Jamaica’s vinyl culture is in trouble.
From rocksteady 45s to dancehall dubplates, Jamaica’s vinyl culture is revered all over the world. Yet in Jamaica itself, the record pressing plants and mastering studios that were once so central to the music itself have slowly disappeared. Musicians working there now have to press records abroad in the USA or Germany.
Pressing Matters In Jamaica is a short documentary produced by Vinyl Factory and Vivien Goldman that deals with this subject. It tracks down central figures in the scene to uncover the current struggle to preserve this incredible piece of music history.
As the documentary reveals, iconic record shops like Randy’s and Rockers International are now ghosts of their former selves, whilst Jamaica’s last pressing plant has been covered in dust for years (though a new deal should finally see the factory kick start operations again).
Through conversations with local legends like Earl “Chinna” Smith, Vivien pieces together a personal story of how a culture so rooted in records has found itself in helpless decline.
“Jamaica had so many studios, outstanding studios, pressing plants, small producers and big producers, who were able to capture this whole spirit of the people in the grooves of these records,” explains Herbie Miller in the film. “This is the industry is the biggest calling card for this country.”
Watch the video above.