On Broadway Avenue in North Everett is what used to be a diamond store. The frame for its street sign is empty. The building looks curiously residential and seemingly dormant. This historic building, however, is home to Soniphone Records — a local independent music production company that is anything but inactive.
About two years ago, Kyle Ledford — the founder and CEO of Soniphone Records — announced that his label would begin small-batch vinyl record manufacturing in the heart of downtown Everett. At the time of this announcement, the label was largely a passion project for Ledford who still managed several retail outlets as his day job. Since then, Ledford has left this job to pursue the label’s work full time. He also got married at the end of 2017, shortly after moving locations from his apartment and old office to the new building that put his manufacturing and office work under one roof.
The new building offered other opportunities for Ledford and Soniphone as well. The label can now offer recording services thanks to a renovated basement that now serves as a complete studio with digital and analog technologies, bringing elements of vintage and modern studios together.
However, the most exciting development to Ledford has been his integration and growing connection with the small-batch / lathe-cut vinyl manufacturing community. He has actually had the opportunity to work with his “heroes” in that business, Kris Dorr and Michael Dixon of Mobile Vinyl Recorders, on a high-class private event with Gavin Degraw.
WATCH: Kyle Ledford gives a brief run-down on his process for cutting vinyl LPs.
It has been these sorts of partnerships that Ledford believes has driven his rapid growth. “It takes a community,” he says. “You can’t do it all alone.”
Ledford specifically emphasizes the significance of his family, and his wife in particular, in supporting him in this exciting stage of evolution of his business. He also stresses the necessity of prioritizing these relationships in his pursuits. “No matter how hard you want to chase your dreams and find success, you have to make sure that you find that balance,” he says.
Community, kinship and diversity have been “key philosophies” for Soniphone Records since its inception, as Ledford stated in his last interview with We Are Mirrors. Now as the label has grown in reach and capability, it hopes to serve as a rallying point and inspiration for local artists and creators. Ledford hopes for his success to “feed back into the community” and for Soniphone Records to “communicate the Everett scene to a larger audience.”
One way Ledford and Soniphone seek to do this is by partnering with artists with smaller reach and provide them with opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be afforded to them. He hopes to open the door to vinyl record manufacturing for artists and connect them to some of the label’s higher-profile, highly experienced contacts so they can grow their craft and gain exposure to a wider audience.
“When you’re struggling as an artist,” Ledford says, “you have those moments where your dreams come true, and then you think, ‘Oh, hell yeah! I can keep doing this. I’m not going to get defeated by the world.'”
For Kyle Ledford, Soniphone Records is all about creating those moments.