Amanda White, Co-Owner, and Anna Bihari, the director of product and retail in charge on producing products at iam8bit, work alongside the the team there to produce out of the box, fan-focussed experiences and products for pop culture brands in the entertainment and gaming space. I was introduced to Amanda and Anna through work and in seeing more and more video game soundtracks being pressed to vinyl, I’m excited to be able to show you a little behind the scenes there today.
How did you get into your industry / What motivated you?
Amanda: It really happened by chance, I was taking a break from the film business, where I’d cut my teeth working in development and then producing documentary features for about a decade. During that break, Jon Gibson (my business partner) and I were introduced by a mutual friend who thought we’d get along. We became fast friends and shortly thereafter, began working together on projects. In doing so, we realized that our skill sets were very compatible, two halves of a whole, and within a few months, we formalized our relationship and officially became business partners.
What is a day in the life like?
Anna: As I imagine is that case for everybody in this part of the industry, most of the day is keeping the pipeline moving. We’re always working on a long list of products that are anywhere from concepts to shipping and you have to be on top of it all, every day.
What has been your favorite / the coolest thing you’ve worked on?
Amanda: For a video game called Old Man’s Journey, we conceived of and produced, a super cool product. The music is a collection of ballads, by scntfc, inspired by the Sea. When I listen to it, it inspires feelings of kinship to the story of the game. The package we put together for that is also really gorgeous – a foil stamped, cloth wrapped 2 x 10″ set that feels like a Sea Captain’s log book. It really stands out visually as the unique and accomplished collection that it is and its such a joy to listen to.
What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?
Anna: Finding the right partners, but once you do, it’s fabulous. In an industry with so many physical components, we have vendors all over the world fabricating anything and everything as part of our packages. With that many moving parts – concepts, creation, shipping, approvals, assembling – you really need partners who put honesty first. Even if delivering bad news, I rely on my vendors to be my eyes and ears for the components they are building.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?
Amanda: Reach out, make contact, express ambition, enthusiasm and interest. Be authentic and don’t be shy about addressing an email to the people who own a business, even if you’re sending it to a general email box. We are always looking for passionate and hardworking people to join our team – its rare that those people find us without us looking really hard, so when someone makes that effort, it really stands out.
Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?
Amanda: I am! I’ve been collecting vinyl since the 90s but have had vinyl in my life via my parents since I was born. I’ve always loved the analog sound, the warmth and the coziness of records. There’s something nostalgic about the experience of listening to music this way, for sure, but it also feels pure to me, in the same way that people love film over digital… I like the imperfections and the human touched qualities. Digital audio is cold and lifeless by comparison. I’m in the process of teaching my 4-year old the intricacies of vinyl and turntable care now too, working to pass the baton of appreciation on to the next generation.
What types of things are happening in your industry / with vinyl that you’re excited or worried about? i.e. innovation, or trends you’re seeing.
Anna: I’m honestly excited about so much right now. At the Making Vinyl conference in Detroit last year I was able to hear from so many industry veterans and optimistic newcomers. Innovation and competition help drive creativity, so I’m full of anticipation for what’s on the horizon.
Tell me what you’re currently listening to:
Amanda: A friend recently introduced me to King Princess. She makes an amazing Pandora station. Highly recommend.
And Anna, what about you, music or hobbies / things you enjoy doing outside of work?
Anna: I play video games, visit art galleries, read and create. I’m involved with a group called Everything is Terrible! and with them I make costumes and sets and occasionally travel and perform in their live shows and art exhibits.
Find Amanda White and Anna Bihari: