Slumberland Records, The Week at TVD:
Echo Lake’s Thom Hill

It’s been a bittersweet year for Thom Hill of UK-based dreampop band Echo Lake. The band’s longtime drummer Pete Hayes passed away in June, just as their debut LP, Wild Peace, was releasedPete and Thom had been playing music together since they were teenagers, and everyone at The Vinyl District was very saddened to hear of Pete’s passing. 

Thom Hill and Linda Jarvis founded Echo Lake in 2010 after meeting in a very British rock star way — at art school in London. First writing and recording as a duo, they’ve expanded the band for live shows and created an adventurous, melodic indie/psychedelic pop record that’s been climbing up the Rolling Stone college radio charts. We are very honored to have Thom round out the penultimate day of our Slumberland Records Week with his thoughts on independent record stores in the UK and the specialness and “gutsiness” of vinyl. 

The Week: Day 1‘s Q&A with label head Mike Schulman; Day 2‘s reminiscing with Black Tambourine’s Archie Moore; Day 3‘s entry by Terry Malts’ bass guitarist, Phil Benson; and Day 4 with Gold-Bears’ Jeremy Underwood. Check back on Monday too for your chance to win a bit of vinyl courtesy of Slumberland.

“At some point last year I was down to my last £20 and I had a big hole in my shoe. I took the short trip to Brick Lane to visit my usual cheap shoes guy, but on the way decided to stop off for a browse in Rough Trade. One of the new releases that week was the debut LP by our good friend Alessio, aka Banjo Or Freakout and all of a sudden I had a bit of a dilemma, new shoes or new vinyl?

After some debate with my girlfriend’s parents about what the most important purchase would be, we all agreed on a decision and the shoes lost out. There’s nothing better than the satisfaction of buying a new record and it’s also really exciting to be buying something that your friend was responsible for making. Not everybody gets to put out a record on vinyl; it’s a really special thing.

I grew up around vinyl, my uncle worked in a great record store in Birmingham and my dad used to have a second job there on weekends. Some of my earliest memories are being in that shop and the characters who used to hang out there. They also played great music there of course! It had a massive influence on me.

I remember The Stone Roses, REM, Nirvana, The The, and it’s amazing that even now I’ll hear a piece of music that I haven’t heard in years and it will take me back to that place.

When I turned 13 I was really into finding as much new music as possible and luckily I had access to my parents record collection. I was already a fan of The Beatles, The Smiths, and Oasis but after a year of being completely obsessed with Nevermind I wanted to expand and hear as much (mainly guitar) music as possible.

My favorite pastime at that age was to take a whole bunch of my dad’s records and sit in a corner with headphones on. In those moments, hearing Sonic Youth’s Goo or Dinosaur Jr’s Bug was life changing and I really think that if I was a kid these days I wouldn’t get the same buzz or romance of the whole experience listening to MP3s on a laptop.

There’s something undeniably special about a vinyl and I won’t bother going into too many of the clichés but it does have to be said that there is an element of celebration on that first listen whilst holding this piece of art in your hands. The artwork is a massive bonus because the record then becomes an item you want to keep forever. My friend Pete used to sometimes buy vinyl based purely on the artwork, if he liked it then he brought it. I always thought that was a really gutsy way of buying records and not necessarily an approach I adopted myself, in the risk of going home with a bad record. But it just goes to show the joy that people get out of vinyl in different ways.

I started writing music when I was 15 and it was my goal in life to release at least one 7” record, something that would last forever. Now we have just released our third record, our debut LP. I feel really fortunate to be in this position and I’m not going to lie. I will be popping into Rough Trade to see our record on the shelves because I’m a total geek and that’s ok when it comes to vinyl.”
—Thom Hill

Band photo: Natalia Stuyk

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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