Missing Vinyl Records is a label focusing in sixties and seventies music productions that remain long out of print and are absent from the market for a long time.With a strict vinyl direction, the label takes care for exact reissues and deluxe editions,dealing also with new artists and groups from the wide area of the psychedelic,folk and progressive contemporary scene.Founder Nick Voukoutis opens the diary.
What motivated you to start a label?
Actually it was not supposed to become a label… it was supposed to be the "Truth: Of Them and Other Tales" pressing only.I wanted to own Truth on vinyl, since I first heard it on cd, but none of the existing labels had plans to reissue it, so I decided to have it pressed myself.
When and how did it start?
After I had arranged for rights, master tapes etc. for Truth, I realized, that I would be sitting for ages on the 1000 copies I intended to press, if I did not have a package to sell. So, we had a brainstorming session and decided that Kenny & the Kasuals and Armando Piazza's Suan would be very good to accompany TRUTH, in one batch.In late 2008, it was just a batch of three titles but not a label yet.
A vague idea was there, but I had no clue of what to issue next. I did not even know, if I am going to issue anything at all.Then, I accidentally ran into the website of the Kuckuck label….We gave it a try and were very surprised to see the legendary Eckart Rahn granting us rights for historical albums like Out Of Focus, Armaggedon, Deuter Murphy Blend etc. I am grateful to him for entrusting us with his youth’s work, and for giving us the chance to prove we can do it well.With the second and third batch of Kuckcuck reissues, Missing Vinyl Records became a label and got some awareness with collectors.
Is it sometimes a financial struggle?
We only issue new albums, when the previous ones have covered their cost, so there is no financial struggle associated with the label itself. We have tied some starting capital to the first issues, which is being slowly recovered. One can certainly not make a living out of label of our kind, but it’s also not a losing business.
What other labels influenced you?
I am a collector since I remember myself– I have seen several nice releases on various labels through the years – it would be unfair not to mention some, and too long to list all of them.
Who are your competitors?
There is no competition in the conventional sense.It’s not like: “if a customer buys the other brand’s yoghurt, he will not buy mine”. On the contrary we form the market together, and the more releases there are, the more interest is being created for our kind of music, so the more each one of us sells.World In Sound, Guerssen, Garden Of Delights and several more labels are no competitors, they are partners in arms and we enjoy receiving and selling each other’s releases and exchanging information about several issues.OK, admittedly, when one of them comes up with a once-in-a-lifetime record, I may get a bit jealous (how on earth did he manage to locate the band to get rights?.... why did I not think of this album? etc….), but down the line, I am happy, that I may include this record to my wholesale catalogue… and also keep one copy for my private collection.
There is a very bad competition though: bootleggers and pirates. There are so many great albums out there, which have been reissued by pirates. Rights holders get no money and are being deprived from getting some royalties from us or other official labels. Pirated LPs are usually medium-to-bad quality pressings, they are cheaper than ours due to lower manufacturing cost and/or due to the fact that they pay no royalties, and they result in killing a good record’s market potential.
A wordplay with the word “missing” before “vinyl”.In 2008, when we came up with the name, people were missing vinyl for longer than a decade – the vinyl resurgence was yet to come.It also reflects our fundamental choice, to be issuing albums, that were missing, i.e. unavailable for ages.
Whatʼs your guiding principle?
Long unavailable on vinyl, or –better- never before issued or reissued, quality psychedelic and/or progressive music. Never reissue a record, which I would not choose to have in my collection. Always official reissues.
Can you sum up your labelʼs outpout ?
Three first ever issues of great albums: Dino Valenti’s lost recordings, Truth and the english version of Ihre Kinder / Leere Haende (Empty Hands).The first ever Kuckuck label reissues, among them the three Out Of Focus LPs, Armaggedon, Murphy Blend, CWT, Hanuman, the Ihre Kinder's Jeanscover and Deuter: D.Our South African first-ever reissues, two McCully Workshop and Canamii – great music!
And John Bassman group, a great record, for which it took ages and serious detective work to locate members to get rights.Ciccada (voted 8th best album of 2010 at progarchives.com) and Allison, two great contemporary Greek bands and the two Manticore’s Breath records (this is Will-o-the Wisp in their new heavier style) and Crystal Thoughts.Carolyn Hester - two albums, Crash Coffin and the two great American first-ever on vinyl reissues Oxfords and Sandstone (what a record!) – the three first Nektar albums, made double to accommodate several never before on vinyl bonus tracks, and the 2 Gurnemanz LPs – great female vocals here!.Last but not least, the three Aphrodite’s Child LPs due in next week.
How important is the look and packaging of your records?
Very important! Collectors nowadays are far more demanding, than 30 years ago.We make 180g vinyl, 350g covers – the best European technology can offer at a feasible price.We had some great help for making our reissues exactly as the originals were. Mr. Willie Oertel, the renowned German vinyl collector, has trusted us and sent us expensive original covers of several records from his own collection, for us to use for scans in order to achieve perfectly exact reissues.
I am proud of all releases.TRUTH has a special position in my heart, having been our first issue. And then I am definitely proud of the three Out Of Focus LPs, that made a label out of Missing Vinyl. I believe a breakthrough will come now with the three Aphrodite’s Child albums, that address a larger audience, not only the psych and prog collectors.
What are your future plans for expanding the label?
Several UNIVERSAL releases, long missing.Hopefully a new Ciccada and Will-O-The Wisp album.
How do you survive through the years?
Through wholesale – the label would not be enough (far not) to make our living, but it helps and it gives me this great feeling, every time I see a new batch arriving from Germany – it’s like making history, it’s productive, it’s fun.
How do you find new acts?
Books, internet, customers’ ideas, my friend Jimi “Psychoson’s” ideas….etc.etc.
(As told to High Fidelity Stories)