Jack White takes us on tour of Third Man Records' new pressing plant

Posted at 3:53 PM, Feb 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-23 22:00:39-05

Third Man Records is going one step further.

Starting Saturday people from throughout metro Detroit can stop into the Cass Corridor store to witness vinyl records being printed.

“If I was going to pick one place it was going to be Detroit, and this neighborhood in Cass Corridor,” said Jack White in an exclusive interview.

Hear his entire interview below

Plans were unveiled plans to build a record processing plant in late 2015. On Thursday, the crew behind the Third Man Records printing press gave 7 Actions News a look behind-the-scenes.

Beginning Saturday, everyone will have a chance to see the printing process. White came up with the idea of having the printing factory attached to his record store that’s become a mainstay in Detroit. Anyone who comes into the store will have a view into the factory.

“You know, you’re not supposed to have plants that look like this,” said Ben Blackwell, one of Third Man Records original employees. “They’re not made to be visually appealing. It’s usually dark, gray and drab. We did away with all of that.”

Blackwell isn’t kidding. The floor is a bright yellow, and the pressing machine used to create vinyl records are a combination of jet black and yellow. The entire factory looks like it was built for looks, however, it’s every bit as functional as it is beautiful.

The presses are capable of printing thousands of records every day — the store/factory now employs roughly 50 people.

White told 7 Action News that the first day will highlight eight Detroit artists including The Stooges and MC5, but in the future he wants to be able to press everyone’s music from garage bands to world renowned stars.

“I think we’re going to have everything covered, I’m really proud of that.”

According to White, the idea for this factory grew from his time on the road.

Back when White and Blackwell were just getting to know each other they toured the country. Blackwell joked that there was a time that a rural Motel 6 seemed like the coolest thing in the world. In those times, they talked about the things they wanted to see. A store where you could watch vinyl be printed and purchase it was one of those things, White said he was amazed to find out later it didn’t exist.

Now he’s changing that. He said the thought is that since Third Man Records consists of a hodgepodge of artists, they pay extra attention to the heart and soul of the music they’re making.

“That’s exactly who you want to help you,” said White. “No people who have no idea what it’s like to be in the back of a van on tour and playing in grimy bars all over the place.”

Saturday is expected to be a big day. A crowd is expected to form in the store for the first day similar to what record lovers see on “Record Store Day.” In the future they group expects to offer tours of the factory.