Ben Fields,
The TVD First Date
and Vinyl Giveaway

“I had access to a limited number of vinyl records as a kid. My parents had (as so many did) purged the vast majority of their extensive collection in favour of the new audio super-format—CDs. The rogues that remained included a copy of the White Album that my mom bought for me, a bunch of soca music (maybe that’s why I still love Trinidadian everything?!) Rubber Soul, Graceland, and enough Woody Guthrie to fill a museum. There were more too—some Dylan and Stones and a bunch of great jazz records.”

“My father brought the psychedelic stuff, he was right into the Stones, the Dead, and Little Feat. Those bands really started the obsession for me. My mom loves to dance, she grew up on 7 mile road in Detroit and had spent a lot of time moving to that Motown sound.

My first experience of actually seeking out music was with vinyl. I would go to the shelf where my parents kept it, find a record, and listen the whole way through. THAT was important—that I would go from one side to the other, experiencing hours of music that grew and changed, expanded and contracted, and then…finished.

I bought my vinyl (and CDs) at a place called the Record Archive in Rochester, NY. They had these bizarre commercials where a giant record guy danced around and told you the specials that week. It was the record store ad analog of Gene Wilder’s trip down the chocolate-psilocybin river in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

When I went to college (ha!) I did a couple of audio engineering courses. The lecturer explained how digital audio is ‘cut’ to remove the frequencies we don’t hear. Above 20k and below 20Hz exist frequencies which are beyond the range our ears to physically pick up. But his theory was that we miss a lot of the experience of music when it’s recreated this way. We may not ‘hear’ things at 60k, but we definitely have some experience of them. MP3s or streaming services are so heavily compressed that we miss out on a lot of the music we listen to. Put on a record you’ve heard only as an MP3 and you will experience detail that you didn’t know existed. I’ve done this and thought—’holy shit, there is a mandolin part on this track?!’ It really is that different.

As a drummer in a rock band in college, I tracked my first sessions to 24 track tape. I cut my debut solo record to 8 track 2″ tape, and found more warmth and body in that sound than I had ever heard in a studio. My vocals cracked and spat at the meters as they saturated every last inch of available space. And it sounded SO GOOD to me. All the while I was thinking about how amazing it would be to listen to my music on a great record player. The vinyl was the goal I saw 3 years ago when we cut the first tracks.

I bought myself 2 gifts when I signed to Sire. A 1964 Epiphone Texan and a Music Hall MMF turntable. I’m no audiophile, but I love what I hear in that system. It’s richness doesn’t sacrifice detail and vice versa. It’s like listening to a band.

Here’s my advice—USE COMPUTERS. They’re pretty popular, and for good reason. Use them for email, for buying shit if you want to, for organising things. And keep music in the physical world. Go see shows that you love. Don’t ‘support live music’ for the sake of it. Go when you’re moved, or when you need to be. But when you listen at home, put on pair of great headphones, turn off the lights, and fall in love with a record.”
Ben Fields

Ben Fields’ full length release, Extraordinary Light is available now—on vinyl. Enter to win a copy by citing in the comments below the single or album that to your ears was a revelation upon hearing it for the first time on vinyl. (“Holy shit, there is a mandolin part on this track?!”)

We’ll choose one winner with a North American mailing address a week from today, August 27!

Ben Fields Official | Facebook | Twitter

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  • poopyjeff

    Division Bell- Pink Floyd while my daughter was in ICU listened to it over and over always hearing new parts.

  • Opera93

    The Beatles- Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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