Tasha Trigger | Owner, Lathe to the Grave

If you’ve listened to The Women in Vinyl Podcast, you know co-host Robyn Raymond, one of our board members and contributors.  She is the only female lathe cutter in Canada and her passion for what she does is infectious.  When she mentioned Tasha Trigger, the only female lathe cutter in the UK, we knew we had to interview her and found her passion was that way too.

Lathe to the Grave out of Portsmouth, UK, was started by Tasha and her partner. They make short run lathe cut records from one to one hundred pieces; the perfect option for bands that aren’t ready for a full vinyl run. Lathe to the Grave has over fifteen year’s experience in the music industry including performance, promotion and production, and they understand how important it is to have a reliable service.

In Tasha’s free time, she’s kicking ass training in MMA. “There is something special about two people mutually trying to punch each other in the face!” Her and her partner also have a Youtube channel where they participate in spicy food challenges. Make sure to enjoy some of those!

How did you get into your industry / What motivated you?

My partner started University as a mature student to study Digital Music and I felt left out. He was furthering his career and I had been working in the public sector for the best part of a decade with nowhere to go. I started looking into how vinyl was manufactured and discovered lathe trolls. That is where my learning journey began.

As he was approaching the end of his degree we were discussing how difficult it is to release vinyl as an independent artist over a few pints in the Dancing Man pub in Southampton. This was the moment we decided to start the business, to support independent artists and make vinyl an option for everyone. It took almost a year from this decision to obtain a lathe but finally picking up was the best feeling.

What is a day in the life like?

I always start the day with either a gym session or beach run followed by a breakfast ramen. I am very much a creature of habit! Then it is a 20 minute walk to the workshop. The lathe takes a little while to heat up so whilst it is heating, I’ll check the diary to make sure we are on track and make myself a coffee. Then the fun begins, and I can start cutting records!

Depending on the project I am cutting I will usually be folding and gluing sleeves or preparing the blanks for upcoming projects by trimming the sharp edges off. I’m never more than a couple of feet away from the lathe the whole time though in case of any issues. Records with lots of individual tracks where I physically need to create track gaps, or 5” records which have a super short run time, are a little bit more full on so I’ll just stand directly in front of the lathe for these, sometimes having a boogie if the music is particularly good.

I’ll call it a day anywhere between 6pm and 8pm and head home for dinner. My tummy usually dictates the finish time!

What has been your favorite / the coolest thing you’ve worked on?

Ooh that is a hard question. I have made a few multi-hole colored records for Yeti that look pretty cool. He always comes to me with goofy ideas and I am happy to oblige.

We have also done some spoken word releases for the comedian Neil Hamburger as an exclusive for his tour which was pretty amazing as I have been a fan for years. When I saw an email drop in with his name on it, I was pretty excited.

I also cut a Commodore 64 program into the outrun groove of a 7″ single! 

What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?

Taking the leap into being a business owner. After spending my first 15 years of my working life as an employee making the jump to business owner has been scary. The responsibility if it all goes wrong and knowing the value of what I do. It took me a long time to have faith in myself as an engineer and a business owner.

The majority of my customers are absolutely lovely people who I would do anything to help and they make my job amazing. However, receiving emails demanding orders for less than our advertised prices, particularly wanting them within ridiculously short turnaround times, irks me. Replying to these emails in a professional manner is definitely one of the hardest things I have to do.

What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?

The holy grail has to be the forum Lathe Trolls. I spent the best part of two years sleuthing through all the resources on there before committing to getting a lathe. I still visit it on a daily basis to keep on top of all the current news for the industry, it is full of some of the most knowledgeable people I have ever had a chance to chat with.

Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?

I have always loved music but have never really been a vinyl collector. I grew up in the 90’s which was the era of CD’s and MP3 players. When I met my partner he showed me his collection of vinyl and had some amazing items including a vinyl jigsaw and a record made to look like a scotch egg. It intrigued me. I have a very limited selection of special edition vinyl but wouldn’t class myself as a collector.

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.

I am excited at the love for vinyl at the moment. It seems to be growing exponentially and I am loving all the fun special editions of records coming out. I love that more and more people are now collecting vinyl and discovering how fun it can be.

I am a little concerned that maybe it will be a bit of a fad and the bubble with burst, particularly for the larger labels/bands who are pressing hundreds of records. With the waiting times increasing for pressing plants I am surprised the industry giant labels are still pursuing it as a viable option. I have full faith in short run releases. More artists are self-releasing their music so I think there will always be a need for lathe cuts, thankfully!

During this time we’re currently in, what message do you have for music and vinyl fans? How can we support you, the industry?
Buy physical! Bandcamp have been helpful with their “no-fee Fridays” but that doesn’t mean it is the only time you should buy. It also doesn’t have to be vinyl. Buy t-shirts, buy patches, buy badges. It might not look a lot, but you can spread the word about your favorite bands by wearing their merch.

Start conversations with people about the bands you love. We are a community and we should be putting each other up on pedestals rather than hating on people becoming successful.
Commodore 64 program that was cut in the run out groove of a 7″ single.

Anything else to share?  If not, tell me what you’re currently listening to:

I have some exciting things in the pipeline but I can’t disclose them just yet – all I can say is keep your eyes peeled over the coming few months. I don’t really have a favorite music genre, I listen to a mix of everything. My two favorites at the moment are Viagra Boys and Jazmin Bean, two very different genres!

Find Tasha:

Instagram: @lathetothegrave

Facebook: @lathetothegrave

Twitter: @lathetothegrave

Website: www.lathetothegrave.com

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