For a generation that never experienced music as anything but ethereal, vinyl records are irresistible. Seattle and Los Angeles-based Light in the Attic Records is an independent record label dedicated to bringing deluxe vinyl editions of extraordinary music to the public. They produce long-forgotten soul compilations from the 1960s and unreleased demos. Ever eclectic, even 1980s punk bands like PiL have found a home with Light in the Attic. Young creative types who seek alternative forms of music output love the novelty and luxury of 12-inch LPs, and the more detailed and upscale, the better.
The whole idea of vinyl records is high-touch. Patrick McCarthy, Reissue Producer and Project Manager for Light in the Attic, has a passion for vinyl LP records that borders on an obsession. He refers to the decline of vinyl at the end of the 20th century as ‘a dark time.’ “Vinyl is interactive," he explains. “You have to put it on a physical device and get up and flip it over in 20 minutes. It’s a lot more work for the listener, and people engage with the music in a much more rewarding way."
Getting in the groove of production management
To manage the cumbersome, old-fashioned process of making high-quality vinyl record albums, McCarthy relies on Evernote. “I’m the only person doing all the production management," McCarthy explains. “I used to keep track of things on paper. I spent a lot of time searching through emails to follow production timelines. I wanted an easy way to keep track of everything, that didn’t have a steep learning curve. When I found Evernote, I understood it right away. I liked how I could manage all my projects in one place, and I didn’t have to copy things from one app to another, or remember where I put things."
“When I found Evernote, I understood it right away." – Patrick McCarthy, Light in the Attic Records
McCarthy sees Evernote as a blank canvas to create the organization system he needs. He makes templates, and he starts a new notebook and copies the templates into it for each new album he works on. “I have templates for production schedules, art direction, talent management, orders, and sales," McCarthy says. “Any project can easily have 20 to 40 notes in it, and Evernote saves me hours of work and helps me stay organized. I can easily keep track of the tasks as they’re being completed, and I can share notebooks with vendors and co-workers."
Up to 30 rounds of art drafts
A 12-inch album provides a larger canvas than a CD or a simple digital thumbnail, and Light in the Attic takes full advantage of the space. “An album has a large jacket," McCarthy says, “and you can include a big book or a poster inside. You can use beautiful inks and foils; each album is a work of art. It’s something people want to own and collect. But tracking all the drafts of the artwork can get complicated. There can be up to 30 rounds of art drafts. I coordinate the changes by logging them in Evernote. Then, when we’re all signed off, I just share the notebook with the designer, and he or she has all the communication in one place."
The whole office–in one pocket
Producing vinyl albums is not only labor-intensive, it’s a very mobile proposition. McCarthy is often called to travel, and his album-producing activities have taken him all over the world. “If I’m not at my desk, what am I supposed to do?" McCarthy asks. “That’s why I appreciate Evernote’s mobility so much. Everything that I put on my desktop syncs right to my phone and I can pull it up right there," he says. “I was in China once, and I could answer questions just as if I were at the office. That’s pretty amazing, to be able to do that."
I could answer questions just as if I were at the office. That’s pretty amazing, to be able to do that.
McCarthy is continually drawn to do new things in Evernote, and he pulls ideas from everywhere. “I read Evernote blogs and listen to podcasts," he reports. “You can learn so much from other users. You can get Evernote templates from other people, and tweak them to do what you need them to do. The Evernote community is a whole ecosystem. Evernote has been essential to the growth of Light in the Attic."
McCarthy doesn’t find it at all ironic that he relies on a cloud-based system to manage the production of an old-world, analog product. “Our generation is lucky enough to be able to choose which products we prefer to use virtually and which ones we want to experience in real life," he says. “For example, we have some releases that we only put on CD and some that are available as downloads or as albums. It’s about choice."