TVD Premiere: Norman,
“By My Side”

“For me, the art of creating “an album” is more than just recording songs and putting them in an order that makes sense to the listener. An album is a story or a path from which the listener is guided on. There’s quite a bit about vinyl that moves me. Vinyl isn’t a collecting piece for me. For me, vinyl is the pinnacle of recorded and released music in a physical medium that is available to the public.”

“As a musician and one who enjoys listening to my favorite albums on vinyl I’m not alone in the feeling that vinyl is beautiful. There’s something about holding a piece of music that is such a large piece of art. It isn’t a dinky CD or digital file, there’s something more to it. You can do a lot with vinyl, with posters, inserts, and the 12×12 cover alone is just amazing sometimes.

Growing up I spent a lot of time with my mother. She had a little pink cardboard case of 45s of The Carpenters, Elton John, and a ton of music from the soft ’70s. We went out and bought 45s at the record store. There were some very influential records for me when I was young, including that paper-thin square Ghostbusters theme 45.

Being an ’80s kid, I was in the cassette tape age. Car rides were home to Beatles Pastmasters and Simon & Garfunkel. I didn’t really latch onto vinyl until after the wake of CDs in the ’90s. In the early 2000s my father gave me a Crosley record player for my birthday. I started my vinyl collection and would pick up records at shows whenever they were available. Over the last ten years vinyl appeared at concerts more and more. What was a niche became an art form once again, and I was buying as I know a lot of other kids were.

Now with a record collection 800 strong I’ve been on the hunt for the records I love the most. Tracking mid era Kinks albums, Neu, Stereolab (I got a couple killer Stereolab test pressing in the UK that are amazing), and more. I always have prolific vinyl encounters overseas, where I seem to find the records I’m never expecting in London or Netherlands. The amount of Psych re-releases I found in 2012 in Groningen, Netherlands was unbelievable beyond measure. I was so torn by the amount of selection at this place called “The Magic Buzz” that I nearly walked out of the most phenomenal fuzzy psych record store without buying a thing. I was jotting down notes and nuggets of musical knowledge the whole time I was there, picking the brain of the owner for ’60s garage rock gems.

In short, I love the way a hi-hat cymbal sounds when turned down so low that you can hear it hiss from the needle. I love that the listener is guided to listening to the entire side of a record. Vinyl requires effort and isn’t something that’s convenient. I find that it requires sitting down and really listening. That’s one of my favorite things about vinyl, I think.

One monumental occasion was when my friend Tim met me at a bar in Portland and out of the blue brought me a sealed copy of the 2011 release of The Beach Boys’ Smile. It said “The Most Anticipated Album in Rock and Roll History.” He pointed it out and it was like “shit, man, this record is important, monumental, and ground breaking, and I haven’t listened to it and it’s almost 50 years old. It’s something to be regarded and listened to as if it were a whisper.” I waited to listen to that album until I had the peace of an entire evening to listen to both sides A and B without any distraction. I went to my parent’s place to listen to the album and shared it with my dad. The way that you couldn’t tell when a song ended or began was incredible to say the least. The flow of the album would have been missed for me if I could have skipped through tracks.

Sometimes I feel like vinyl is the musical equivalent of a fine wine or bourbon. It’s something you sip on and let it flow through you. You take a taste and see how it finishes. Maybe that’s a little bit too much, but it’s definitely an experience. Records are important. I’m glad to see that vinyl has had the resurgence it’s gotten. It’s great to collect, but I don’t really collect to “collect.” I pick up records to listen.

As an artist releasing my first album on 12″ vinyl, I can’t say I’m more proud. There’s nothing more exciting than to hear your songs on vinyl. It was a milestone to say the least. Vinyl is important and it’s a great way to release your music in a physical medium that matters to your fans. I’m looking forward to getting feedback on what they hear…or just hope that someone enjoys that same hiss and crackle that gets me every time.”
Eric Nordby

Norman’s third album, Into the Eventyr hits store shelves on November 12, 2013 via Hey Amigo Records.

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