Shot Balowski……Simon’s story of the 10″ Ltd. edition of the debut album.

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A while ago now Clunk reviewed the debut release from Shot Balowski. The exciting news is that the whole album is now available on a 10″ limited vinyl. Of course we could write all about it’s journey for you…..instead we have the tale straight from the horse’s mouth. Pull up a comfy seat, sit back and read the words from Simon of Shot Balowski. Then follow the links after.

When we were recording the album, Annan’s very own Malcolm McLaren, Chuck Abnormal (Matchbox Classics/Limps/Wanglers/Combo Zombo) got in touch to offer a release. Others did too after we teased a couple of early mixes to a few radio shows. We’d just been planning to self-release the album but since we’ve known Chuck for years, we went with him. 
We planned to put the album out on CD, and have a 7″ single of Destroy the Daily Mail, the track we did with Patrick Jones – Welsh poet/playwright [and brother of Nicky Wire from the Manic Street Preachers] who’s since released a brilliant album ‘Renegade Psalms’ with John Robb, and went top 10 with his amazing collaboration album with James Dean Bradfield, ‘Even in Exile’ this summer.
Chuck saw the bill for 100 vinyl singles and reasonably thought, ‘nope’. So we released the album CD and dropped the 7″ idea. It’s an expensive business, vinyl, and we didn’t have any money ourselves, so the idea was shelved. Looking back, we would’ve sold 100 absolutely no bother. Folks love their vinyl. 
We’d already mastered a couple of tracks for vinyl at La Chunky in Glasgow, when they mastered the album. Our cover of Redemption Song was set to be the lost single’s b-side. When we put the CD out, everyone asked if there was a vinyl issue, so we knew we’d kinda missed a trick there. 
Not that we came anywhere near breaking even on the album. The Carlisle indie scene was nice and supportive though. Mike Roper got us gigs at The Source and Warwick Bazaar, and Nick Yule from The Brickyard asked us to play Kendal Calling. 
Fast forward a year and we’re all stuck in lockdown. We put out a couple of digital EPs we’d recorded remotely. The second one, the Eton’s Burning EP, we thought we’d look into 7″ vinyl, so I spent a day or two looking for the best prices, cos we still had album sales money sitting about doing nothing. 
I found a load of places, like Birdshit Records (Birds-Hit) who are dedicated to short run vinyl. Singles were so pricey, we started thinking about albums instead. We’re lucky we do short songs – our album’s 12 tracks total about 28 minutes – so we saved a bit of money as it fits on 10″ vinyl at 33-rpm. Never mind the ballads… 
10″s are cool and different. I’ve got a few – The Slits, OFF!, the Manics… Black Market Clash is a great 10″ compilation, iconic like. So we’re in good company. 
We couldn’t just split the tracks down the middle either – we had to even it out by rejigging the track listing so it’s around 14 minutes per side. Fourth track on the original album Muhammad Ali is on side two of the LP. 
And that track is a slightly different mix to the CD/digital version. We had two mixes, and this one suits the vinyl edition better. And the less punky songs – acoustic Kitchen Sink and post-punk You Love Yourself – sound amazing on vinyl, as does the eight-line poem on side two, In the Suicide Forest. 
We had to re-sort the artwork for the vinyl too. The CD is a digipak – not square. There’s slight design differences, and credits and legal bumf are on the back cover now cos the insert is full of lyrics. 
And we nicked a quote by Cleator Moor artist Conrad Atkinson on the back which isn’t on the CD – “We may as artists be the scar tissue of Western civilisation but it’s better than being the camouflage,” from his book The State of the Art and the Art of the State. 
But it’s still expensive to get vinyl pressed – or lathe-cut, as our 10″ is. To keep prices more realistic for buyers, band members bought our own copies at the same cost as anyone else, as did Chuck. 
They’re available at cost price for everyone – we break even, there’s no profit and no loss. Pre-orders at £20 delivered or £16 for collection. After PayPal fees, there was only about 40p spare per copy floating about, and that paid for lyric inserts, art prints and photos which you get inside the record. 
The short run vinyl we ordered only comes in batches of 21, and we sold two batches in a couple of days. We didn’t think we’d fill another order, so we closed the sale at 42 copies, which was a bit soon. 
The first sale didn’t even take in a weekend, they were only available online midweek and a few folk said they’d missed out, so we waited till the first orders were back, checked they were ok, then announced another pre-order sale. 
These are on sale now on our website and our bandcamp page, and this will be the final run of this 10″. Right now there are only eleven copies left to pre-order. We’re not lying when we say it’s limited edition. That’s just 63 copies, and the final 21 of the run haven’t been made yet. (Make that ten copies left – just sold another.) 
We might make something slightly different on the artwork for this run when we order them, or we could mess with the track order again, or do a different art print or quote. Who knows, this edition might end up more sought after than the first run. 
If you want a copy of the 10″ vinyl from the final run, pre-order now. CDs are available too, but we’re well into the final box.

Pre-order copies here:

The original Shot Balowski Clunk review and interview here

And some pretty pictures……

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