Signe Marie Rustad,
The TVD First Date
and Premiere, “Not Without My Pen”

“My first memory of vinyl is also my very first memory of music.”

“I was 5 years old, sitting in the living room of our farmhouse, in a big red chair that was upholstered with some kind of wool material that made my bare legs itch. I had my red summer shorts on, it was a lazy Saturday afternoon and the TV was on with the sound muted. This was Norway in 1986, which meant there was only one TV channel. As a kid, I learned to appreciate the art of being bored through Saturday soccer matches snailing away across the screen while I waited for the evening cartoons to start.

Anyways, I was looking out of the window across a big field and onto my grandma’s house in the distance, dozing off to the sound of my parents making dinner in the kitchen. Next to me was my dad’s Tandberg vinyl player, brought into our family from his days as a bachelor years earlier. The records spinning on it, however, were always brought to the house by my music-loving mother. And on this particular Saturday, it was Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms that was playing.

My parents must have put it on before walking off to the kitchen, because I clearly remember being alone in the room when the first bass notes, then Mark Knopfler’s signature guitar and finally the coolness of the whole song “So Far Away” filled me with something I didn’t have the words to describe. If I did, it would probably have been something along the lines of “Oh, so THIS is what life is about!” Everything just felt exactly right.

When I was about 20 years old, I opened up a big brown cupboard during a visit back at my parents’ farm, and discovered my mother’s vinyl collection (including aforementioned Brother’s in Arms). I first pulled out Ladies of the Canyon by Joni Mitchell—the album cover spoke to me—and gave it a spin on the ’80s record player that had been collecting dust in my mother’s bedroom ever since the birth of the CD.

There was something about lowering that needle and hearing the mild crackling noises in between the tracks. Skipping songs seemed completely wrong. Listening through the whole album without interruption seemed like the only right thing to do. Sure, I can still remember the song sequencing of the R.E.M., Tori Amos, and Sheryl Crow CDs of my teens, but it feels more natural to skip a song playing off a CD than to actually lift up the needle and lower it again on a vinyl record.

I found the Tandberg player, which had introduced me to the power of music at age 5, in my parents’ attic, and brought it with me to my apartment in Oslo—along with all the gems from my mother’s vinyl collection: Joni Mitchell, Marvin Gaye, Emmylou Harris, Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt, Donovan, James Taylor, Commodores and more.
And in I dug.

For my upcoming third album When Words Flew Freely—the sequencing of the songs were set before I went into the studio to record. Every song is a story that can be told separately, but THE story—the common thread—can only be told when the record is played as a whole, with the songs in that particular order. I feel like the vinyl format enables artists to communicate the whole story to their listeners, because I do think there’s a better chance that people will listen to the album as a whole—not just to every song separately—in that format. Don’t get me wrong; I love listening to the same song on repeat, streaming songs separately, all that stuff—but I hope I’ll always feel the need to know the whole story.”
Signe Marie Rustad

“Not Without My Pen” is taken from Signe Marie Rustad’s third full-length release, When Words Flew Freely, in stores November 1, 2019 via Die With Your Boots On Recordson vinyl.

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