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A Cassette Store Day Debrief with Jen Long

A Cassette Store Day Debrief with Jen Long

27 September 2013, 17:00

There’s nothing like a healthy dose of good intention to cause a little internet commotion.

When this year’s inaugural Cassette Store Day was announced, the pessimistic and pedantic niches of the blogosphere rose up in alliance to try and cast a cloud over the wave of positivity and celebration that the event represented. Yes – there’s unlikely to be a purely cassette-selling outlet on your local high street – but to taint the brainchild of Kissability’s Jen Long, SEXBEAT’S Steve Rose and Suplex’s Matt Rose (all proprietors of examples of tape labels putting out exciting, occasionally snogged releases) as hipster trend-setting would be to totally misunderstand the motivation of the event.

With high profile acts and labels, ranging from At the Drive In to The Flaming Lips, and Domino to 4AD, getting involved in the celebration of this nostalgic, commercially viable medium, we caught up with Jen herself to debrief on the day’s successes.

What were you hoping to get across with the first instalment of Cassette Store Day? Did it feel like you nailed that?

When we set up Cassette Store Day it was intended as a celebratory couple of in-stores at Rough Trade, our friends releasing some tapes on their labels, and Steve, Matt and I drinking a few beers. It turned into something completely different with shops and labels around the world getting involved. As it was the first year, I’m sure there is room for improvement, but yeah, I think we nailed it as best we could.

Before the day’s festivities, you were quoted saying that “It’s a celebration for people who already love cassettes”. Was the day’s best success celebrating with the converted, or spreading the joy to new tape-lovers?

I think the best success was getting the cassette tape back into mainstream consideration as a viable format. I’m not saying it’s totally there, but I like to think it’s profile peaked a little.

You’ve spoken before about the special moments that you’ve experienced in record shops. What lasting moments will you take from Cassette Store Day 2013?

There was one chap who had lined up outside Rough Trade to get our Los Campesinos! tape and after he’d bought a sweet selection he turned to Matt, Steve and I and said quite sincerely, ‘Thanks so much for organising this guys!” I think we all went a bit sentimental.

Was there any member of the public or person working with the event that you feel earned the title of unofficial CSD mascot for their reaction or efforts? What was their claim to the accolade?

I think loads of different people chipped in to make it great. Anyone who threw their own event or put up with us replying very slowly to their emails deserves a thank you. The crew at Rough Trade were especially good to us, thanks guys. *Thumbs up emoji*

What do you feel you’ve learned about cassettes as a medium from the event?

That there is still a huge appetite for the format!

How do you see the future of cassettes developing? What role does CSD have to play in that?

I don’t see them developing so much as remaining a much loved and used format in music. I think we’ve maybe helped to get the bigger indies back in to the idea of releasing on tape, and maybe the general public into considering tape labels as ‘real labels’.

What’s the future of Cassette Store Day? What would you change about next year’s event?

We want to do it again next year but split it between the UK and US like RSD does. We got a bit overwhelmed by the response from across the pond and want tape fans there to have as much fun with it as possible.

For more information about all the Cassette Store Day exclusive releases, head here.

Photo by Sebastien Dehesdin

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