“I’ve always had a love for vinyl. Whenever I pass a record store or a guy on the street selling vinyl—I always stop to see what treasures he might have.”
There’s something very real and organic about it. It’s physicality appeals to me. It’s big. You can’t miss it. You put it in your hands and place it on the turntable. Slowly place the needle where you want it to begin. And then you get that crackling like you’ve started a fire. Vinyl just stimulates all the senses. Well maybe not taste, because I don’t plan on licking one of them, but you get what I’m saying. It’s tangible.
MP3s, you have ’em and you may very well forget ’em. Or, like a real book and not an ebook. Vinyl stares you in the face. Something just feels right when you can just hold it. Kinda like a trophy. You’re broadcasting that “Hey! I’m really into this! So much in fact, that you can see this motherfucker!”
I didn’t grow up listening to vinyl. We had a record player, but my parents never used it. I’d pretend though. I’d put things on it and watch it spin. Growing up in the ’80s, cassettes were the thing, and then of course CDs. My earliest memory of having music though is growing up in Missouri. Every weekend the family would clean the house. My parents would blast their favorite albums – Fleetwood Mac, Billy Ocean, Billy Joel, Sade, Queen and old Whitney Houston. I think that’s when I realized I loved music. Music made me feel home.
When I grew up and moved to NYC, I eventually got my own working record player. I immediately went looking for vinyl that reminded me of home. When you’re hustling everyday in the city, you don’t get to many chances to go back and visit the family. But listening to songs that my parents loved takes me closer to them.
Why would I buy vinyl though, and not just get the MP3s or the CD? I think the reason is love. Cheesy I know, but I love those songs. And getting the vinyl takes them and makes them physical. I put them in my house like a billboard. I want everyone to know when they step into my apartment that music is a big part of me. You can see the bookshelf covered in sleeves. These are the songs that shaped me and influenced how I grew up.
Maybe it’s a mental thing. But when I listen to someone singing on vinyl I feel like there’s more heart and soul in it. Like I’m in the room with them. None of the polish and glitter. Just the music like it’s supposed to be heard.”
—Thor Nguyen, Vocals/Guitar
The Assembly Line’s brand new EP, “The Places We Leave Behind” is in stores tomorrow, September 17.