Saturday, April 19, 2014, independent record stores across the world celebrated Record Store Day, an annual event held on the third weekend in April to celebrate independent record stores. While many artists typically issue limited-edition releases to celebrate the event, indie rocker Jack White decided to take it a step further by breaking the record for “World’s Fastest Studio-to-Store Record,” recording a two-song single, pressing it to vinyl and selling it, all in one day.
White accomplished the entire process, from the first guitar note played to the sound of a cash register ringing up the first sale, in only 3 hours, 55 minutes, and 21 seconds at Nashville’s Third Man Records. The Swiss accordion trio Vollgas Kompanie, who released a live album one day after recording it, previously held the world record.
Engineer Vance Powell recorded the two tracks—and an ensuing live set—through a 32-channel Rupert Neve Designs 5088 console. Powell, a frequent engineer at Third Man Records, recording and mixing over 130 records for the store/label/studio, has worked with White on numerous projects, including White’s 2012 solo album Blunderbuss and The White Stripes’ 2007 Conquest.
“A couple of years ago, Jack wanted to do this live record thing. “Lazaretto” is the seventh one we’ve done, so this isn’t the first time we’ve done this—just the first time to do everything in a day,” Powell told Pro Sound News.
The challenge for Powell was to mix the live single as close to the studio version as possible. “I’m trying to catch the same vibe as the record; that’s kind of what I was going for. It’s the same band, and they’re very well-rehearsed. The great thing about Jack is that he doesn’t have such heavy-handed production, and most of his stuff is recorded live,” Powell said.
Powell used minimal outboard gear for the live release, but did utilize an Empirical Labs Distressor and Fatso, and a few UA 1176s. For studio monitors, he used Proac Studio 100s and ATC 100s.
The day of the record-breaking recording, White arrived at Third Man Records around 10 a.m. CST and recorded two songs: Side A has White’s latest single, the title track of his new album, Lazaretto, and Side B plays White’s cover of the Elvis Presley classic, “Power of My Love.”
By 10:38 a.m., White had completed his set and rushed the master down to United Record Pressing, where the recording was pressed to 7-inch vinyl records. By 1:37 p.m., the first 45s were ready, arriving back at Third Man Records by 2 p.m. “The tracks are actually cut in mono, as an interesting side note,” Powell added. Once the recorded tracks were sent off, White played a set for the crowd present for the event.
A more traditional version of “Lazaretto” will be available on June 10, 2014, recorded by Josh Smith and mixed by Smith and White.
Third Man Records