On Saturday Phish will issue Junta on vinyl for the first time as part of Record Store Day 2012. This will be the second year the band has participated in Record Store Day after releasing their only live recording on vinyl, Phish: Two Soundchecks, as part of last year’s event. That 7-inch was limited to 2,000 copies and featured just two tracks taped during summer 2010, while the Junta package sees the band going much bigger with this year’s release.
The 5,000 individually numbered, limited edition 3-LP Junta packages will be available at independent record stores across the country. Of those, 2,500 will be randomly distributed with a limited edition Jim Pollock poster designed specifically for the Record Store Day set. We checked in with the staff of JEMP Records and were able to get some details about the extensive Junta release and their participation in Record Store Day.
HT: This will be the second consecutive year that Phish will partake in Record Store Day, what is it about Record Store Day that makes Phish want to be involved with the event?
JEMP: The spirit of JEMP Records is independence and the stores that participate in RSD mirror this sentiment.
HT: Starting with last year’s Record Store Day 7-inch Two Soundchecks, and the Party Time, White Tape SBIX and Black Friday Record Store Day releases, now a 3-LP Junta set, Phish has ramped up its vinyl output over the past year. What can you say about the quality of a vinyl pressing that sets it apart from other media?
JEMP: There’s a certain tactile nature to vinyl that’s wholly appealing as a medium and the ability to dig back into the archives to showcase some tucked away content — artwork, photographs – fits well with the dimension of a vinyl release. In the case of “Junta” we were able to do a pure analog transfer from the original master reels by working with Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering. They built their own system that is unique in that there is no digital conversion in the process. So the audio result is as close as you can get to listening to the master reels.
HT: What made Junta the choice for this year’s Record Store Day?
JEMP: Last year we started with The White Tape, this year we went with Junta…
HT: Half of the packages will be randomly distributed containing a new Jim Pollock hand-carved, hand-printed linoleum block poster. What can you tell us about the Pollock print, does it incorporate the original artwork?
JEMP: Yes, it does incorporate the original artwork and the packing also includes Jim’s original art from the CD Long Box.
HT: For many this will be their first time hearing Junta pre-remastering, and for everyone it will be the first time listening on vinyl, what can listeners expect to notice when listening to the record?
JEMP: Technically it was mastered for vinyl using the original CD master as a reference. Chris listened to the CD version first as part of his process. Of course, the vinyl version does have a different audio span – higher highs and lower lows. It’s a difference listening experience. And the pressing by Furnace MFG is as clean as it can get from a vinyl master. We consciously did our research and went with the best of the best for this release: from the paper stock, the finishes, the weight of the vinyl to the mastering engineer and the manufacturer of the pressing.
HT: The live songs were left off the vinyl pressing, was that to stay true to the original release or a restraint due to the nature of vinyl?
JEMP: We were staying true to the original studio release as the band recorded it.