We love meeting people who’s passion for vinyl takes them into several facets of the industry. That is the case with Pacific Northwest native Beth Martin, aka DJ Kitty McKlaine behind the turntables, who is also the Project Manager at Cascade Record Pressing in Milwaukie, Oregon. A music history fan, a professional organizer, project manager and an all vinyl DJ specializing in ’80s dance music, Beth does it all.
In the before times, she hosted all kinds of events such as listening parties for Vinyl Me Please, music networking events, record and clothing swaps, as well as DJ’d at local bars a few times a week. Since the pandemic she’s had to drastically cut back, like all of us, on social activities. These days she fosters kittens, DJs a few times a month, organizes people’s homes and record collections and researches music for various DJ nights.
How did you get into your industry / What motivated you to get into it?
I grew up in a music loving family and have been drawn to music for as long as I can remember. Music had a great pull on me from a young age, and I knew wanted to be involved somehow. I would rifle through my folks’ record (and then later CD) collection, eventually able to build my own. I remember watching episodes of Saved By the Bell and 90210 and being so amazed that their high schools had radio stations in them. I thought that was the coolest thing and I wanted to do that too! So my own first step into the music industry began at my college radio station. I started out as a volunteer and radio show host, then became news director and then the promotions director. My senior year, a group of us hosted an all ’80s radio show which eventually led to our first live gig as the weekly ’80s night DJs at a local club. I later moved to Portland and carried on working in radio and DJing, while also gaining experience in live concert promotion, music licensing, and now project management at Cascade Record Pressing!
What is a day in the life like?
Busy busy busy! I began working at Cascade in March of 2021, in the middle of the great vinyl boom or whatever we’ll look back and call it. I start the day out checking email and following up on the most urgent issues first, then digging into things that need more information or research. Throughout the day, I update project information into our database, work on the schedule and follow up with clients on the status of their orders. I check in with assembly and production and see how everything is moving along. We are still a very small team (less than 20 people!) so each of us wears many, many hats.
In your opinion what has been your favorite / the coolest thing you’ve worked on?
Before Cascade I was the volunteer director for PDX Pop Now!, an all-volunteer run, all ages nonprofit music festival that features local Portland music. It feels good to have been able to donate my time directly to the local music scene that has provided me with so much joy over the years!
At Cascade, there are so many awesome projects going on all the time! It is such a thrill to see a project finishing up from a local band I remember booking at PDX Pop Now!, or that I recognize from a concert I did marketing for when I worked in live concert promotion before COVID. I love being able to see the full circle from the live concert experience, to the merch table, to spinning the album at home.
What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?
Oh geez. Right now it’s the absolute worst telling people how backed up we are and how long it’s going to take to get their record, because it is a long time. We’re a small operation currently working to increase our capacity. We get closer every week, but these days it seems like challenges keep hitting us left and right. From shipping delays, to inventory and parts delays, to the general chaos of manufacturing during a pandemic, the hits don’t stop. It’s rough, but we continue to do our best to navigate all the challenges and get people their records as soon as possible.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?
Keep at it! Build on your skills, take classes, and put yourself out there. Form relationships with people instead of just randomly following pages on the internet. Talk about what you like, find people that like similar things and then create stuff together.
Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?
For sure! Heckin’ love it. I played my folks’ records growing up, and then in high school I started collecting my own records and never stopped! I’ve moved a lot over the years so I’ve tried to be selective, but since I started vinyl-only DJing in 2014, my collection has grown a ton!
What types of things are happening in your industry / with vinyl that you’re excited or worried about?
Pass. These days everything worries me! haha!
During this time we’re currently in, what message do you have for music and vinyl fans? How can we support you, the industry?
Hang in there babies! Keep in touch and check in with your friends in any area of the music industry, it’s tough all over. Support other womxn. You can’t pay rent with concert tickets or vinyl records, don’t stop talking about the music industry standard of low pay until wages are fair.
I also want to say I agree 100% with what Cait Ilchuk from Independent Record Pressing said in her recent interview: please, please be patient with vinyl manufacturers! The demand for vinyl is sky high, our capacity is maxed out and then some. We are making more records than we ever have, while also running into more challenges than we’ve ever seen. Everyone is working hard to get your project out into the world and there’s nothing we’d like more than to make that happen. But making vinyl records is not an instant process, it takes time and is complicated work.
What are you listening to?
I listen to a ton of synth-pop and new wave (both old and new), as well as post punk and dance music. Recently I’ve been digging into the catalogs of Gary Numan & Depeche Mode, and current bands Jungle, Actors and Cannons.
Cascade Record Pressing: @CascadeRecordPressing
Cascade Record Pressing: @cascadepressing