“My home was filled with classical Indian Carnatic tunes growing up; my mom would cook curry and sing along passionately.”
“I love-hated it because while I barely understood the words, the intonation was catchy and mesmerizing and invaded my mind at a very young age, filling me with meditative mantras. But being a typical little girl, the first tape I bought was the Spice Girls’ Spice. I knew every word of every song because I looked up the lyrics on some Geocities website and printed them out and I really really really wanna zig-a-zig ahh.
Middle school was a great time for music—No Doubt, Snoop Dogg, Weezer, TLC—pop music was and still is a great inspiration to me. I love music that is accessible and catchy and I try to pump some of these pop vibes into my own Bob and Martha melodies.
“The first record on vinyl I remember listening to was Tattoo You by The Rolling Stones.”
“My mom, sister, and I used to pull out this box of clothes, dress up like rock stars, and dance on the couches in the living room. “Start Me Up” is the song that really got us going. One time two women walking on the street saw us through the window and smiled or laughed, and after that I was too embarrassed to ever do it again.
I’ve only started interacting with vinyl again recently. 2 years ago I put out my first record on vinyl through the supervision of my friend Jason Hiller. Jason, my drummer Laura Doolin, and I recorded 8 songs live onto a 4-track tape machine at Jason’s home studio, most of them first takes. The final product was a 12” all-analog vinyl played at 45RPM. The earnestness of that sound is what sold me on collecting and producing vinyl. I suddenly needed all of my favorite albums on vinyl.
“When my dad gave me my first vinyl, it was a group I had never heard of. The first memory I have of the record is the smell, the way that it felt in my hands, and the weight. I just remember thinking, “I wonder how big the CD player is for this thing?” I honestly thought I was holding an adult Frisbee.”
“My dad takes the vinyl, takes it out of the sleeve, cleans it, and places it on a record player. It almost looked to be some kind of ritual, but I didn’t understand it at the time. Fast-forward years later when I’m coming across my first album (that I bought at a garage sale), Fugees’ The Score, I did the exact same thing—I took it out of the sleeve, I cleaned it, placed it on my dad’s old record player, and played it. I didn’t only fall in love with the music, I fell in love with the ritual.
A vinyl record feels so much more personal than anything else out there. It feels like your favorite book you can read over and over again, and as soon as someone notices the cover, it’s almost an instant conversation starter on an instant common ground.
“I sometimes feel a little tinge of jealousy when I hear friends talk about childhoods spent listening to their parents’ classic records from the likes of Dylan, CSNY, and Zeppelin.”
“I don’t remember hearing much other than classical music around the house growing up. So I was left to weave my way through music discovery at my own pace. Without the ease of things like iTunes or Spotify, I spent a lot of time at my local record store. At 15, I fell in love with the Clash and the Beatles, but it wasn’t until a little later in life that I really fell in love with vinyl.
Foraging through an antique store in St. Louis, I came across this great little “Wildcat” portable record player. I took it home and “borrowed” some records from my boyfriend. I think the first one I ever listened to was David Bazan’s synth project called Headphones. Come to think of it, I still have that record.
“Hi there, I’m Huw the drummer with Rag Foundation.”
“My first experience with vinyl was as a child playing my parents’ and sisters’ records whilst simultaneously recording my own “radio show” on my parents’ Fidelity tape to tape recorder. “Love Me Do” EP, “She Wears My Ring” by Solomon King, “Last Train to Clarksville” by the Monkees, I always remember these songs from that experience. There is something about the tactile nature of vinyl that stays in the memory. I feel that the MP3 generation will have a similar feeling about CDs. Man, get them on the vinyl.
Then punk arrived. And so did my purchasing of lots of vinyl! 7” singles, 12” singles, albums, 10” EPs, you name it. It was great checking the back of the music press for all the small mail order record shops. I bought “Teenage Kicks” on the Belfast Good Vibrations label directly from the shop in Belfast in 1978 via mail order. The Undertones then signed to Sire and had a huge hit. We had picture sleeves, picture vinyl, gatefold sleeves, double albums. I also bought Rumours by Fleetwood Mac—a band that our forthcoming album, The Sparrow and the Thief has been likened to—and still love it to this day. I only told my closest friends that I had bought this as it wasn’t very punk! But I just loved music.
“Vinyl may not be the quickest, easiest, or most convenient way to listen to music, but it’s certainly the most romantic.”
“There’s something special about the atmosphere and the drama of dropping the needle in the groove and hearing and old record the way it was intended to be listened to. In today’s fast paced, throwaway culture that really counts for something!
Also, for me growing up surrounded by digital music, it was incredibly exciting to realise that recorded music could exist as a physical object in the real world—the sound you hear is the needle running along those bumps and grooves in the vinyl—what an amazing thought!”
—Jamie Francis, lead vocals, guitar
“Like most millennials, my interest in vinyl came about from chancing upon records belonging to my parents that were stashed away in garages and closets.”
“Though I had already heard many of the albums on CD prior to finding the records, such as Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon or Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys, rediscovering them on vinyl was unforgettable! I think it had a lot to do with the warmth of the analog sound emerging from a record that was as old as the music it contained. All of that added up to an intense and almost spooky listening experience.
An all time favorite vinyl record of mine is Jethro Tull’s Thick as a Brick, which is a one of a kind album that comes with a complete mock daily newspaper. Apparently the cover took longer to produce than the music, and that’s something that can only happen when you’re dealing with vinyl!”
—Mic Vredenburgh, Guitar
“One of my favourite experiences with vinyl came when I was about 10 or 11. Like most kids growing up in the early ’90s, the first music that I discovered were grunge albums like Nevermind and Superunknown. As a young music fan, I loved Cornell and Cobain and had no reason to doubt their position as the greatest rock and roll musicians of all time.”
“My dad, had a box in his closest, sitting underneath his dress shirts and beside his shoes. Packed away with his chess board, beta tape player (he still insists its better than VHS) and Atari, was a box filled with five or six of his favorite records—Peter Gabriel’s So, the Beatles’ Abbey Road, Led Zeppelin II, and a couple that I still have never heard of.
Given where he kept his records, it should be obvious that he wasn’t the biggest music fan. It was up to me to discover them for myself. For no reason in particular, the record I chose was Led Zeppelin II. My aunt was the only person I knew with a working turntable, so I took my dad’s copy of Led Zeppelin II to her apartment. I set up shop and lay sprawled out on the floor with the jacket open, asking my aunt to begin with side two first.
“My first memory of playing vinyl is listening to Raffi records on a Fisher-Price children’s turntable. I had that thing forever. Didn’t sound great.”
“I was born in 1982 at Lennox Hill Hospital to a vinyl-obsessed mother and a father who identified best with the rhythmic sense of Steve Martin in The Jerk. At some point, probably around 1988, my household moved to cassettes and CDs. So it wasn’t until I was about 14, just getting into “backpack rap,” that I started buying vinyl records again. Raffi to Black Star by age 16…Who would have thunk it.
In ’98 we used to go to Fat Beats and Liquid Sky for new 12″s and breaks. But I didn’t scratch or mix records, so I found myself drawn to used vinyl I could sample into my Akai S20. I found a lot of good “dollar-bin” records at the Salvation Armys and local bookstores of the Upper West Side. I like the hunt of finding something new, so I’d go in and pick 5 or so records based on their album art: the ultra-nerdy cover to Wendy Carlos Williams’ Switched on Bach or the geometric minimalism of a Change album…Then I would run home and search for the break.
Album art used to tell me what to buy. I think it still does. And I think I fell in love with the process, the hunt, by shopping for used vinyl that was basically being thrown away.
“I consider myself an audio engineer enthusiast. I am by no means an expert, but I’ve always been mesmerized by the idea of how sound works and the process of creating and capturing music, particularly my own to tape or CD format.”
“I think this love of sound grew from my first experience when I was a young boy, sitting down in front of our old record player with my father as we listened to his old vinyl records for the first time. I remember sifting through his collection, no idea who any of these bands were and pulling out the albums which stood out to me. Bands like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and artists like Billy Joel and Tom Petty. Household names to me now, but back then it was the Album Art which captured my attention.
The sheer size of the record sleeves made the designs of the cover and inserts seem like you were holding a piece of art in itself. An emotion I feel is deprived in today’s generation of CDs sleeves. A comparison which to me now, feels like the difference between painting a picture on a canvas, and printing it out on ordinary paper.