For anyone who loves music, the way they listen to their favorite songs is paramount. Whether your prefered method is Vinyl, CD, iPod or any of the big streaming services, one key component for many are the headphones that they listen through.
When I first saw these beautiful pieces of auditory artwork, I just knew that I had to learn more! So, today I am chatting with Seth Fontaine from Urban Vinyl, their wooden headphones are beautiful, I wanted to find out everything I could about them…
Can you tell me about Urban Vinyl’s beginnings, how the company was formed?
Urban Vinyl started with my business partner, Christian. He, like myself, loves music and the old vintage feel/sound of vinyl records. So he started Urban Vinyl as a record cleaning solution. Meanwhile, I had my own marketing company going for me. When Christian and I met we both hit it off because we both were entrepreneurs and had the same goals/visions.
Even though we have only been officially operating for 3 months now, we are moving with a lot of momentum and we are planning on continuing this momentum. Our team is still rather small and includes about 10 people including Christian and myself. But we are growing very fast and that number may double to triple within the next few months.
Your new wood headphones look so good, both on ear and just hanging round one’s neck, can you describe how the design for them came about?
One day Christian was telling me how he used to work for a headphone company, and how he knew all the ins and out of it. He was also telling me how he wanted to take Urban Vinyl to the next step. So I mentioned to him, why don’t we combine your headphone idea with Urban Vinyl? It is still music related, the logo is rad, and the name is great! Once we agreed on that, we immediately went into the development of the headphones.
Christian was also a music producer for 10 years while he was in high school and college. So he knew what kind of sound he wanted for the headphones. He wanted a clear and crisp sound that is even from the low ends to the high ends.
Rather than most standard headphones that are very bass heavy and distort the authentic sound of the music. I wanted to do something different than all the other headphones, so I designed them. That is where the retro shape of the headphones came from. I also wanted to do wood headphones because at the time I didn’t know of any other headphones that were wood. Comfort is another big thing for me, so I added memory foam padding for the ears and for the headband. I also wanted to make sure they didn’t squeeze my head too tight.
What kind of wood do you use to make the headphones?
For the wood, we use Sapele wood. It is in the same family as mahogany. It is the same wood that is used in most musical instruments such as guitars, drums, pianos, and etcetera. The wood gives it an almost acoustic sound as well as keeping the sound very crisp and pure. We have been experimenting with different woods, but different woods produce different sounds. But since we do use real wood, no two headphones are exactly alike. They all have different grains of wood, making the design of wood different between all the headphones. (See pictures)
We must have gone through 4 or 5 (pathetic) prototypes before we were finally happy with it. We sent the schematics over to our manufacturer to start producing them. Christian asked the manufacturer for even better drivers than were originally used. So now the headphones are officially studio quality headphones and have been used for both recording and producing music.
Tell me about other products you have in development?
We officially launched on January 15th. Since then we have been doing better than expected. We have already started production of wooden earbuds. Those will hopefully be on the shelves by the end of the year. We hope to have over the ear headphones (both with a cord and Bluetooth), earbuds, and a variety of Bluetooth speaks in different sizes. All these products will eventually come in different types of wood as well as different colors for the padding.
Have you had any endorsements from anyone in entertainment business yet?
Christian and I have the privilege of living in LA. Because of this, we have made an incredible amount of connections. Our headphones are in 3 different music videos with another 2 more on the way. We will be in one of M. Maggie’s music videos. Her song TRNDSTTR was in 2015’s top 10 songs.
https://soundcloud.com/blackcoast/trndsttr (one million plays one original version)
https://soundcloud.com/lucianofficial/black-coast-trndsttr-lucian-remix (19 million plays on this remix)
We are also in one Eunice’s music videos for her new album. Her song Prove you wrong was the number 3 song in China.
The last music video we are in is for a group called the.wav. They have been compared to The Black Eyed Peas. We will be featured in one of their songs for their upcoming album as well.
The last two artists who would like to have us featured in their music videos are MRKTS and Paul Michael. MRKTS just released their album Last Call in January and it is now number 1 on various radio stations. Their song Lay Me Back Down already has over 50,000 plays on Spotify. That will be the song that we will be featured in.
Paul Michael released his album Addict in November and it was in iTunes top 40 for that month.
I had the pleasure of meeting Christopher Sean from Hawaii 5-0 and Days of Our Lives who now endorses our headphones. (See photo left)
We are sold in a variety of record and music stores around the US as well as Amoeba Records in Hollywood.
We will be featured in Dub Magazine for a full year. They are also allowing us to be featured at their music festival later this month.
We have a contact who is sponsored by Hot Wheels. He is allowing us to put our logo on his car so that when How Wheels makes the model of his car, our logo will be on the model that will be sold.
I have been talking to some writers from Hollywood. One is writing the script for Wonder Woman. They are going through the process of getting their TV shows published by companies such as Netflix and Lionsgate. They said they would like our headphones to be in their shows.
There are many other miscellaneous sponsorships and partnerships that we have, but I’ll leave it at that.
The last thing I would like to touch on is one of the most important things for our company. We are talking to a few different charity organizations. Once we find one that we think would be a good fit with us, we will be donating part of our profits to that charity organization. This is part of the reason our headphones are on the pricey side so that we can donation a significant amount to this organization. They are all cancer organizations, but the one that we are leaning towards is one that helps cancer kids heal through music. Cancer hits close to home for both of us and healing through music fits the theme of our company.
Thank you very much Seth, for providing us with so much information about your company and the gorgeous headphones, I’m sure that you will continue to have great success.