I’ve only been to Memphis once even though I lived in Nashville, and I loved it there! So much history and the STAX museum was an experience I’ll never forget. That said at the time I had no idea about what Memphis Record Pressing (MRP) was up to, and since then they’ve seemed to explode on the pressing front.
That said, this week I’m happy to share some behind the scenes with Brianna Orozco, a lead press operator at MRP, who ensures that all their machines are running properly and with the correct job based on their schedule.
When she’s not keeping everything on track, she’s hanging out with her boyfriend and three dogs, or at her best friend’s house playing board or card games. She enjoys music festivals and shows, but says she picks and chooses them carefully. “I’m honestly very boring”, I know that’s not true!
How did you get into your industry / What motivated you?
It was pure chance. When the company first started, it was very small. They were really only hiring by word of mouth. My brother heard about MRP from a friend, so he looked into it, loved it, and shared it with me. I had no idea what to expect, but I was ready to stop waiting tables, so I wanted to give it a chance.
What is a day in the life like?
BUSY. There’s never really a dull moment. Our machines are old and man made, so there are plenty of chances for something to be adjusted. It’s my job to hone in the settings to help the machines run at their maximum capability and produce the best sounding records as possible.
I usually just walk around the production floor checking the records coming off the machines to perform a brief quality check, and touching base with our inspectors to see if there are any subtle issues or flaws with their records that I or the other operators haven’t seen.
What has been your favorite / the coolest thing you’ve worked on?
That’s tough. I’ve seen a lot of very cool artists come in and out of our plant. I think I most enjoy doing old blues artists, especially if they were from Memphis. I also was proud to be a part of all the STAX artists we pressed recently, such as Booker T. & The M.G.’s
What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?
Me. I am my worst critic. If we have a poor production day, or if we need a lot of help from our maintenance team, I’m very hard on myself. Like I said, most of our machines are much older, and they need small repairs fairly frequently.
It can be stressful, but that’s what we’re all here for. We love music, we love our machines, and we’ll do whatever it takes to bring them to their best light.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?
Be open minded and be patient. I love what I do, but it’s still work. I work with a lot of different types of people. And being in my position, I have to instruct people constantly. Some older, some younger, and most of them men. In my previous jobs where I worked as a manager or any higher up, men wouldn’t listen to me, or take me seriously.
At MRP, however, I never have to worry about someone disagreeing or having anything negative to say about me being female. I work on heavy machinery and I’ve learned a lot about them in my time working on them.
The people I work with are amazing. I pride myself on the team I have. Patience is a virtue, and working with lots of people and machines, you need a lot of it.
Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?
I wasn’t, until I started working here. I did love the sound of putting a needle on a record, but never thought it would make such a comeback. I also had no idea we could make records in any other color than black!
I worked in Q.C. for a while, and that’s when I really got into collecting vinyl records. I got to listen to so many new artists and sounds, and I bought my first turntable. I loved waking up and instantly putting on Al Green so I could sit on my porch with my dogs and soak in the morning sun. I enjoy the routine of placing the needle on the record and having to flip it over to hear the rest. There’s just something beautiful about it, and I love it.
‘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.
We have been expanding and growing since day one. We recently got three new machines from our partner, GZ. THEY. ARE. AMAZING. They produce such beautiful records and the way they operate is impeccable.
We press a lot of colored vinyl, and they handle the color changes very well. I believe it’s in the works to obtain more of these. That excites me. We’re also putting together some machines that will allow us to press picture discs! That will be so cool.
Tell me more about what you’re listening to right now:
I love reggae. Everything about it. I love the bass lines and I really love the messages I hear in the songs. My favorite band is Rebelution. I’ve only seen them twice, but they perform frequently in the town I was born in in California. It’s my go to when I’m unsure of what to listen to in my car. That or dubstep, which are total opposites of each other. Really, I’m just a sucker for a nice bass line.
Memphis Record Pressing: @MemphisVinyl