Ben de la Cour,
The TVD First Date

“Growing up in Brooklyn, music was always playing in our household. My earliest childhood memory was hearing Jimi Hendrix for the first time—I distinctly remembering my mom telling me she had something I needed to listen to.”

“I remember her walking over to our old stereo and loading the CD. I remember the sound of the disc spinning. And from that first second of the first bars of “All Along the Watchtower,” my little child-mind was blown into smithereens in a way that I’ve still since not come back from. I saw in technicolor for the first time. Nothing would be the same.

We also listened to a lot of Dylan, The Everly Brothers, Captain Beefheart, Bob Marley, Van Morrison, The Doors, Little Feat, The Rolling Stones, Queen, and The Band and Jackson Browne. Then I got into my teens and discovered bands like Black Sabbath, Nirvana, Slayer, and The New York Dolls as well as Nick Cave, Townes Van Zandt, Tom Waits and Warren Zevon. I feel that my melodic sensibilities were probably more informed by the first phase, while my lyrics and guitar playing were more influenced by the latter. Or maybe it’s the other way round. What does it matter anyway—music saved my life. Or maybe it’s the other way round there too.

All my best friends were records. My folks played some vinyl, but when I was coming up CDs were more of a thing and were more portable so I played them a lot. I had some tapes too—I still remember skating around my neighborhood at around eleven years old with my omnipresent Clash tape blasting into my fragile ears. I think I also had Boys Don’t Cry by The Cure and Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying? by Megadeth. My best friends have always been songs and it never matter whether they were pressed onto wax, cassette or polycarbonate plastic. That’s not where songs live anyway.

I came back to vinyl as an adult, partly because it is less compressed and more sonically pleasing, but also because used vinyl is everywhere and it’s cheap as hell! It’s exciting to browse through bargain bins. Sometimes you discover artists that you used to love and listen to often but fell off the wagon somewhere along the way. I rediscovered Charlie Rich, Randy Newman, and James Taylor that way.

I love the ritual of putting a record on. The tactile aspect of it. Delicate, gentle—almost sensual. Vinyl demands to be listened to in a way that CDs do not. Music is the greatest alchemic process in human history, and I think the best way to witness the alchemy is obviously live performance. But vinyl is the next best thing. And that’s magical.”
Ben de la Cour

Shadow Land, the new full-length release from Ben de la Cour is in stores now.

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PHOTO: NELSON HUBBARD

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