|One of Furnace's record-pressing machines.|
The new plant is expected to open in January at 6315 Bren Mar Drive at in a building that used to house a Velocity sports training facility close to Interstate 395 and the beltway. The company has 28 full-time employees and plans to hire over 40 more.
Furnace, founded by Eric Astor 21 years ago, initially focused on CDs, says Vice President Ali Miller. In 2009, it began producing music on vinyl, although actual record-pressing is contracted out to manufacturers in Europe.
The new facility means Furnace can step up its manufacturing in-house. The company purchased 10 Toolex Alpha automatic record-pressing machines in Mexico – eight for making 12-inch records and two for seven-inch records – and had them refurbished in England. It also bought two new Viryl WarmTone record presses.
Dischord Records, a mostly punk label owned by Brian Lowit of Bailey’s Crossroads (who also sells ads for the Annandale Blog on the side).
Some bands produce recordings on a variety of formats, while others only do vinyl, Miller says. In some cases, a vinyl record includes a code for downloading the music as an MP3 file.
The resurgence in vinyl records “stems from the same DYI aesthetic that led to other hands-on, interactive experiences, like the food-to-farm movement,” Miller says. The analog lifestyle appeals to millennials who see vinyl as a new format, as well as the older generation who grew up with vinyl and record players.
Miller concedes the new factory is a big investment but says, “We’ve seen nothing but growth since we started. We hope to grow significantly in the coming year.”