Author Archives: Special to TVD

Kylie Odetta,
The TVD First Date

“I had always been fascinated with record players and how they seemed to capture a period in time and take you there.”

“I saw them in movies and music videos, I saw records in music stores, specifically a local store called Earshot that closed about a year ago, or in Urban Outfitters. But the first time I ever actually picked up a record and held it in my hand was when my family and I were cleaning out my grandpa’s trailer after he passed away when I was 13.

He had a massive box full of records in mostly perfect condition that we found. I asked to keep them even though I had no way of playing them because I didn’t own a record player at the time. My parents let me take them home and I hung a few on my walls but the rest went into a coat closet and over the years I almost forgot about them.

I saw that record players were making a comeback in the music scene as I got older but I still didn’t make that jump into buying one. I would sit in a hot bath, reading a book, listening to “In A Sentimental Mood” by Duke Ellington through my little bluetooth speaker and imagine I was back in the 1920s with a record spinning and crackling somewhere in the corner.

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Talay,
The TVD First Date

“I was a child of the CD era so it wasn’t until college that I started appreciating vinyl records.”

“Growing up, I would walk around with a SONY DiscMan and an over-the-shoulder CD case full of late ’90s and early 2000s pop album—P!nk, Destiny’s Child, N’SYNC, Now That’s What I Call Music compilations. Aside from the occasional spooky night at my neighbor’s house, spinning her older sister’s Led Zeppelin albums backwards to listen for subliminal messages, records were not much a part of my childhood.

When I was in college though, I had a few friends who were into vinyl and one of my best friends had a record player at her apartment off-campus. I remember going over there and putting on some Dawes records—one of our mutual favorite bands—and just having a totally different listening experience than I’d ever had before. We weren’t checking our phones, weren’t checking Facebook.

We pretty much had a few hangs with the sole intention of tuning out from everything that was going on at school and in our lives, and the slowed-down pace of vinyl listening was really conducive to that. No track skipping, no fast-forwarding. It was the very opposite of another common college experience of the ‘pregame’ before going out to party—wherein a bunch of drunk kids would bounce back and forth to the laptop or iPhone switching to a different dance song every half a minute.

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Lindsey Luff,
The TVD First Date

“Music has and always will be an escape for me. Even when I’m singing or writing about the hard things, it still allows me to let go.”

“Growing up I would listen to whatever my mom had on the turntable. Music was the one ‘normal’ thing in our home and both she and I clung to the joy that listening brought us (even though I was too young to know it). Singing to each other Four Jacks and A Jill’s “I Looked Back,” dancing around the kitchen listening to Sgt. Pepper’s, or playing the most rad game of peek a boo to Tommy James and the Shondells “I Think We’re Alone Now.”

Those were the brief moments of escape from an otherwise chaotic life. I used to play, ad nauseam, my 45 of the Mickey Mouse Club theme song (with great pride I might add) on my vintage orange and white Fisher Price record player that my mom got me at a yard sale. Also in my collection, at the ripe ole age of 3 or 4, was a 45 of Peter Paul and Mary’s “Puff the Magic Dragon” and Burl Ives’ “Big Rock Candy Mountain.”

As I got older and the market moved away from vinyl, I followed suit (not that I had much of a choice) on to cassettes and CDs. The first CD I purchased was NSYNC’s “No Strings Attached.” Yes, I had a poster of the band on the ceiling above my bed because that was a thing, but also because I shared a room with my mom and my two brothers and that was my space. When I was younger I never really cared what medium I used to listen to music. As long as I could access it, all was right with the world.

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Husky,
The TVD First Date

“There was a rumour going around in high school that if you played Dark Side of the Moon in time with The Wizard of Oz it would sync up and all these great things would happen in time with the film.”

“For years I’d rush home from school, throw down my annoyingly heavy bag, and head straight for the family record player. My folks had this great Sony hi-fi system from the ’70s that’s still around today. At that time, I was obsessed with Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd and my piano teacher had shown me the chords to all of the songs on Side A. I’d put the headphones over my ears, turn on the amplifier, and place the needle onto the turntable for that first ‘pop’ as it made contact with the vinyl, followed by that warm crackle and hum that every record enthusiast loves.

I’d wait like that for the first psychedelic groove to drop a minute or so into the album and that was it. I was gone. Floating somewhere far away, no longer in the family lounge room. When you’re a teenager, being able to disappear, even for just a few moments, is the greatest thing in the world.

I’d drag the speakers from the lounge room to where the TV was, get the VHS ready with The Wizard of Oz, wait for the Lion’s third roar (that was apparently how you made the sync work) and drop the needle onto the vinyl. Still to this day I have no idea whether it was real or imagined, whether Pink Floyd even knew anything about it, but man it was wild. Especially when you flipped the record and ‘Money’ kicked in and the film turned to colour.

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Roselit Bone,
The TVD First Date

“I spent a lot of time on the city bus throughout high school, so most of my music listening was done with a Walkman until after I graduated. From the day I first got a turntable, possibly because I’ve never had much money, I’ve always been fascinated with bargain bins and thrift store finds. Possibly due to being poor, I almost never buy records new unless I buy them at a show or from a band I know. I will go to the thrift store and buy records based on the cover and usually most will be keepers. One of my first and all time favorites was a tattered 4-disc set of “folk songs” with a nondescript black cover which I’ve since lost. Three of the discs were bland, throwaway ’60s folk, but the fourth was a mix of Odetta’s best songs.”

“I had never heard Odetta before buying this and was instantly blown away. Her recordings of “Santy Anno,” “Ox-Driver,” and “All the Pretty Horses” introduced me to what I now consider “western” music, which was totally different from the blues or classic country that I was exploring at the time. These songs were earnest, desolate, and quietly violent.

“All the Pretty Horses” was the first folk song I heard that depicted death without humor, family or God nearby to soothe or give meaning to the pain. For me that song was on par with the Gun Club or Joy Division in its mystery and genuine bleakness. The fact that this was one of my first records, packaged so mysteriously, made it feel like I was listening to a ghost.

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Jane Weaver,
The TVD First Date

“The first records I heard were mainly from my mother’s collection. She had a lot of Elvis 7” records—sometimes my brother and I would play them before we got the school bus. My parents didn’t own many albums on vinyl, so I grew up thinking it was definitely a luxury item, especially as my Dad’s friends at work would tape albums they’d bought, so we ended up with a huge library labelled C60s. We also had these huge Sinclair speakers in the lounge that hung on the wall like huge coffins. In the 1970s my first real/uncopied tape was Kate Bush’s The Kick Inside. I was 6 and the record was like a life changing epiphany to me—there and then I wanted to be like Kate Bush. I set my heart on the quest!”

“The 1970s were amazing for these first awakenings of music. I would sometimes go to a friend’s house across the road. She had 2 older brothers who had long hair and wore denim and they were into rock music. My friend and I would go through all their vinyl—I was so enamoured by some of the sleeve artwork at the time. I distinctly remember being wowed by Black Sabbath, ELO, and Pink Floyd records. I would look at them for hours.

I never visited a proper record shop until I was a teenager, mainly because you could buy music at the local WHSmith stationers or even Asda the supermarket. We’d go every Thursday evening after school and my brother and I would hang around the record counter. I bought a mixture of synth pop (as it’s now become known) and heavy metal 7-inch records at the time, probably because music programmes on TV were much more free-spirited then and popular music could mean anything, any genre, it didn’t matter.

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Les Biches,
The TVD First Date

“Despite being in the prime of their youth during the 1960s, and against all odds, my parents did not own a single record that anyone with mildly discerning taste in popular music at the time might have considered cool—save for perhaps Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water. Though to be fair, someone undoubtedly must have given it to them as a gift, or more likely left it by accident. To this day if the title track from said album comes on the radio my father mistakes it for Bette Midler’s “The Wind Beneath My Wings.” The point is, while I’d like to at least believe I have good taste now, we’re certainly not all born with it.”

“Don’t get me wrong, we had plenty of records neatly alphabetized in the old console, a handsome rectangular wooden box, replete with built-in radio to the left, and a bulky metal turntable on the right. But we’re talking Lawrence Welk, Perry Como, An Andy Williams Christmas, lots of musicals and soundtracks, and one particularly square gospel record autographed by a friend of my mother named Dottie.

There were a few other odds and ends, but it all added up to a perfect storm of sinister musical fuckery! This may all sound rather judgmental in 2017, but the truth is, I actually adored and devoured these records. I must have listened to How The West Was Won a hundred times over. And to this day, John Denver is most certainly not a “guilty pleasure.” Still, not to own the most obvious Stones or Beatles album at the time seemed a deliberate act.

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Jena Irene Asciutto,
The TVD First Date

“My relationship with music has gone back ever since I can remember, sitting in the back of my mom’s car in my car seat. We blasted so many genres of music, but I particularly recognize the lyrics of “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia. That was my ultimate jam for a good 2 years because I knew all the lyrics at 18 months old before I discovered another classic favorite. Though my mom and dad were into music while I was growing up, they never pushed it on me—I just took a liking to it, which then turned into loving and then needing.”

“My honest first introduction to vinyl was about 2 years ago, when my grandfather decided to show me his enormous storage of vinyl collecting dust in my grandparents’ basement (or I like to call it—his man cave). He too was in love with music as much as I am, and I’m forever grateful for that connection.

We went through his collection one by one, each of which had a significant story to go along with the tune. As I watched and listened to him relive his memories, I realized that vinyl will always be the most organic experience you can have with music.

Going through those records that afternoon was one of my fondest and favorite memories of my gramps before he passed a few months later. His collection was then given to me to expand on and to fill it with as much love and memories as possible.

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Foreign Air,
The TVD First Date

“When I was growing up, vinyl was the biggest window into an artist’s world.”

“The internet was nothing like today. If you were lucky enough to have a home computer you were most likely playing Pac Man loaded from a floppy disk. The dial-up connection with a 56k modem was terribly slow. Cassettes were shared amongst friends and lovers as a means of discovery. Walkmans were used to listen to music while skateboarding or riding bikes, but if you were really into something you would get the vinyl and lock yourself in your room.

The artwork was important. Sometimes you’d buy a record just because the art looked amazing. If there was a fold out poster with lyrics on one side then you were stoked. You’d read every word and all the liner notes. You’d eat it up until it’d became a part of you. Whatever happened to you that day at school, you’d take the experiences home and make sense of them in your room with your records. As I write this, I’m listening to all the records I loved when I was in middle school and high school. The sound brings back so many rushes of memory and emotion. It’s a truly unique and fascinating phenomenon.

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Carrie Lane,
The TVD First Date

“Music has always been playing in my head. I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t a song playing in between my ears.”

“When I was four I was in my first show. I remember asking… begging… pretty much demanding that I take some acting classes. I went up to my parents and told them that I wanted to sing. I was in my first show and I remember being on stage and thinking, wow here I am… I’m home. Everyone always asked me if I got nervous and I always looked at them funny because I thought that was a silly question. That was like asking someone if they’re nervous when they’re in their living room watching TV… are you nervous in your safe space? What an unusual question I thought.

From that day on I was always on the stage, always performing, always memorizing lines, always learning new songs. I was always in a production from the age of 4 to the age of 18 because that’s where I wanted to be. I would walk around singing and perform shows for my parents in the kitchen. I watched endless musicals and learned every bit of music that I could. I remember when I had my Discman, the first CD that I got was Avril Lavigne’s Let Go. I was 8 years old and had just been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I was in the hospital for a few days and my parents bought me that CD to keep me company.

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