Label Talk With Zico of First Class Collective

How did you get into Vaporwave?

The start of it seemed rather bizarre, but I encountered Macintosh Plus’ Lisa Frank 420 when it became a meme back in the summer of 2016. Despite a chuckle and a pass on, I decided to look into it, and discovered more than just that; Saint Pepsi’s Enjoy Yourself, Macross 82-99’s “Fun Tonight”, and Yung Bae’s Bae City Rollaz. But my obsession didn’t grow much until summer of 2018 in which I found myself into the realms of Artzie Music, their latest uploads, and even watching the top anime that they feature (Urusei Yatsura).

Before FCC, were you already dubbing home-made cassettes?

I started my cassette obsession back in January 2018 when I bought a cheap shoebox cassette recorder and blank tapes; All I ever did is record meme songs onto tape and make watered down mixtapes. I even took to photoshop to make the j-card.

Then, it came to a rise when a classmate offered me blank tapes, and I bought a mid-range Sanyo cassette deck. And so, I’ve been making my homedubs throughout the summer of 2018, and looking up auctions for New Old Stock tapes.

What kind of tech do you use to home dub for your label?

At first, I just found whatever I can find around the house; a computer, a generic HP Printer, photo paper, and a cassette deck that I can use, along with tapes I can dub. Overtime, I have upgraded those when it started to kick off along with seeking advice from other labels, from making my printing and cutting jobs better, to full on replacing things and making them better. I have recently upgraded to a new EPSON printer in which it does a better job than before, and I am also investing in a high end cassette deck, especially when I want the cassette to give some definition like it came fresh from the factory, all with DIY’s glory. All the while, I have been using an old iPhone playing a single wav file of Side A and B, but after seeking advice, I would rather veer to a Digital to Analog Converter, which would bring out the analog sound to digital files.

What advice do you have for new in-house cassette labels?

It is best to start off just-for-kicks or for keeps. That way, you will see how the hobby goes. And if you are truly dedicated to that, it is best to take everything that is wrong about it (in the customer’s shoes) and get rid of it. Once that is done, it is best to take everything that was good about it and make it better. I highly recommend taking some advice as well; other labels in this scene in my eyes aren’t really competitors, and so they might be willing to help out on how a label should be run.

What’s the big dream for First Class Collective?

My big dream for First Class Collective is to live up to the big artists in the game; release some iconic albums, and still keep in touch and give a leg up with the small ones. We are already starting to have releases to go by leaps and bounds, heck we have a vinyl release coming soon!

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