True Romance, Ninja Turtles, Mortal Kombat what do these classics have in common except being awesome? Enjoy the Ride Records and Enjoy the Toons Records released them on vinyl! Enjoy the Ride Records is a Long Island record label, specializing in cult following reissues throughout a variety of genres. Michele Kaufman is their operations manager and has the exciting opportunity to help get these releases into your collection.
Enjoy the Ride Records works with a group of licensing partners throughout the industry from the major labels to Jim Henson and Looney Tunes. Their goal is to release high quality products from audio to artwork. In 2015 Enjoy the Ride Records created Enjoy the Toons Records a sub-label focusing on family friendly soundtracks and scores throughout pop culture.
When Michele isn’t working she loves tie dyeing. “Its so therapeutic!” Her and her husband also own an Auto Performance & Restoration shop, El Gato Engineering, so they’re having fun acquiring new cars and working on a new apparel line!
How did you get into your industry / What motivated you?
I got into my industry by going to shows as a teen, many of my friends from marching and symphonic band had their own bands. Seeing a different element of music was intriguing to me. I helped friends bands here and there in my 20s, went back to school for teaching, then found my way back to the industry in 2014 when I began helping pack orders for Enjoy The Ride Records. The rest is history!
What is a day in the life like?
My schedule is unique. I take the mornings to relax and work out, and take some casual calls with my boss. I create our social media posts, emails and other content. I try to stay off social media though, so my boss takes the reins on that.
We are working with more bands this year, so there are calls with artists about our collective visions for projects. There are always art elements that are present, proofing or making tiny adjustments to art, and choosing vinyl color variants. Since scheduling with others around the globe can be tricky, I may have to open an email at 10pm and give feedback immediately if our artists are currently in the project groove.
What has been your favorite / the coolest thing you’ve worked on?
What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?
When people get upset at us if something sells out, or blame bots. I go through orders on release day to check for anything suspicious and check to make sure people didn’t over-order. In the past, we have even received death threats when a release has sold out. Some releases are home runs, and some sit in our store for a year. We always announce represses if its an option, so that everyone has a chance to get an album they love at a fair price.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?
I kind of stumbled into my job, due to offering my friend a hand packing orders, but I will offer up some helpful advice – you have to be passionate about the job and willing to work.
You might have to take a position doing something like packing orders or social media, then work your way up. Networking with people in the industry is helpful. Now that things are opening up again, I’m excited to see what projects are born from people connecting!
Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?
My first memory of a vinyl record is Home For The Holidays, the New York Islanders Christmas Record. As a teen, I got my hands on some Beatles albums. When I would see albums I liked out and about, I would grab them. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s I got a turntable. I didn’t know I’d end up working in the vinyl sector of the music industry, but I’m so glad I am! Half of my collection has been in boxes since our move, but we are getting furniture delivered, so I will be unearthing some gems that I haven’t been able to spin!
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 love that more people are into vinyl! The plants are so busy pressing beautiful vinyl, and we are seeing lots of projects shifting to 2022 due to wait times.
During this time we’re currently in, what message do you have for music and vinyl fans? How can we support you, the industry?
Tell me what you’re currently listening to:
Every day is different. Currently listening to John Mayer‘s new tracks, he’s one of my faves, Continuum is one of my Top 5 Albums. Winnetka Bowling League/Matthew Koma‘s solo stuff; Meg & Dia – Something Real; Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine – Let It Loose; Justin Pierre has also been dropping some really rad singles – excited to see what else he puts out this summer!
Enjoy the Ride: @enjoytheriderecords
Enjoy the Toons: @enjoythetoons