"Aquabear Legion Volume 5," a double-vinyl LP, will be available this weekend during the Aquabear County Fair in Athens. (Artwork by Emily Beveridge)
“Aquabear Legion Volume 5,” a double-vinyl LP, will be available this weekend during the Aquabear County Fair in Athens. (Artwork by Emily Beveridge)

On the Record: Aquabear’s Koscho Talks County Fair, Double LP

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When a northeast Ohio native wanted Cleveland and Athens music to meet, he didn’t necessarily expect it to snowball to this point: multiple compilations, dozens of special events and concerts, an annual music festival and most recently, a double-LP, made up of 24 songs by 24 Ohio bands.

Brian Koscho co-founded Aquabear Legion in Athens with his friend Todd Jacops, both from Lorain, Ohio, in 2004. Since then, Aquabear has worked with more than 150 bands and dozens of artists and filmmakers from all over Ohio. They aim to provide a creative network for artists statewide.

Although Aquabear Legion Volume 5, which debuted in August, is the organization’s 11th music release, it’s the first-ever Aquabear vinyl LP, and a double LP at that. The compilation features artists from all over Ohio — Athens, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and more — and artwork by two respected Athens artists: Emily Beveridge and Charlie Touvell.

Some bands had specific songs they had in mind for the record, but others allowed Koscho and Jacops to have a say in the selection. Koscho said there’s “no real theme” to the compilation, just “great Ohio music that’s happening right now.”

The entire process took approximately nine months to a year to complete. Although Aquabear Legion is based in Athens, and a number of Athens bands appear on the album, the production was a statewide endeavor. The LP was mastered at Peachfork Studios in Meigs County, pressed at Musicol Recording Company in Columbus, and the packaging and download codes were done with Gotta Groove Records in Cleveland.

Koscho, 32, grew up listening to punk rock in high school. Despite growing up in the age of CDs, he bought vinyl records, and continues to purchase them today. Even in the digital age, vinyl record sales are thriving, according to Koscho.

“(It’s) like people that want to read books in their hand and not on Kindles. It’s cool to see new generations and people rediscover vinyl. …Vinyl sounds so much better than an mp3,” he said, clarifying that he loves digital music, too, and plays Spotify at work.

Instead of organizing a separate release show for the record, Koscho and Jacops decided to combine it with the 9th annual Aquabear County Fair, taking place Oct. 22-25. The multi-venue music festival will feature several bands from the album.

Aquabear Legion Volume 5 will be available at all of the shows, and can be ordered from Aquabear Legion’s website, as well as from Haffa’s Records on West Union Street. It’s also available in various record stores throughout Ohio.

2015 AQUABEAR COUNTY FAIR SCHEDULE (subject to change)

Thursday, Oct. 22, 8 p.m., Kickoff House Show (donations accepted, email for details)

Bad Luck, Marina Pererson, SacLunch

Friday, Oct. 23, Jackie O’s Public House, $5 

10 p.m. Slackluster

11 p.m. Palestras

12 a.m. The Kyle Sowashes

1 a.m. We March

Saturday, Oct. 24, Casa Cantina, free

10:30 p.m. Water Witches

11:15 p.m. Supernobody

12 a.m. The Bygones

1 a.m. Blam Blams

Saturday, Oct. 24th, Haffa’s Records, $7 suggested donation

Tim Feeney, Pete Fosco, Weedghost, Nobrow.collective

Sunday, Oct. 25 at Aquabear-B-Q House Show (donations accepted, email for details)

4 p.m. Sardukar

5 p.m. Dead Winds of Summer

5:15 p.m. Unmonumental

6 p.m. Dead Hand of Man