Published Dec 04, 2008When it comes to Radiohead's album art, Stanley Donwood is the brains behind the operation. In fact, Donwood has designed every Radiohead album cover and most of their posters since 1994's My Iron Lung EP, including the artwork for Thom Yorke's solo album. Still, in an effort to find a "hobby," Donwood has launched Six Inch Records.
In a post on the label's blog, Donwood explains how he arrived at his decision, stating, "[it] is a project that may take a little explaining. The story begins around the time of Christmas 2006, when I drunkenly decided to become a record label boss. Every man needs a hobby, or so the cliché has it, and if I was going to make a late-stage attempt at normality then that was one of the things that I should do. So, still reeling from red wine, I typed out a email to three musicians that I knew, suggesting that I release their music on my as-yet-unnamed record label."
Now a fully fleshed idea, Six Inch Records is a very unique label. The site's front page reads: "There will only ever be 3 Six Inch Records releases. There will only ever be 333 copies of each release." Why so limited? Perhaps because the manufacturing process is so complicated, as the Product section describes: "We package our releases by hand into sleeves that are six inches square. This is done using a design process that we believe to be unique, a process that we made up as we went along. First, we cut beermat board into 6" x 6" squares. Then we cut a hole into the beermat board the size of a compact disc. The CD is then pressed into the hole. We then letterpress the details of the release onto 'printaboard', the stuff used by cereal-box manufacturers, using moveable lead type and woodblock type. The printaboard is then scored and cut into shape. We then fold, glue and stick the sleeves together. Following this, the CD/beermat board square is carefully inserted into the completed sleeve. The entire caboodle is then placed within a letterpress printed envelope, just in case. All mechanised operations - printing, cutting and scoring - are carried out using a 1965 Heidelberg platen press. Everything else is done by hand."
Sounds complicated! The three artists lucky enough to release material on Six Inch Records are Patrick Bell, Max De Mara and the Joy of Living.
Stanley Donwood profile on CurrentTV