Soniphone Records: The Everett Label

Next to the New Mexicans restaurant off Hewitt Avenue in downtown Everett is what used to be an Allstate Insurance building.  The old signage remains at the roofline, and a poster for the Fisherman’s Village Music Festival hangs in the window.  Inside the doors are kegs from the aforementioned festival amongst other promotional materials.  Opposite, a string of offices is a brick wall, which leads back to an elevated wooden stage in the back corner.  Between this corner and the front doors is the office for Soniphone Records, a growing record label in Everett.

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Kyle Ledford at his in-home studio. The machine next to him is an AMPEX 350, a tape recording machine from the 1950’s. Photo taken by EJ Olsen.

Before starting Soniphone Records, the CEO of the label, Kyle Ledford, worked as a manager in an Urban Outfitters, selling furniture and vinyl records – a foreshadowing of what was to come for Ledford.

Community is a key philosophy for Ledford, who seeks to include as many genres in the scene as possible.  “To grow the diversity of content means everything,” he said.  For him this means incorporating bands with all sorts of musical styles as well as breaking down territorial barriers which can sometimes arise in a burgeoning music scene.

Another focus of Soniphone Records is vinyl record production and manufacturing.  Earlier this year, the label acquired equipment to cut small batch vinyl.  While the process is still in its beginning stages, Ledford hopes for vinyl records to be a defining element of the Everett music scene and for it to be an affordable option for up and coming musicians.

More importantly than developing Everett’s identity as a “vinyl town,” Ledford hopes for his label to be a significant force in the development of the local scene.  “If people look back on it in ten years,” he says, “I would like them to believe that Soniphone was a very integral part of not just helping Everett grow and boom, but also helping reinforce, protect, and grow the artists that already were here.

These aren’t just the lofty ambitions of a young label, though.  According to others in the scene, Soniphone Records is on the path to holding that influence.  Henry Yarsinske, Jr., host of the influential local radio show the Stereo Wire, recognizes the momentum and energy of the label.  Yarsinske noted that Soniphone has potential to become a sort of “cult label” with a dedicated fan base and defining level of quality.  Speaking of Ledford, he said, “He has an amazing amount of drive and determination to see a project through, which is something I feel is very, very important.”

In all of these pursuits, Ledford’s love for his city shines through, evidenced by the very geography of his office.  “I was born in Everett,” he laughed.  “I have a real passion for it.”  While he hopes to broaden the community beyond downtown, it is here where he desires the growth to begin.

For a sampling of some of Soniphone’s artists, listen to the Soundcloud playlist below.  For more information on the label, head over here.

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