“To counter that, Impressed step in and collaborate with the artist to help them press and release a gorgeous product and avoid artistic compromise. It's a passion project, much like the work of the artists they support.”

To ensure indie acts aren’t locked out of the vinyl bazaar, Impressed picks up the cost of manufacturing. 

This is via a deal with Suitcase Records, a vinyl pressing plant in Brisbane – the third of its kind in this country – which was set up two years ago by Neil and Kathy Wilson.

“It’s so refreshing to work with Neil and Kathy,” stresses Bevans. “They are so genuine about the music. They don’t know too much about the music industry and how it works; they just want to make great product.”

Suitcase products are mastered in New York. All Impressed releases are 180-gram heavyweight vinyl and come with essays by music writers.

Impressed also pays full royalties and mechanicals to artists and labels, and all releases are ARIA-chart accredited.

Customers get free shipping and are given the option not to wrap their records in plastic. They can access online exclusive pre-orders that are strictly limited and only pressed once.

Each comes with a hand-numbered, custom-made obi strip and unique colour variant and arrives in custom boxes on the day of release.

Alexander Gox - Dizzy Spell LP. Credit: Impressed Recordings

The Team

The Impressed team has journalist and author Jonno Seidler as Creative Director. Legal and Business Affairs are provided by Troy Barrott and Damian Rinaldi of Sonic Lawyers, and A&R and Product Marketing led by brand and lifestyle expert Georgia O’Connor. Marketing is by The Annex and PR from Thinking Loud.

Seidler reveals: “For a frustrated creative who’s been trying to sneak music ideas past my bosses for years, Impressed is a dream come true. We get to make great records, create beautiful products with the attention to detail we all crave and most importantly, champion artists that are important to us and the culture.”

UK-born Bevans, who moved to Sydney 16 years ago, joined Universal Music at an exciting time when the music industry was turning digital and finding new strategies to reach customers.

What he learned from the Apple Music days were “the attention to detail and care for the customer and belief and honing of the product. I really believe in that. 

“I want the unboxing experience to be really awesome. I want the e-commerce experience to be great, and it’s that kind of attention to detail Apple has imbued me with. The people in there really really focussed on the product.”

Having seen some Australian indie releases fall through the cracks because of the continuous stream of great records (“it isn’t the labels’ fault”), Impressed wants to cap the amount of its releases to focus and curate.

“We have a hub where something beautiful and tangible is created, and which could last a lifetime, and which fans can play to their kids and know the money is going back to artists. It’s a win-win for everybody!”

The following albums will be available to pre-order via the Impressed Recordings website from 9 am on Friday, 3 November.

Alexander Gow Dizzy Spell LP
Passenger All the Little Lights (Anniversary Edition) LP
Georgia Mulligan Nothing Wrong LP
Babe Rainbow Fresh As A Head of Lettuce EP
Babe Rainbow Mushroom EP
Radio Free Alice Self-Titled EP
Royel Otis Bar & Grill/Sofa Kings Double EP
Tasman Keith Mission Famous Music EP
Laneous Normal Music EP
Hungry Kids of Hungary Escapades LP
Ngaiire Lamenations/Blastoma Double LP
Babitha Brighter Side of Blue (re-issue) LP