The Cassette Keeper

Randall Taylor (BA ’07). Photo: Jacqueline Turner.

Why cassettes are the foundation of Randall Taylor’s record label.

Raising a dead format

In the era of cloud-based, streaming audio services, music today can feel a bit, well, intangible. Randall Taylor (BA ’07) is doing his part to counter that trend.

Taylor is founder of Graveyard Orbit, a small, indie record label in Austin, Texas, that specializes in cassette tapes. A Web designer for a textbook company by day, Taylor runs the label from home in his off-hours, doing everything from transferring audio to cassettes to packing orders with stickers and thank-you notes.

A lifelong music fan, Taylor played guitar and synths in Buffalo-based bands after earning a UB degree in media studies. He moved  to Austin for work in 2011 and began looking for an affordable way to release music for his new act, Geodesics. He eventually met Chris Gelpi of Ritual Tapes, which operated on a shoestring budget with micro-runs of hand-recorded cassettes. After Gelpi helped him put out his Geodesics album on tape, Taylor realized he could run such a label himself—and Graveyard Orbit was born. Since 2013, it has released 26 LPs, EPs and compilations.

“It started out when I was just a kid, thinking, ‘I love Drive-Thru Records, I love Vagrant, I love Suicide Squeeze,’” Taylor recalls. “I loved all these small, indie labels, and I was like, ‘Man, one day I’m going to start a record label.’ And now I’m here, and it’s all because of tapes.”

Excerpted from At Buffalo magazine. Read the full article.