An Interview with Dan Marter of InTheClouds Records

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intheclouds | short run lathe cut vinyl records, custom cassettes, CDs

Looking for some sweet hand pressed, lathe cut vinyl right out of the Garden State? Look no further than indie vinyl label InTheClouds Records, run and founded by Dan Marter. Dan is one of us: just a dude with a dream who loves music and records. He works hard and after living under the heel of corporate greed, Dan went out started something for himself. Ten years on, InTheClouds is one of the best indie labels/pressers of vinyl out there today. If you believe in supporting the little guy, then give your business to Dan Marter. If you would like to learn more about Dan Marter and InTheClouds Records, you can head to their website here. If you need a record pressed, or a jacket made, Dan has got you covered. Enjoy this interview. Cheers.

Andrew:
Dan, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to speak with us. Tell us about your back story. How did you get your start? What got you into music in the first place?

Dan:
Hey, good to be here. I mean, to get into it…originally I really just wanted a blowjob. Why else would someone learn a paradiddle…ya know? I played in bands throughout high school and college.. made some “friends” along the way  and thought this record label shit would be a good way to relive my glory days…but I was wrong. Turns out it’s actual work. Ewww…gross. 

Andrew:
What moment most influenced your decision to work in the vinyl industry? What does vinyl mean to you?

Dan:
I started collecting cheap Jazz records from the dollar bin when I was in college…chicks dig Jazz…and candles. Then graduated, moved back home with my parents and got a job with Sony Music in NYC and would steal promo records out of the mail room…’cause like, the pay was shit, so might as well have some perks to it, right? One of the first projects I got to work on was creating marketing assets for record store day…probably the 2nd year they got their shit off the ground. I made “how to” videos for store owners explaining the importance of social media…Facebook and shit. A lot of the mom and pop shops didn’t have accounts setup, so it was OG days…boomer baby steps.

Andrew:
In 2011, you started InTheClouds in your parents basement, right? How did the idea come about? What was the moment you knew that you wanted to press vinyl?

Dan:
So, I was fucking with the Record Store Day stuff at work…stealing Charles Mingus records from the mailroom and just thought back, “Oh it’d be cool if Penfold was pressed on vinyl.” I went in my closet, dug up the cd, went through the liner notes and started social stalking the names. Eventually, got to the right people for the approvals and figured out how to press a record. I was commuting 2 hours to the city each day…had a lot of time on my hands to Google shit. Thought it would be a one and done kinda thing…but I’m an addict. It’s never enough.

About – intheclouds

Andrew:
In my opinion, pressing vinyl is both a trade and an art form. Would you agree? Can you expand on that sentiment?

Dan:
What is a sentiment? Ha…yea vinyl is an art. I’ve been fucking with it for about 10 years now. I started InTheClouds in 2011, going from pressing records at a manufacturing plant to now actually cutting each groove 1 by 1…from start to finish, there’s a lot to process. It’s a rabbit hole and I think I’ve gone too deep to turn back now. The machines we have are precision equipment, shit sounds beautiful, but maybe I’ve been locked in the garage alone for too long. Each lathe has its own personality…finicky…it’s weird man. I’m actually teaching guys how to use them now and they look at me weird when I say it at first, then like a week or so later they understand.

Andrew:
In 2017, you expanded your in-house services to offer on-demand printing solutions. I actually just recently purchased a cover for the long overdue repress of Hit Vibes by Saint Pepsi. You guys rock. Tell us more about that aspect of your business.

Dan:
Sweet. Yeah, prints have kinda been paying the bills recently. I love art. Like, music is tight, but a picture is worth a thousand words, right? Vinyl is half the battle, I wanna offer the complete package. We do record jackets, T-shirts, hoodies, stickers, posters…all that shit, we’re creating a keepsake at an affordable rate.  I’d say 80% of my day is tied up with the wide format and direct to garment printers. Making sure that it’s running correctly, the prints come out as best they can. I am going to make InTheClouds the biggest on-demand multi media service for musicians.

Andrew:
You were mentioned in Modern Vinyl’s end year list for “Packaging of the Year” in 2012, 2013 and 2016. How gratifying was that for you?

Dan:
Modern Vinyl is cool, they have the finger on the pulse right? It’s been a minute since I talked with Chris…but it’s always nice to see someone acknowledge your work in a positive manner. People are quick to talk shit online before giving you a pat on the back…I’m 10 years in and I don’t really read much into any of it, positive or negative. I wake up and attack the day. I’d love to spend more time on larger pressed projects with sweet packaging. I have a lot of ideas on the backburner, just need the time to put into it. We are also putting out 100+ custom vinyl orders a week, and need to give those orders the proper attention as well.

How a N.J. man is revolutionizing the music industry, one vinyl at a time -  nj.com

Andrew:
As you know, quality control is a big issue within the vinyl industry. I know QC is important to you at InTheClouds. What is your QC process like?

Dan:
We have a zero fucks policy…it’s legit written on the walls, bold, san serif font. I don’t give a fuck how long the record is, or how long we spent on it.. .if it sounds like shit- we don’t send it out. Start over. We cut each record in real time, listening to it as it’s made, then we spot check on a second listening station before it ships out. 

Andrew:
Shifting gears here, and I know this is a broad question, but who are some of your favorite artists? What’s your favorite genre?

Dan:
Shit changes based on my mood. Recently, I’ve been playing Madonna and Creed in the early mornings…6am while I scrub my balls in the shower. The music I listen to outside of that…I get paid to hear. InTheClouds is my life – #slavetothelathe. So…money talks. We make a lot of mixtape vinyl, which for me…it’s interesting listening to the selections people make as a reflection of the relationship they have with another person. The songs they pick are a piece of them, and I try to put a piece of me in each record. 

Andrew:
This may seem like a silly question, but do you collect records? CDs? Tapes? Or are you all digital now? Regardless, what are some of your favorite albums?

Dan:
I mean, I still buy shit. Just picked up the new Deftones vinyl. How many times will I ever listen to it? I dunno? But I want to support the artists I respect. Spotify is so easy to find a song and listen on the go. I’m just happy to get the sounds in my ears.

intheclouds (@inthecloudsnj) | Twitter

Andrew:
If you do collect physical music, what got you into that? What are some albums you don’t have, but hope to find one day? Where do you like to shop for music? What’s your favorite shop?

Dan:
The first cassette I bought was Tag Team Whoomp There It Is. First CD – Stone Temple Pilots Tiny Music… Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop and Metallica’s Black Album. I still have them. Am I a collector or a hoarder? I’d like to say I get my shit from a real cool local spot like Vintage Vinyl in Fords NJ or something but I don’t leave the fucking house. Amazon all day bruh. Drop that shit off at my door.

Andrew:
Once COVID-19 calms down, what types of new releases can we expect from InTheClouds going forward. If you can’t give explicit details then maybe just a hint?

Dan:
I don’t know…long term, I wanna open an ice cream parlor. Like…50’s style malt shoppe. I love music. Songs can take your mind on a journey. Ice cream makes everyone happy. I’m not focused on any specific releases, more on experience. If I could open an ice cream shop with a jukebox in the corner or something…take a nickel and play a song while you suck down a sundae…livin’ the dream.

Andrew:
Is there anything within the industry that you would like to see change for the better? What improvements would you like to see that you feel would be beneficial to us all within the vinyl community in general?

Dan:
Vinyl? Like mass pressing-wise? They need more people to make the plating; its “sexy” to say I have a vinyl pressing plant, but if you don’t have the metal plates then you’re gonna sit there with your dick in your hand. There’s a handful of people that make the source…the people that make the cookie cutters so plants can pump out your Lady Gaga vinyl. The industry needs improvements to quality cut heads that make the metal plates. The industry needs audiophiles that jerk off to sounds, nerd out to precision, while also expecting shit pay. If I can get all philosophical here…we all know the music business is broken. I worked for Sony Music for 7 years…sucked that corporate dick and it paid me…ehh…decent. I eventually…got fired but it will always be on my resume. I started my own deal and here I am…InTheClouds…very lucky and fortunate. Vinyl pays my bills, and feeds my daughter. I appreciate every customer that comes to our website. Change is inevitable.

Andrew:
Last question. You seemed to have embraced the old-school, DIY ethos, which is refreshing. Is there any words of wisdom you have for anyone who’s just getting started in the business?

Dan:
I will eat your breakfast. I’ve worked long and hard to get where I’m at. If you don’t come into it with a killer mentality…you don’t belong.

Interview: In the Clouds Records - Get It On Vinyl

Dig this interview? Check out the full archives of Vinyl Writer Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interview

About Post Author

Andrew Daly

Andrew has always felt himself to be a "jack of all trades, master of none" type of person. With an immense passion for music, a disposition for writing, and an eagerness to teach and share both, Andrew decided to found Vinyl Writer in 2019 as a freelance column under the column Stories from the Stacks. Over time, the column grew into a website which now features contributors who further the cause of sharing both a love of music and the art of journalism with the world through articles and interviews. While Andrew enjoys running the website, his real passion lies in teaching and facilitating others to do what they do best, and giving them the opportunity to explore their passions in the process.
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