Meet The Label Interview: Leesta Vall Sound Recordings

Meet The Label is our new blog interview series presenting indie record labels and their records all over the world.
Do you have a label you want to see here? Then send a few words about it to diana@vinyloftheday.com. Today we present Leesta Vall Sound Recordings, a Niche Direct-To-Vinyl Label from New York. We have talked to the founder of the label, Aaron Zimmer, to get to know the label more.

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Tell us a little bit about your label:
We’re a small niche label based in Brookyln, NY. We work exclusively in vinyl releases. Our principle focus is on our Direct-To-Vinyl Office Sessions, where artists come to our office/studio to cut live takes directly to 7” lathe cut vinyl records. No tracking or overdubbing…just music performed live while the grooves of each record are being cut.

Since when does Leesta Vall Sound Recordings exist?
The business was founded in late 2012 as a booking agency. The label portion of the business began later as a way to help our touring artists sell a physical product on the road. In a world where the value of an MP3 is approaching $0, and CDs are nearly extinct, providing short run lathe cut vinyl releases for our bands to sell directly to fans from their merch tables had immense value.

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The limited nature of these short run 7” releases got me thinking about how scarcity could be introduced into indie music. And from that, Direct-To-Vinyl Office Sessions was born. That project quickly became the business’s primary focus, and I’ve since discontinued the agency portion of the business all together. We’re happily operating strictly as a vinyl based label these days.

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What sparked the idea to found it? Is there any particular story behind it?
No awe-inspring story. I’ve worked in music most of my adult life. I started in my late teens as a performer… toured and released records for a decade or more. During that time, I learned a lot about how to operate a business around music. And over time I realized that I got more joy out of running the business then I did from writing the song. There’s a Derek Sivers quote out there somewhere about following the lead of the things you’re naturally good at, and abandoning the things you have to force. Leesta Vall is that for me.

Is the label specialised in certain genres?
Generally, we tend to lean towards guitar-driven music, but I wouldn’t say we’re beholden to any specific genres. If its good, we’re in.

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Your Direct-to-vinyl live sessions create very special and unique 7“ records. Tell us a bit more about it – why did you choose to create just one record of each song and not to press the session several times?
These direct-to-vinyl recordings are like audio polaroids. They are the polar opposite of an MP3. The fact that every record we ship is literally a one-of-a-kind sets us apart in the marketplace. But more importantly, it also creates a product that fans can really cherish. Imagine your all-time favorite band cutting a performance of your favorite song directly to a vinyl record. And then knowing you have the only copy that exists in the world. That’s pretty special. So to me, making multiple copies devalues that artist-to-fan experience. I guess we could make a few more bucks by dup’ing a bunch of copies, but the records would mean less to the people who buy them.

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Is it possible to visit your office sessions?
If you’ve ever been to New York City, you probably know that we’ve got a knack for making the most out of little spaces. As offices and recording studios go, our footprint is pretty small. So we generally discourage our session artists from bringing spectators along. That being said, we do have some guests here and there.

Since 2017 is now almost coming to an end – from your point of view, what were the highlights for the label?
2017 was a big and formative year. Both of our Direct-To-Vinyl programs (Office Sessions & Field Recordings) were founded in 2017. Also this year, we’re releasing our very first traditionally pressed vinyl LP from a Brooklyn based Soul/RnB band — Sami Stevens & The Man I Love’s debut, And I’m Right. An amazing band with an incredible record that I can’t wait for people to hear.

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How is the contact with the musicians established? Do they apply for a release or do you discover them yourself?
Typically, submissions come via our Website though I’ve always got my head up for exciting music.

Can you give us a small outlook into the releases that are coming up in 2018?
There’s a lot in the hopper. New Office Sessions are booked every day. We’re currently booking those into January and February. And those releases typically happen the same day as the sessions. As for traditional releases (meaning prerecorded, mixed, mastered pressed vinyl releases, like the Sami Stevens LP) my hope is to release more of those in 2018 as well.

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Check out Leesta Vall Sound Recordings via:

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