Ray Keith, Moondance and Dj Force & Evolution Box Set Updates. VERY IMPORTANT.
Okay, so if you are reading this you have either been directed here via an email or you are one of the many dedicated Kniteforce supporters. Either way, I apologise for linking you here, but this information is very important and it saves me replying to the same questions repeatedly. And these questions are:
1. Where is my Ray Keith Box Set?
2. Where is my Dj Force & The Evolution Box Set?
3. Where is my Moondance Box Set?
All three questions need a good answer, so let me answer as best I can. For quicker answers please scroll down to the bottom of this page! Otherwise, let me explain....
Firstly, and most importantly, your box set is coming, I promise you. I am on the case daily with all three of the above.
Here is the basic overview of what has happened, followed by a little speculation:
In 2021, we had the Covid situation, and at the same time, a worldwide heavy increase in vinyl demand. There simply weren't enough pressing plants in the world to cope with either issue, let alone both issues at once. The result was that all pressing plants, big or small, were overwhelmed with orders, and at the same time, had difficulty with staffing due to lockdowns and other restrictions.
On top of that, like the turd icing on the poop cake, came Brexit, which harmed international trade between the UK (where I am based) and Europe including France (where my pressing plant, MPO, is based).
The result was massive delays in 2021, which effected vinyl pressing worldwide, and is still effecting them to some degree today. But by and large, most of these issues were sorted by early 2022, and we were left dealing with problems that rolled over from those previous difficulties. Vinyl production in general remains delayed, taking 8-10 months instead of 4 months, but a slow recovery started to occur and in many cases we are back to normal even if the new normal is slower than the old normal.
For Kniteforce, while many plans were disrupted, "KF159 - Ray Keith - The Golden Years" was particularly affected by the issues. It went up for presale in 2021, just before the problems hit, and when I was expecting a delivery within 6-8 weeks. That delivery kept getting pushed back. At first by weeks, and then by months, as the situation got worse and worse. No one could have predicted it, but the timing on the presale of that release was simply the worst possible. Obviously, had I known then what I know now, I would never have put it up for presale at all. But I didn't and couldn't have known. Previous to that, presales had been a great idea that worked well.
Kniteforce, until very recently, pressed all its releases via MPO, a plant based in France and one of the oldest and most respected pressing plants in the world. Our relationship with MPO was solid, and they had always been reliable and helpful for the many years we had used them before 2021.
When things started to go wrong in 2021 due to situations no one could control, there was nothing we could do but wait it out. What initially seemed like it might pass fairly quickly soon dragged out into the long issue that Covid 19 was. We wont cover that ground again, but suffice to say, ALL our releases were eventually relegated to "early 2022" and there was nothing we could do but hold tight. It was very frustrating.
In January 2022, I was told by MPO that we would be getting a huge delivery in April. They sent me a schedule which included over 35 releases, and within those 35 releases was KF159 Ray Keith, KF186-190 Dj Force & The Evolution and KF230 Moondance Box Set. Also included was the Daddy Armshouse Box Set and many, many singles.
As pallets and pallets started to arrive on a daily basis, and as we had both a schedule in hand and MPO seemed to be actually delivering, I was very relieved! But I was faced with a brand new problem - after nearly 10 months of practically NO records arriving, we suddenly had way too many at once, and I needed to space out the releases as best I could. I took a chance and put up the Dj Force & The Evolution Box Set. I had already recieved the 6th bonus record for that set, and records kept pouring in, and finally all seemed well.
But. the deliveries trailed off, and...
KF159 - Ray Keith box set did not arrive.
KF186-190 Dj Force & The Evolution Box Set did not arrive.
KF230 - Moondance Box Set did not arrive.
Nor did the Dj Solo releases, or the Acen Bonus Dubplate EP, or a few other important releases. And MPO lapsed into silence. We have recieved sporadic deliveries since then - we got, for example, the I/J sides of KF159 - Ray Keith. So...one record of the 5 in the set. That was weird. And nothing else.
This brings us to present day. Despite relentless hassling since early 2022, MPO have become more and more reluctant to tell us anything, to the point where often we are just ignored. Through all of 2021, we looked for a new pressing plant, and when a new on opened in the UK in January of 2022, we started putting all new cuts and releases there. The quality is higher, and the communication is better, and the turnaround is 4 months, so it is better all around. But it doesnt change the fact that we have a huge number of releases at MPO still waiting to arrive. In an effort to speed things up, we have been moving metalwork from MPO to the new plant. But that is a difficult task at the best of times with a helpful pressing plant, and this is not the best of times, and MPO are not being helpful.
MPO tells us they have pressed 500,000 records recently, but they havent shipped anything. Which makes no sense. It is speculation only, but as they arent shipping to ANYONE, with 100s of clients in the same situation, we think they have somehow lost their entire production and pressing schedule. We were told they were putting a new computer system in place in April, and after that, everything went quiet. It is no consolation, but it is not only Kniteforce that has been effected - it seems MPO are not shipping to anyone at this time. So something has clearly gone fundamentally wrong.
A few weeks ago I finally lost my temper with MPO and told them I would not pay any bills until records started to arrive, especially KF159 - Ray Kieth, which is now 15 months overdue. Thats absurd, no one should wait that long, even with current issues.
All of this brings us to where we are now, so let me update you for each of the three projects mentioned and what I am doing about them:
KF159 - Ray Keith - The Golden Years
After much anger, MPO have now promised they will be here in September. This would be more hopeful if they hadnt promised numerous times before, but I do think this time it will actually show up. I don't like to make threats, but when I do, I hold to them. And this seems to have finally had an effect at least.
As an apology for all of you who have pre ordered and waited for so long, I am adding a free gift to every pre order of this release. Also, months after cutting KF159, Ray found a DAT of an original old skool remix of The Terrorist by Lemon D. We have cut that at the new plant and we are expecting it in early October. I will be offering a large discount on this vinyl to those customers delayed on the Ray Keith Box Set.
KF186-190 - Dj Force & The Evolution Box Set
We are still fighting for information on this. While it is late, it is nowhere near as late as the Ray Keith box set, so I am focussing on Rays box set first. Also, it is likely it is part of the 500,000 MPO have pressed and simply not shipped. I have hopes that this will arrive soon, but as soon as I have more information, I will email you directly. While nowhere near as ridiculously late as the Ray Keith box set, this delay is unacceptable, and I will make it up to you one way or another.
Should we find out it is NOT pressed, or scheduled to be pressed very soon but with no actual date, I will have to decide if I should move it to the new plant or not. The new plant is bending over backwards to help and has put on an extra shift to press things, but it would still take time to move the parts, and then time to press it. Maybe 6-8 weeks in all. So I have to find out what info I can, and then decide what to do. It might not be worth moving it, you see?
KF230 - The Moondance Box Set
This is the same situation as above. We suspect it has been pressed, but we do not know. And like with the Dj Force & The Evolution Box Set, I will find a way to add to this set to make it up to you. And, of course, as soon as I do have information, I will let you know.
And thats about all I can say, other than to add that I suspect the Dj Solo EPs and the Acen Dubplate Mixes of Trip To The Moon are also in the same position as the Moondance and Force & Evolution Box Sets - pressed, and sitting at MPO while they sort their shit out. Likely the Nookie Box Set and others share the same fate. But I simply do not know as getting information out of MPO has become nearly impossible. We find out what they have done once it has been sent to us. It is idiotic, but it leaves us very little we can do except stop using MPO, and even that is difficult when they have so much of our metalwork!
A huge thank you for all your patience throughout this incredibly difficult mess. I will, as ever, keep you up to date and let you know as soon as anything happens. I do actually have a proper schedule for the new releases from the new plant, which does seem to be on time. I also have a list of long delayed releases that we HAVE moved to the new plant from MPO, which should also be coming soon. But that is for another blog I will put up next week. For now, I hope this blog explains things as clearly as possible, and I will continue to do all i can to get these records to you.