Soul Step Records is a very unique label functioning right here in Cincinnati. Cincinnati’s own DAAP Girls are releasing their second album, Look Inside Your Love, on Cincinnati’s own Soul Step Records this Saturday at Northside Yacht Club!
Instead of your typical label contracts - Soul Step Records up fronts the costs of manufacturing vinyl for artists who typically cannot afford to get their music on this premium format. After selling a very limited edition special or color vinyl, Soul Step splits the profits 50/50 with the artists - a much greater deal than any traditional label will do.
We sat down with Melvin Dillon, owner of Soul Step Records to get to know more about his unique business model!
Tell us about the evolution of Soul Step Records…
Soul Step got started for a couple of reasons. One was the fact that I knew I couldn’t cut it as a musician myself, but I wanted to stay connected to the community. Second was the fact my record collection then was quite large and I wasn’t having as much joy hunting for records because I had most everything I wanted. So I figured that the missing albums in my collection would only start by making them myself.
Once I knew this was something I wanted to try - I knew that Soul Step had to be unique in how we were going to support our artists. That’s how our unique business plan came to be.
What spectrum of artists do you work with?
All over the place! I don’t put myself into a corner with only a certain sound or genre. I want to get as many people into purchasing records and push the medium forward for future generations. So really it has to pass my own personal ear test and hopefully the artist sees Soul Step as an amazing resource for the vinyl release of their music.
If you head to our website and listen to our different artists - you will find something you like. Throw in the fact that with each purchase you support an independent artist AND a local company - I can’t think of a better thing!
I am excited to have my first Cincinnati release. This adoptive town has been so good to me and to Soul Step. I am thrilled to begin what I hope to be many Cincinnati based releases in the future.
Vinyl is, in my opinion the best way - besides live - to listen to an artist. What/who started your love of vinyl?
It was about seven years ago. Charlotte, NC is where I was recovering from a bad breakup. My friend had me over to his place for beers to cheer me up. He pulled out a crate of records and I started to tease him about them. I haven’t seen records at that point since my parents’ collection as a kid. He put on Bob Dylan’s “Blonde on Blonde.”
Maybe it was the heartbreak, maybe it was the miller high life, but all of a sudden things changed. I felt a warmth unlike any MP3’s I was listening to at the time. I held that record and felt a connection to it. After that night my collection began.
That warmth in sound is why I was so excited about DAAP Girls recording all analog. The sound on this record is MADE for vinyl. I hope everyone gets to hear it the way the band envisioned it - on vinyl.
What is next for Soul Step Records?
Well, we’re excited about DAAP Girls. We also have another release the first week of December, which will be a live album recorded in a record store! We also have more LP’s for 2016 and we are going to start a 7” singles series. Hopefully we’ll have a Cincy artist to kick that off as well.
We’ve also started a subscription series. We’re hoping those who support our artists and our label never miss our special releases, which we only make 100 copies of before it moves to standard black vinyl. It’s a great way to stay connected to the moves our label is making.