Made In Chicago: Smashed Plastic Record Pressing


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Inside the former Hammond Organ Factory on Chicago's North Side is the city's first vinyl pressing plant in decades.

Open the sliding door and you'll hear the sounds of music in the making, literally.

The brainchild of Andy Weber, John Lombardo and Steve Polutnik, Smashed Plastic was born from Weber’s experience in the independent music industry.

"Three years ago, we were joking around about starting a record label, and I said, ‘No, let's figure out how to press records because physical media is back.’ At first, I had no idea what I was doing."

The heart of the operation is the first steamless press in the world. It can turn a handful of PVC pellets into an LP in 30 seconds.

"Bands will come out of a studio with their audio file. They go to an audio master. The grooves are cut and a music negative is created."

The 3,000-square-foot space is more than just for manufacturing. It also has a bar, a listening room and space for live music. It's a space Weber hopes will be a kind of farm-to-table concept.

"The independent scene that we want to cater to has been making records for the last 20 years and they will hopefully continue for the next 20 years. We just want to make it easier for them."

In the end, he said the company wants to give small labels an easier, quicker and more hands-on local option for getting their music onto vinyl.

"The machine has been running off and on since October. This was kind of our soft opening. We're excited to be officially up and running,” he said.

There are only about 24 pressing plants nationwide, including two in Detroit and one in Cleveland.