Envy on the Coast,
The TVD First Date

“I didn’t have a very romantic introduction to vinyl. Truth be told, my initial reason for even considering collecting vinyl was to be one of the people who talked about records and derided people who didn’t have whatever record you were supposed to have because ‘how do you not have that?’”

“I grew up in the ’90s with a turntable I wasn’t allowed to touch and with records from bands that I didn’t care to listen to. It always seemed like my Dad was more concerned about my not fucking with his turntable and records than enjoying them. One memory that always sticks out with regard to my initial response to vinyl was hearing the keyboard introduction to “Walk Of Life” by Dire Straits and being so enthralled with the tone of it, even before I knew what a tone was, it made me want to dance. Then, one day they were gone. All of them. The whole turntable, every record, and it was replaced by a shiny new Sony CD player with a 50 disc changer. A new thing I couldn’t touch.

I think my 6-year-old self’s passive aggressive response to this change in scenery was to put an oatmeal cookie into the CD tray. That got a big reaction.

I don’t think I actually put my hands on a record until I was in my early 20s, when it was safe. At that point I’d amassed a CD collection, then forgot about it when I got my first iPod. The bands I listened to didn’t really put out vinyl, but my curiosity was piqued when a college friend put on Telefon Tel Aviv’s Farenheit Fair Enough for me. The sonic experience of that recording was my first tangible memory of being moved by sound, not necessarily a song. Thusly, my introduction to electronic music and consequently, my introduction to the power of production.

I decided that it was going to be my first vinyl purchase since everyone had told me that it ‘always sounds better on vinyl.’ I did my due diligence and found a copy from a small distributor and was shocked when they wanted $50 for it. They used words like ‘limited pressing’ and ‘180 grams’ to sell me the experience of this record, so I figured it had to be worth it.

It came in the mail and I had my very shitty record player ready to experience this sonic bliss and needless to say, I was disappointed. It sounded like a scratchy version of the recordings I fell in love with. Now I had a $50 record with a $60 turntable and a lot of bum-out vibes. There had to be more.

At one point, my Dad told me about how he and his friends would have vinyl parties where people would come with choice records and they’d all take turns playing tunes. When I showed him my setup, he was like ‘I’ve never heard of this Telephone band, but what is that record player? It looks junky.’

Cool.

A year or two later he called and said that one of his buddies he used have the vinyl parties with was letting go of his entire vinyl collection from the ’70s and ’80s and asked if I was interested in taking it off his hands. Free. I accepted his offer and went by his house with him to check out the haul and it was A LOT.

He had everything from early ’60s psych singles he got while overseas to late ’80s pop records. By that point, I’d gathered a small collection on my own of like 20 records I liked to play on my shitty record player, resigned to the fact that I’d never have the means to experience vinyl the way the big boys did.

In the transaction of taking the vinyl off his hands he asked me what kind of needle my record player took.

‘Uh, I don’t know. Crosley?’

‘That plastic garbage? Jesus. Don’t play my records on that thing.’

And then he handed me a dusty turntable and said “Technics 1200 MK2. That should hold you over.”
Brian Byrne

Envy on the Coast’s brand new EP “Ritual” is in stores now—on red vinyl.

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PHOTO: ADAM ELMAKIAS

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