Author Archives: Special to TVD

Cassandra Violet,
The TVD First Date

“The first record I ever bought was actually a cassette tape by an artist named Crystal Waters, because I was taking a modern dance class in fourth grade and we were learning a routine to the song “100% Pure Love.” I bought it at Sam Goody with my allowance and my mother was scandalized, I think. The only music my parents ever really listened to was classical music, though my dad is a big fan of jazz. I love to be able to dance to music, but I grew up listening to and playing classical music, singing, and on the clarinet.”

“When I was twelve or so, I started understanding what it meant to be a fan of a musician. My best friend’s older sister made her room into a shrine to Gwen Stefani, with every photo shoot from every magazine she had ever been in. I became very into No Doubt, the album Tragic Kingdom, and I was fascinated by that kind of theatrical way that Gwen Stefani sings. In eighth grade, I papered my room with pictures of Fiona Apple and Lauryn Hill from every magazine photo shoot they had ever done.

I knew everything about both of those artists and I learned every word to Tidal and Miseducation. Later on, in high school, I got more into jazz singers and Joni Mitchell. I had hundreds of CDs that I played on a gigantic boombox. RIP CDs. I loved Ella Fitzgerald, and I continue to be in awe of the control that Sarah Vaughan has of her voice. People who use their voice like an instrument are really captivating to me, and obviously people who write remarkable lyrics. I love pop music that is just a little bit off, a little bit skewed, but you can dance and move to it. I also love girl groups from the ’60s, like the Crystals and the Shangri-Las. I love the mythology of the girl group and all of the drama that entails.

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The Beaches,
The TVD First Date

“Much of what I’m about to admit, I probably shouldn’t. It’s pretty embarrassing that I, someone who has been a musician for almost twelve years, has never owned a record player or listened to records until early this year.”

“I always found the record player very intimidating, as if I wouldn’t know how to set it up or make the music it emitted sound right. I was also worried that if I got one, I wouldn’t know how to work the manual needle.

Strangely enough though, I’ve always collected records. Their covers always enchanted me. I would pick them up at garage sales or in the dollar rack at record stores. I would take them home and try to replicate David Bowie and Debbie Harry’s makeup and outfits, read all the names of the songs and so on—but I would never listen to them. I would just stare and wonder.

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Peter More,
The TVD First Date

“I’ve always loved having a record collection around the house. I didn’t get into collecting records until I was in high school when my mom’s friend gave me her collection from the ’60s and ’70s. I remember my dad opening the box and pulling out these original copies of Electric Ladyland, Bringing It All Back Home, and Rubber Soul, and lamenting how his whole record collection was stolen after college.”

“Until that point I didn’t realize how different the experience of playing vinyl is to tracking through a CD or shuffling an mp3 player. I find it easier to seek out obscure tracks listening to vinyl because it’s more conducive to sitting with a full album and turning it over, which is how I feel music should be. I feel we live in a very immediate culture where everything is consumed rapidly and then onto the next.

With the modern shift toward streaming singles I think it’s even curtailed the art (and caliber) of recording great LPs as well. It’s cool to see a resurgence of artists pressing records again and a return to the old days of spinning vinyl at parties and gatherings. We definitely plan to press records for our album release in the new year.

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*repeat repeat,
The TVD First Date

“It would be really cool of me to say I grew up listening to vinyl records, that my parents played ‘The White Album’ while I was in the womb, and that I was always inspired by Brian Wilson since my prepubescence. The truth is not that. I grew up in Gilbert, Arizona to parents who fed me a steady diet of Sugar Ray, DC Talk, and AC/DC. It was a very confusing musical upbringing, but it eventually forced me to seek out on my own the music I wanted to get excited about and in turn appreciate those artists even more.”

“I don’t even remember why, but my mother bought me a record player for Christmas when I was 16. I didn’t even ask for a record player. I think I asked for an ipod. Regardless, I knew that the thrift store down the street from my house had 25 cent vinyl records. Because this was a city that did not have a sprawling music scene, the first four records I bought were Michael Jackson’s Thriller, ELO’s A New World Record, Waylon Jennings’ Dreaming My Dreams, and Johnny Cash’s Destination Victoria Station for a whopping buck. I eventually bought Nat King Cole’s Songs for Two in Love to impress a date.

Kristyn and I decided to go all out and buy one of those big ’60s record consoles a few years back. It was the first time I ever heard how amazing vinyl records actually sound. Whenever we go to the record store, she likes to go through the 25 cent bin and pick out all the ’60s records, heavily weighted with Neil Sedaka albums. We honest to god don’t need any more Neil Sedaka records. I also like to surprise her with her favorite new artists on vinyl. Most recently we’ve grabbed, The Vaccines’ English Graffiti, Cage the Elephant’s Tell Me I’m Pretty, and Andy Shauf’s The Party.

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Andrew McKeag,
The TVD First Date

“The first record I remember buying was Boston’s self-titled debut, purchased at The Source Record & Tapes in Cedar Mill, OR in 1978 or so. At least I think that’s what the store was called—it’d disappeared by the early 80s.”

“The babysitter brought his copy over one night and I thought it was the most badass thing I’d ever heard at 8 years old. At the time, the album had already been out for a while, but he’d just seen them live and I had a ton of questions about what a ‘real rock concert’ was like. I remember him telling me, ‘Well, just stick your head in front of this speaker…’ after which he proceeded to totally crank the volume and my head exploded with the ripping guitars of ‘Smokin’.’

I had to have my own copy, so within a few days I’d gathered enough allowance money and spare change to buy one. I still remember the smell of that store—a combination of new cellophane, incense, and whatever the employees were probably smoking in the back room.

The artwork and the liner notes on LPs were like a little mystery that you could never solve—the less info provided, the more intriguing it was to try to sort out! I was never a stoner, but I had lots of friends who’d sit around and clean their pot on gatefold records. We’d all check out the artwork and liner notes for hours, wondering what the band was thinking about with each detail.

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Sunset Neon,
The TVD First Date

“The first record I remember hearing as a kid was the soundtrack to Top Gun. I know that my mom had other records because I remember seeing them stacked up, but the only one that blares out in memory is that Top Gun soundtrack. I’d run around the living room like a little madman and couldn’t believe it could possible to be any more hyped than rocketing off the couch to “Danger Zone.” (I was 100% correct, too. Try it now. Loggins compels you.)”

“I was super into aviation and any form of airplane dogfights as a kid, so not only did the movie get watched over and over, the soundtrack would hit the turntable at every opportunity. I didn’t fully have an appreciation of how special vinyl was at that point because it was just the main way that I knew you listened to music at home, versus the cassettes for traveling and my grandparents car with an 8-track of the Oak Ridge Boys permanently lodged in it (which is fine…”Elvira” rules).

After moving around a bit, my mom no longer had the record player or the vinyl. I was still into playing cassette tapes on my little Walkman until they died (and making my own tapes of stuff off the radio, or holding a Radio Shack mic up to the TV to record parts of soundtracks I liked).

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Manika,
The TVD First Date

“Living in a digital world, I’m still a sucker and lover of physical record stores. I have hundreds of records, lined up alphabetically in two dedicated record cabinets. I’m the same way with books, I love the feeling of holding the physical product in my hands.”

“I grew up listening to Michael Jackson, Alanis Morissette, P!nk, Snoop Dogg, Britney Spears, Janet Jackson. When I was 17 years-old Frank DiLeo (Michael Jackson’s long-time manager) discovered me through some competitions and some videos of my music I had posted online. I was so nervous to meet him, especially since I grew up listening to Michael Jackson. He flew down to Las Vegas to meet with me and decided to come out of retirement to manage ‘one last big act!’

I feel like I have two very different personalities—there’s the Manika who is very outgoing, who loves to perform on stage, and goes to award shows. And there’s the Manika who likes to just sit at home in her PJs and listen to records all day. I feel like the songwriter Manika is the latter, whereas the performer Manika is the first.

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AUTOBAHN,
The TVD First Date

“As a young child I remember the record cabinet looming over me like a tall skyscraper. A plethora of 12” vinyl stacked in alphabetical order ran through the walnut cased rack. I’d push each record in just enough so they all lined up, then nudge them out so I could do it all again.”

“Even at this early age I knew not to fuck up these records. I’d happily carve my name into the family mantelware or use the single paned front door as target practice for free kicks, but I stayed clear of those records. They had some importance, some mysterious being, which gravitated me toward them when the turntable spun. My earliest memory of music will have come from that turntable, the first time I ever listened to Bob Dylan, the first time I ever listened to the Sex Pistols, and last time I ever listened to Pink Floyd.

The day came when I could finally just reach the summit of the cabinet, leading to the impossible task of choosing a record to play. I’d deliberate for half an hour trying to decide which Frankie Goes to Hollywood album to put on. Spend another half an hour working out which side I had to play first. Listen to the first couple of songs at the wrong speed, before final getting that ‘Maha-hiya, Guess what’s happening now?’ at the start of ‘Relax.’ YES I’d made it, what a banger.

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Skrizzly Adams,
The TVD First Date
and Video Premiere,
“Tipping Point”

“‘Tipping Point’ is one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written, especially considering I was the grand prize winner of the International Songwriting Competition with it. The song is about the incredibly frustrating yet simultaneously inspiring moment when you realize something in your life is coming to an end. With the video, we aimed to capture that emotion and tell a story that reflected the lyrics in as cinematic a fashion as possible.”

“Vinyl, to me, signifies ‘the album’ as an art form. For me, vinyl has always embodied the concept that when listening to an album, you aren’t just listening to a collection of songs, but something greater. A statement is being made; you are adding one and one and one and somehow getting five. Listening through an album is a journey divided by carefully placed intermissions (side flips), and when you get to the end, you feel like you’ve achieved something. The physical vinyl and its packaging is your badge of honor.

When I was a kid just getting into and quickly becoming obsessed by music, that was how I experienced vinyl. I am grateful to have lived in a house filled with great records. My mother had an enormous Neil Young collection that I completely wore out. Neil was absolutely one of the greats. He put out a lot of content and honestly missed just as much as he hit, but when he hit, he tapped into something magical.

I remember listening to Harvest for the first time and not only being blown away by every song on the album, but being confused and amazed at the same time as to how an album could have such a perfect dichotomy. Half the project was a rootsy, in-studio folk album and the other half was Neil accompanied by the grandeur of a symphony orchestra. It made no sense, yet complete sense at the same time.

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Nick Heyward,
The TVD First Date

“The new record, Woodland Echoes, I made for vinyl. That was the main thing, to make it an album. This is my first album that came out on vinyl since, well, the late ‘80s probably.”

“Even though it was made in my spare room, it’s a record, so I planed it like a record. I compiled it like, Side A, Side B, six tracks, six tracks, and there’s a story. So I thought, OK, and I made an album.

The concept of an album hasn’t gone away at all. I think people misunderstood. They thought when vinyl wasn’t selling they mistook it for the album going away. It’s a bit like thinking if books aren’t selling, then the novel is obsolete. It’s not. The stories are always going to be there. People will need—I will need—stories in that way.

The album concept is always there. I was brought up on albums, so I think albums. So even through the time of CDs, it was still an album, really. It just wasn’t vinyl—even if I wanted it to be vinyl. I didn’t like the plastic thing—I wanted it to be vinyl.

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