Permahorn,
The TVD First Date

“I’m not sure exactly where my attraction to vinyl came from. Growing up I had aunts and uncles living nearby and they would all have a small collection under a record player—so for my eldest uncle that would be ’50s rock ’n’ roll; my aunt would have a lot of Motown; the youngest had a massive Rolling Stones collection. And my granddad had the 1812 Overture, Edith Piaf, and Dean Martin! All on thick, inky black vinyl in heavy card sleeves.”

“Despite being a classic Scottish indie kid, I never really collected singles. It was always albums. I liked the journey they took you on. They seemed a better deal because you got more for your money. When I was very small I’d ask for stuff—Suzi Quatro, Adam and the Ants, Eurythmics, David Bowie—based on what I’d seen on Top of the Pops (for non-Brits, think MTV in tank tops).

I still have them all—and the beauty of vinyl is in them. For example, Kings of the Wild Frontier had a picture inner sleeve and a booklet which detailed the history of the band, their influences and discography. I’d pore over that for hours, while listening. It was a piece of art—with sounds and images that you could touch. And from that booklet I went off into the Velvet Underground, David Bowie, and the Stooges.

When I started choosing and buying my own records I’d go into Fopp or Avalanche in Edinburgh and trawl through the racks. I was never a massive fan of second-hand records—I liked buying them new. Pristine. And because they weren’t yet rare and expensive, you could take a chance. So I’d buy records by bands I’d heard people talk about, records with interesting artwork and recommendations of the owner, Kevin: “Just got a box through from Flying Nun, have you heard of the Tall Dwarfs?”

I stopped buying records when I moved to Japan. I bought CDs there—and later digital. But coming back to the UK and settling down meant I could reconnect with my collection. But for a long time it was just a historical record. I rarely played them. I listened to Spotify at work and iTunes at home.

Then it dawned on me that I was hearing more music than ever but listening to less. I was so impatient and judgmental. Songs on Spotify get 10 seconds to impress or they’re skipped. Or my attention wanders and it becomes background wallpaper.

But some of my absolute all-time favourite records were those I really had to invest time in. Bands like The Fall, Half Japanese, Sonic Youth, they didn’t give up their genius easily. I was maybe missing out on music that I just needed to know better.

And that’s what I like about vinyl—the connection. You have to consciously stop and decide to listen. To take a record out and let it fill the room for at least 19 minutes. I get all the attraction about the artwork, the cover, the gatefold, the inner sleeves, the inserts. It’s seductive. But it’s the act of listening that I really love.

I took out membership in Rough Trade’s album club when I was getting back into vinyl in order to force me to listen to stuff I’d not usually listen to. As a result I’ve discovered Wand, The Districts, Ezra Furman… I keep thinking, I HAVE to listen to these albums because I’ve paid a f*cking fortune for them. It doesn’t always work, of course. As hard as I tried, I just could not get into Elaenia by Floating Points, despite EVERYONE saying it was a work of genius. But I tried.

When we were offered a deal with Shimmy-500 and vinyl was mentioned, we started talking about gatefolds, inserts, vinyl weight, and colour options. It was pornographic. I was digging out examples of paper types from other albums (Thurston Moore, Joy Division) to make sure we didn’t get a shiny plasticky sleeve. The CDs were churned out—and they’re great, but CDs, like all other CDs. And it’s cool because it’s physical and it’s us. But the vinyl, that’s a work of art. Not a plastic throwaway product. A heavy, tactile, sexy piece of art.

My mum and dad don’t have a record player any more. The Beatles and the Stones have gone. But they have My Blood Carries My Dreams Away by Permahorn framed on the wall.”
Saint Pauly

Permahorn’s debut, full length release My Blood Carries My Dreams Away is in stores now—on vinyl.

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