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Odd Jobs: Turning Your Ashes Into a Vinyl Record

Odd Jobs: Turning Your Ashes Into a Vinyl Record
Photograph by Rene Mansi/Vetta/Getty Images

Jason Leach is just 41 and in good health, but he’s already made arrangements for his cremains. Part of it has to do with his family history. “I’ve heard stories about my father trying to scatter his grandfather’s ashes from a boat,” Leach says. “It went terribly wrong, and they ended up sweeping him off the deck.” Things didn’t turn out much better at his own grandfather’s memorial service. “There was a strong breeze,” he remembers, grimacing. “And the ashes blew right into my face.” When his time comes, Leach, who lives in Scarborough, on the northeast coast of England, wants a more dignified ending. So he’s having his ashes pressed into a vinyl record.

It’s not the most conventional final resting place, but for Leach—a 20-year veteran of the U.K. music business, as a producer, performer, and co-founder of such independent labels as Subhead and House of Fix—it was the only logical choice. And he’s not alone. In 2009, Leach founded And Vinyly (rhymes with “And Finally”), an online service for people who, like him, want their earthly remains to live on as an analog recording. At first, the site was mostly ignored. “I didn’t expect much from it,” Leach says. “It was just for fun.” But word slowly began to spread, and over the past six months he’s been inundated with requests. He’s only processed four records so far—including one with the ashes of a DJ whose parents wanted their late son “to be played at his favorite clubs a few more times”—but Leach has had hundreds of inquiries. “I’m sometimes up 24 hours a day just answering calls,” he says.