The current vinyl resurgence that all sorts of music writers and pie charts have happily pegged as the saving grace of a wilting music-buying industry wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the 20 or so pressing plants currently operating in the U.S. or the brave souls who woke up one day and decided yeah, it’d be a good idea to work at a record factory in the 21st century—people like Thomas Bernich and his small crew at neighborhood plant Brooklynphono. We owe them a thank you. Jack White owes them a thank you. The entire music industry owes them a thank you.
In a brick factory on an unwelcoming industrial strip in Sunset Park, Bernich and Co. recycle old records into upcoming releases from local bands and beyond, repurposing junk into treasure through the multi-step process of mastering, pressing, plating and collating. (They close the press during the hottest two weeks in August, an indication of the elbow grease, sweat and intense heat that goes into manufacturing the discs.) The technical process is explained in more detail here, but, for visual appreciation, we sent photographer Cody Swanson to Brooklynphono for a behind-the-scenes look as Bernich and his staff worked the day away. We think they’re the coolest.