Hidden In The Sun,
The TVD First Date
& Vinyl Giveaway

“Listening to vinyl has become “holy” ritual, a personal passion, and even a part of my profession.”

“Touring around America, I have been able to listen to vinyl in various environments on many different systems. When the right environment, a good stereo, and the perfect record all come together, it’s like time stops. I’m forced to put aside what I’m doing, be in the moment, and just listen. George Jones and Hank Williams on a Silvertone in Joshua Tree, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones through an RCA console in Austin, Clyde Murphy (The Gospel Singing Coal Miner) on a Califone in West Virginia. These experiences, and many of my most profound music listening experiences, have centered around vinyl.

My earliest memories of vinyl are from my childhood, when my mom would play records from her collection on Sunday mornings. I would wake up those Sunday mornings to Jazz or Classical music coming from our living room. The sounds of artists like Dave Brubeck and Stan Getz, or composers like Bach and Dvořák would fill our home.

My interest in music started as early as I can remember, and I recall laying on our living room floor and listening with curiosity while pouring over the artwork of these records. Though I grew up in the Bible Belt of Tulsa, Oklahoma, we were not a particularly religious family. But through this weekly Sunday morning ritual, I began to associate vinyl with a holy day, as something special. While many people were sitting in church, we were listening to records. And these listening experiences became to me “holy” ritual, a ritual that has continued on for me into my adult years, as vinyl developed into a personal passion, and even a part of my profession.

I still remember the day in the early ’90s that I saw a DJ on MTV spinning records on two turntables. This intrigued me, and though at the time I was heavily exploring Classic Rock like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Jimi Hendrix, I also began to seek out Hip-Hop and early Electronic music. As a teenager, I started to get my hands on DJ mixtapes that began to trickle in from the UK and major American cities. I was already drumming professionally at the time, and the sounds of early Jungle and Drum & Bass really caught my ear. The intricate rhythms and chopped up breakbeats amazed me and began to heavily influence my playing. I was also strongly attracted to the drum heavy music coming out on labels like Ninja Tune and Warp Records. This led me to attend my first rave in Oklahoma. The experience was so unique and eye-opening that I was hooked. So hooked that upon graduating high school, I used the graduation money I received to buy two used Technic 1200 Turntables, a simple 2-Channel mixer, and 10 vinyl records from the local DJ shop, Thing One Records. This was the beginning of my own vinyl collection.

I soon got a part-time job at Thing One Records. As an employee, I can recall pouring over the vinyl distribution sheets and marking releases for the owner to order. Regardless of whether I was scheduled to work or not, I would always be waiting at the door when those vinyl shipments arrived, and I wouldn’t leave until I had played each record. The sounds I was hearing seemed so new and fresh to my ears, and these experiences deepened my love for the vinyl medium delivering these sounds. I also discovered Breakbeat Science in New York City, and different shops in the UK, and began placing my own vinyl orders. With the internet being fairly new and hard to navigate, looking for a specific record could take months. As a young teenager in Oklahoma, calling New York City or London was exciting. Locking down a record was never certain, and after ordering I would often have to wait a month or longer for it to arrive.

Every time I got those shipments in my hand, it was like Christmas morning, and it was during these years that I began to develop my own ritual around vinyl. Openings those boxes and putting the needle down became an event. And as I started to play out professionally as a DJ throughout the region, my DJ friends and I referred to vinyl as “Black Crack.” The addiction was real, and every penny I could spare began going to new vinyl. I would spend hours every night spinning records, listening to mixtapes, and searching out new tracks. My initial 10 records eventually turned into 10 crates of vinyl. But as DJ’s moved towards digital, and my favorite vinyl shops began to go out of business, my focus turned back to drumming full-time, and my daily vinyl addiction became a little more manageable and “healthy.”

These days, while I appreciate the accessibility and ease of digital downloads, vinyl records still invite me to listen to music on a deeper level. There is something special about holding that tangible piece of music in your hands. The weight of it, the large artwork, the audio imperfections, and the crackles and pops all trigger an emotional response that I don’t get from digital downloads. With the vinyl format, it’s less about a single track, and more about the album, and the journey it takes you on from start to finish. My bandmates in Hidden in the Sun share this appreciation of vinyl. We’re proud of our first full-length album Seven Seasons, and we’re excited to offer it as a double vinyl LP. We know from our own experience that bringing together the right environment, a good system, and a good vinyl record can be downright life changing.

When I’m home, I still play records on my Technic 1200s. Listening to a new record is still an event for me, and now, my “holy” ritual is pouring a glass of scotch, dimming the lights, lighting incense, opening that new record, and putting the needle down. I love how vinyl brings me into the present moment. It gives me a reason to block out time, push aside distractions, and simply listen and experience music. As a child, listening to those records on Sunday mornings started something special for me. And I know that my love and appreciation for vinyl is something that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.”
Scott Rouse, drums

Seven Seasons by Hidden in the Sun arrives in stores on January 20th, 2015. Enter to win a copy on vinyl by telling us in the comments below what LP is part of your own “holy ritual.” We’ll choose one spirited winner with a North American mailing address a week from today, January 19, 2015. Winner will be notified directly via email.

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  • Lisa

    Well, I live with the author, and frequently take part in his weekly listening ritual.  And about once a month, we sit down with our roomate and all our new records and just listen together.  They are my favorite evenings!  Great article, Scott!

  • Diana

    What a wonderful article!  And the perfect expression of the relationship between a person and the vinyl record.  Little did we know the impact those Sunday morning records would have on Scott.

  • aarondltd

    I like to put on Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Lady Land! 🙂

  • crowbarmark

    I like to get REAL spiritual by putting on any of my Tom Waits LPs.  I get down and DIRTY SPIRITUAL.

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