Author Archives: Special to TVD

Young Rising Sons,
The TVD First Date

“My earliest memory of my first introduction to music was my father blasting The Beatles’ Rubber Soul in our living room. My brother and I would dance around and sing along to “Drive My Car.” My father’s love for The Beatles, The Doors, The Dave Clark Five, and Herman’s Hermits would be passed on to my brother and me in the form of punk rock, hardcore, and hip-hop.”

“Growing up, my father used to frequent a record store called Wow! Music in the Hudson Mall, in Jersey City, NJ. He would always randomly browse and pick up any record that MIGHT seem like he would enjoy. I wouldn’t understand until later in life the satisfaction he would get watching his collection grow every week. It’s something that to this day, my brother and I would bond over with him.

Having an older brother who started DJing in the pre-Serato era made a huge impression on me when it came to hunting, purchasing, and collecting music. Browsing the used vinyl section and the $1–$5 crates of old records at Vintage Vinyl in Fords, NJ, and Jack’s Music Shoppe in Red Bank, NJ not only became a hobby, but an obsession.

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Delta Jackson,
The TVD First Date

“I got a record player for my birthday one year, but I only had a limited amount of money to start buying. So, rather than just buy one or two records I was more tempted to get my hands on as many different sounds as I could. I left the store with an armful of records by Van Morrison, Phoebe Snow, Rickie Lee Jones, The Animals, Dennis Wilson, Steely Dan, and Pink Floyd. I’ll never forget that first moment of being in a record shop and about to dive down the rabbit hole of music and never return! I suppose the vinyl record that has stuck with me the most from that shopping spree is Luxury Liner by Emmylou Harris.”

“Compared to people who I know who have massive vinyl collections, I wouldn’t necessarily say that I am a hard core ‘quantity’ collector. But I do have a decent collection, and every record that I own has a great meaning to me. That is the probably the biggest reason why I wanted to release my EP on vinyl as a limited edition vinyl pressing. You can really achieve such a great sound for the music by listening to it on vinyl. Especially with recordings, such as mine, that were recorded live to tape (Studer A820 24-track) at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in the UK, which in itself… is a deep rabbit hole of recording gear that I won’t even get into!

As I delved deeper into my own songwriting, I found it a lot more interesting to continue on with my vinyl collection as a way to discover older records. This was before music became digitized and other than the local vinyl/CD shop or the public library, it was hard to catch on to great music. Buying old or new vinyl really opened up new possibilities for finding an artist that I hadn’t encountered before. Jackson Browne was someone who I found at the record shop and his single “Doctor My Eyes” was something that I gravitated to without knowing why. I have probably listened to that song over 1,000 times on vinyl.

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John Craigie,
The TVD First Date and Premiere, “Scarlet”

“I have always loved records as a whole. Even when I was a kid it was very important for me to hear the whole record, in order, from start to finish. I liked going through the journey, some songs good, some songs bad. Seeing where the artist would place the “hits” vs. where they would place the deep cuts. What songs they would open with, and which songs they would close with.”

“I was born in the era of CDs, so vinyl was not something I listened to as a youth. It wasn’t until I got to college and hung out with some friends who had a record player. I was immediately drawn to the larger size. Seeing the artwork better and not dealing with plastic jewel cases.

I found a record player for myself and started getting some vinyl at the local record store. I was in Santa Cruz at that time and Logos and Streetlight Records had great dollar bins. I would dig through those and whatever looked interesting I would get. One dollar wasn’t too much of a risk. And if it sucked I would just give it to a friend or donate it back. I always liked how vinyl kind of forced you to listen to the record in full. I mean, you could drop the needle on any song, but I found people tended not to do that.

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Shana Halligan,
The TVD First Date

“My first vinyl purchase. Well… I should really talk about my second. If I dare mention my first it could possibly strip me away of all street cred I thought I once had. It may be so embarrassing that you could possibly have deep regret asking me to do this interview. It may be so bad, that you may think, how could this girl really have come from Rock and Roll royalty?”

“It’s that embarrassing. Oh god, I’m doing it… Wait, ok, in my defense I was late into my 6th year of life on this planet. I was in total and complete awe over what I had just witnessed. The greatest movie of my life to date! Eyes wide, completely mesmerized. I must have watched this movie over 100 times. I learned every dance move. Every song. I want to be her! I need to be her! I need leg warmers, I need a bandana around my forehead, wait, I need a flowing chiffon Ice Castles dress, I need rollers skates!! I NEED to be her!! But wait, there’s more! She could be a throw back jazz singer in the perfect cigarette girl outfit, a cowgirl, and ’80s electric goddess, a work out queen…she was everything. A muse. My muse. Here it goes…

Xanadu. Yes. That Xanadu. The ridiculous movie soundtrack featuring Olivia Newton John on the cover looking as glorious as ever. I will never forget this experience. It was quite emotional and traumatic.

I had saved up months of allowance to get this album. It was all I could think about. If only I could get the album, then I could read the lyrics in the liner notes, I could learn who she really was, and then I could figure out how to get to Xanadu. I could get the address to that art deco building in the photo and be free from the shackles of my crazy hippy life as I knew it. Xanadu. That’s where I needed to be. And I could only get there through the pertinent information located in the secrets of this particular vinyl.

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The 286,
The TVD First Date

“Vinyl. If I’m honest, I’m not entirely sure what I’d be doing now if I hadn’t had the fortune of experiencing music on it. Would I ever have been drawn into music like I have been without vinyl? Would I even be in a band?”

“It’s hard to judge how much of an impact those early vinyl days had on me, particularly as they largely coincided with when I started becoming obsessed with music. But I’ve no doubt that those early vinyl experiences completely drove that obsession.

I grew up listening to my mum and dad’s singles and LPs. Their collection was wide-ranging, from early Beatles singles through to late ’70s albums by Bowie, Roxy Music, and ELO. Their collection would trip my senses. It seemed that vinyl had a particular smell like no other. The artwork or photo, blown up to the size of the sleeve, announced the record’s contents, inviting you on a musical journey.

I would scan the front and back of the sleeve whilst the disc played, discovering a new detail each time. Some of the sleeves would be pristine, like the amazing coloured records in their collection; others would be more worn, like the late ’60s sleeves that I later found out my dad would use as cigarette ashtrays when hanging out with his band! Each record seemed to tell its own story which was something which make these memories so vivid to this day.

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Anjulie,
The TVD First Date

“Making and listening to music is therapy for me. It calms depression, anxiety, and the incurable affliction of being different.”

“When I was growing up, OK computer by Radiohead made me feel like someone understood me. I was raised in a pretty conservative all white suburb in Ontario and I would get under my headphones with a flashlight in my room and read the lyrics of “Fake Plastic Trees” under the covers. It helped me make sense of myself. “A green plastic watering can for a fake Chinese rubber plant In the fake plastic earth…”

I wasn’t the type of kid boys were into, so much so that the hottest guy in class actually asked me out as a joke. Instead of offing myself, I would listen to Jagged Little Pill and scream into my pillow over and over. “And it would knock me too the ground if I wasn’t there already. If only I could hunt the hunter…” All my aggression pain and sadness was sopped up by the sounds coming out of silver CDs. (world’s most emo alliteration).

Then came The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. It helped me understand how to take that hurt and turn it into art and beauty and hope. “Now hear this mixture where hip hop meets scripture develop a negative into a positive picture,” she sang on “Everything is Everything.”

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Mitch Bradford,
The TVD First Date

“Vinyl has always had a huge impact on me. There’s something about holding it. Looking at the cover art and design. It feels like a work of art. Almost like a book. And when you buy it—you buy it with intention. Even if it’s bad, you’re going to listen to that record front to back.”

“When I was a kid, there was one vinyl store in my hometown of Brownsville, TX. It opened and closed pretty quickly. And I can’t remember the name. “Wolf” something, I think. But while they were open I snagged the songs of Hank Williams, “Mr. Blue Sky” ELO’s Greatest Hits, and Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music by Ray Charles. This was also the time where vinyl was in a downturn so I inherited a lot of vinyl from my grandparents. I think everybody received Carole King’s Tapestry at this time. And Herb Alpert’s record with the famous “whipped cream” cover. Haha.

I’d play them on a cheap Crosley portable record player in my room. I didn’t know about turntables then (I’ve gotten more sophisticated since) but the sound and the warmth of the music meant a lot to me. It was all much more majestic than mp3s. And it felt real. Like the artist had taken time crafting the song structure and deciding which ones came first and last. They took you on a journey—a narrative.

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DYLYN,
The TVD First Date

“Music has always been a part of my life, and growing up listening to Pet Sounds and The Carpenters really gave me a good solid base.”

“I’ll never forget the first time I heard Led Zeppelin. I may have been 12 or 13 waiting for my brother’s hockey practice to finish. My dad put on a CD called Early Days and Latter Days and a little song called “Stairway to Heaven” came on. I remember looking out the window and crying because it was one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. From that point I knew my calling. That song lit a fire in my soul and I had research to do. What was so special about this time? Zeppelin pushed the envelope and it’s something I try my best to connect with through their records and album art.

The first time I listened to a vinyl record is when my uncle gave me a box of his albums. Little did we both know what kind of monster that was about to create. When you listen to vinyl records there’s something so pure and raw about them. There’s a feeling of longing and nostalgia. Even though I wasn’t part of such a beautiful time, it really brings me to that era and I could imagine where I could have been. My apartment is covered with some of the best vinyl album covers of all time.

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Winter,
The TVD First Date

“The first record I ever bought was Sung Tongs by Animal Collective.”

“I remember going to Newbury Comics in Boston, MA and browsing through all the records. I was a sophomore in college and had just bought my first record player for my dorm room. There’s something so magical about holding a record; the weight, the big album art, the texture of the wax.

I left Newbury Comics with a big smile. I couldn’t wait to go home and listen to my new vinyl. I felt like I had just made a new friend. That vinyl along with all the future ones I was going to collect were going to be my buddies for life. I went to my room, turned on my record player and watched the needle hit the first groove.

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LEEDS’ Royston Langdon,
The TVD First Date

“My art teacher, Mr Jones, whom I loved dearly, gave me his copy of Andy Warhol’s Velvet Underground featuring Nico LP. Back then, I played in a school band with his son, Matthew, who played drums, poorly. It wasn’t long before the record became the closer friend.”

“I’m listening to it now. We share a common history in the same way I do with my human friends. It’s a being. It has a life force. Like you and me. I love that about my record collection. We’ve stumbled together, with reference. A map of sorts as to where we came from and who we are now.

From the first beatific hit of the xylophone on “Sunday Morning” I was taken away to another place where everyone has enough of everything. Transcendence. Abundance. Nico. They’ll never be another voice like hers. The Femme Fatale embodying feminine Goddess. Sexy and scary, sensitive and stern at the same time.

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Dany Laj & The Looks, The TVD First Date
and Video Premiere
“Left Right to One”

“It was sometime in 1994, likely spring or summer. I was 14 years old.”

“I grew up in a small town named Kirkland Lake in Northern Ontario, Canada, about 6 hours north of Toronto. Now, I’ve been around records for most of my life. I mean, in an age where people had long since converted to cassette and, later on, CDs, being by far the most popular mediums at the time. At least that’s what it was like for the most part, where I was from.

At that time everyone had some old records hanging around the basement. The passionate music lovers would keep and cherish them, the rest would let them sit there or get rid of them. Which was great for me, ‘cause pawn shops (or ‘new & used stores,’ like we called them over there) had gems for very cheap. At the very least, I could snag some LPs for free off of one of my friends parents, or homes/establishments trying to make some space.

Which brings me to hearing the freshest thing I’d ever heard at that time. My parents owned a small construction company. One day, one of their employees, Dan, who was likely picking up the rubbish from one of the sites they were working on, had sifted out a couple of boxes of 45s. I skimmed through the boxes of singles, which turned out to be from a collection that was previously owned by the local radio station, CJKL.

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Veronica Bianqui,
The TVD First Date

“’Just listen to his scream,’ my mom said as she placed down the vinyl record of John Lennon’s “Well, Well, Well” from Plastic Ono Band.

“I remember the sound of the crackle and the slightly too-bright timbre of the track. It wasn’t the best of record players, and that particular record was kind of worn out, and so the bass end was not too present. But, man, did that track hit me. It was grunge before grunge. It was raw, it was melodic, and it’s probably one of the first songs in my life that I experienced on record first before hearing it on any other medium.

I really don’t know how I got into records. I guess growing up with baby boomer parents, they’ve just always been around. I started to dive into my mother’s collection probably in my early teens. You know the drill, when you ‘borrow’ … indefinitely. Many of those first records that I borrowed, I still have today. A lot of Beatles.

I interned in the Mastering department at Capitol Records, where I used to leave my desk duties during downtime, and go downstairs to watch Ron McMaster cut record masters. Yes, that’s his real name! I would watch in fascination as grooves would begin to appear on fresh lacquer and take notes while McMaster would explain to me what he was doing. I was surprised when he said he had never had anyone take such interest in what he was doing.

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Pale Houses,
The TVD First Date

“From the moment I was first exposed to music, I was into it. My dad used to talk about how when I was two years old, I could do a spot-on vocal impersonation of Ronnie Millsap. And while that may have been a bit of a stretch (like many of his tales), it does sound like something I would have at least attempted to do.”

“But my first real memories of music were quite literally given to me by my mom, Judy Crawley (Robinson). In the late ’60s and early ’70s, my mom was a bit of a rising star in the unassuming, church-packed town of Cleveland, Tennessee. She was a fantastic singer, somewhere between a southern Karen Carpenter and Anne Murray, but more dynamic, more piercing in the upper register. She and my sax-virtuoso uncle Tommy had both signed with a small Nashville-area label called Chart Records. Seemingly unbeknownst to most everyone involved, for that brief moment, some really magical stuff was happening in that little speck of the deep south.

My mom would track songs written by would-be heroes of the great Muscle Shoals Sound not long before they fled to south Alabama to take over the music industry. A couple of my mom’s singles were picked up by radio stations scattered around the country. She briefly moved to Nashville and, before long, found herself hanging out in historic studios with the likes of Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed.

But nearly as quickly as it began, life’s priorities changed and it all just sort of stopped on a dime. She married young, divorced, re-married, had me, and her brief affair with the industry remained captured only on those circular, black time capsules that eventually wound up buried in my grandmother’s basement.

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Joel Levi,
The TVD First Date

“My first physical connection to music was in the early nineties via cassette tape. I can still picture the frustration, when I listened to a tape so much that it finally unraveled in my tape deck. It was the compact disc that dominated most of my adolescence. It wasn’t until high school that I got a proper introduction to vinyl, and it was quite a revelation. My good friend Jason, who at the time was well into his twenties, put it upon himself to get me educated.”

“I didn’t even know how the record player worked. He sat me down and told me the first thing I needed to listen to on vinyl was Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited. It was like I was listening to music for the first time. We sat cross-legged in his living room and took in every nuance of the sound. The full range of the vinyl was hitting my ears in such a profound way. After we finished both sides of the record, I looked at him and said, “What else do you have?”

My introduction to vinyl was really my introduction into the music and genres that would help form the foundation to my songwriting. My youth was mostly filled with pop music, but after I was introduced to Jason’s record collection my tastes really started to evolve. I then started diving into the Ryan Adams and Wilco records. These artists, along with a healthy dose of bands from the sixties and seventies, became a huge influence. I still remember hearing Yankee Hotel Foxtrot on vinyl and thinking “I don’t get this.” It was somewhere after the third listen that Jeff Tweedy’s musical genius hit me like a ton of bricks. Most likely it was the full attention that vinyl demands of you that helped reveal his brilliance.

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McLovins,
The TVD First Date

“I find myself in constant pursuit of nostalgia. If you were to ask me what I enjoy most about music, I would respond in a cluttered medley of words about how I believe it is the most honest way of expressing human emotion. As a songwriter, lyricist, and performer, I feel that my job is to transport the listener for a moment into a separate space as a spellbinding film or book would.”

“With that being said… I was rather stoned in the midst of a high school rebellious phase when I heard my very first record. It was mid-day at my buddy Dan O’s apartment in Hartford, CT when he placed a weathered Bob Dylan vinyl on this vintage record player. I don’t remember specifically what record it was, but I remember falling in love with music all over again.

Unlike scrolling through playlists on my iPod mini, this was different. It felt sonically organic in a way that allowed me to experience what listening to music might have felt like in and earlier time. I could hear the dust sifting past the needle as I watched the diamond glide across the vinyl like a merry-go-round. I remember asking Dan if the record was spinning fast enough, perplexed by how warm and slow it sounded. Needless to say, I was sold. My first record player was purchased that night.

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