For Less Than Jake co-founder/drummer and co-founder of Fueled By Ramen Records (FBR), being an entrepreneur is just another facet of the constantly evolving Vinnie Fiorello. Getting ready to launch his new adventure, the indie label with an artistically-imagined direction called appropriately Paper and Plastick. Coupling the album releases with limited edition artwork (and, if applicable, plastic toys) designed specifically with the album artwork as inspiration, Vinnie will be issuing the releases as digital downloads and 12" vinyl albums.
"Paper and plastic are the source materials of my releases," Vinnie explained from the Chicago studio where Less Than Jake are recording their next album (due out in June 2008). "If you think about it, prints and books are the paper side, while vinyl records and toys are the plastic side. It's a simple and to-the-point concept."
What sets Paper and Plastick apart is Vinnie's marrying of art and music, something that has been missing from modern music with the demise of vinyl records and collectibles and the advent of digital downloads and miniaturized artwork, i.e. cassettes and CDs.
"First and foremost, the world has enough labels signing pop bands," he says. "Paper and Plastick doesn't need to since it will focus on the visual side of music - collector vinyl, vinyl toys, limited edition art prints, books, and most importantly, bands I love and respect. When a label is small, it can focus on projects and not have to mobilize a dozen or so people."
And obvious reference to FBR, the label he co-founded whose roster boasted such bands as Panic! at the Disco, Yellowcard, Jimmy Eat World and current media darlings Paramore. No longer part of the label since its move under Warner Brothers' corporate unbrella, his impetus to return to his original mission of releasing music that moved him instead of finding "hits" prompted him to create Paper and Plastick.
"I love music," he explains. "There are so bands that I run into nowadays that seem to be in this vaccuum of modern music, far away from Teen Pop and Nu Metal, not wanting to sign to a major and tired of self-releasing. It's those bands, from old friends and new friends, whose music I want to release."
Launching on May 13, 2008, Paper and Plastick boasts three new releases: Richmond, VA's Landmines self-titled debut, former Anathallo frontman Andrew Dost's concept album Columbus, and The Explosion's final recording Bury Me Standing .
"If a band moves me, makes me sing along or gets stuck in my head, that's the band I'd want to sign," he says. "Andrew [Dost] has been my friend since I was trying to sign his old band Anathallo to FBR. His is true do-it-yourself music. He recorded himself in closets, bathrooms and churches (Columbus also boasts seminal guest musicians such as Colour Revolt's Jesse Coppenbarger, The Format's Nate Ruess, and former Anathallo bandmate Joel Thiele). After catching Landmine's performance at a festival in Gainesville, I knew I wanted to release their first album. Melodic hardcore and punk have always been my first love and when I first heard their recorded songs, I was convinced."
Regarding The Explosion's final record, Vinnie heard the album while on a visit to the band's former label, Virgin Records. Falling in love with the record and sneaking out a copy from the offices, he listened to it profusely until the band broke up.
"I have always been a super fan of the band, loving the songs, loving the art that goes along with it," he adds. "I had the chance to release it after it stalled on their old label and I can't think of a better band that not only produced great songs but has the art aesthetic to match Paper and Plastick."
Currently holed up in Chicago, recording the new Less Than Jake record for release on June 24, 2008, Vinnie puts the current music industry into perspective with just two elliptical sentences, "Music is dead. Long live music."
He explains, "While some people have been busy putting the Music Business into the ground and pulling the sheet over its head and forecasting Doomsday, there is a vibrant underground music scene going. It's familiar to a lot of people and not bound by spins on pop radio or bloated budgets. As pop music limps toward the finish line, music still goes on... still the soundtrack to daily life, still the backdrop to cities dotted across the world... Passion about Music never ends."