King Worldwide is a New Zealand record manufacturing plant run by Peter King. It specialises in
cutting polycarbonate records using a lathe technique that is different to the traditonal pressed vinyl records.. The operation began in the late 1980s in the town of Geraldine and as a result King's
records are sometimes referred to as "Geraldine pressings". Due to the unique production process
King worldwide specialises in small-run pressings in editions as low as 20.
Peter started his musical career as a drummer and worked for some time as a session drummer recording
jingles for Television New Zealand. While working there he noticed what he thought
at first to be a pair of old sewing machines in a back room. It turned out that these were retired lathe
machines, originally built by the BBC, that had once been used for studio recording. His interest
piqued he obtained these machines when the studio was in the process of being closed down in the
1980s. It was also at this time that Peter moved from the city to an isolated rural location in
the remote hinterland of the South Island.
Thus began an extensive period of tinkering and experimentation as Peter sought to get his
machines funtioning as well as they could. He replaced the motors and housing of the machines,
tailoring the lathes to his own purposes. The main concern however was in trialing a range of
materials in order to find that best suited to making a good record. Starting with nitrocellulose
lacquer sprayed on aluminum discs he moved through a variety of different plastics, including
Perspex, Plexiglas, and polypropylene. Initial concerns about fast wear and its resulting loss of
clarity were solved by both the discovery of a more durable material - a particular polycarbonate
plastic- and by changing the angle of the lathe’s cutting head. Research was also undertaken to
ascertain the optimum equalisation profile from the 2 track master outputs to the lathe heads
As of 2011 Peter remains the only person offering domestic record manufacturing in New Zealand.
( EMI famously dumped their vinyl press into the ocean in the 1980s so as to force the uptake
of the CD format.) The great advantage of lathe cuts, for international customers, lies in their
cost effectiveness for small runs (anything from 20 to 150 copies) when compared to pressed vinyl. In the 1980s
Peter was the only person in the world offering such a service and after cutting records for NZ
underground icons such as the Dead C and Alastair Galbraith his reputation went international. It
wasn't long before the sheer volume of work he had piling up in his shed neccesitated the building
of another 2 machines. Peter built these new machines from scratch, recycling electric motors and
machine parts from the likes of old washing machines.
A particularly large job around this time was an order for 1500 7"s for the Beastie Boys. Surprise
partial payment for this came in the form of a mustard yellow Ford Mustang that arrived at the
Port of Timaru addressed to P King.
Other well known artists who have used Peters services include Pavement, Lee Ranaldo, My Cat is an
Alien, Acid Mothers Temple, Birchville Cat Motel, The Reynols and The No Neck Blues Band.
Ever innovative Peter has also developed techniques for making picture disks and can also cut onto
different shaped records such as triangles, squares and hearts. He has cut very sweet playing
records onto copper disks and has even recently completed a job cutting onto CDs to make a disk
that can play in a CD player or a record player.
Heres a cheesy video clip made about Peter for New Zealand television:
And an epic 3 parter made by Australian miscreants Sun of the 7th Sister: