Doug Locke,
The TVD First Date

“I first began my love affair with vinyl as a boy in Houston, Texas. Part of our Christmas routine was taking turns flipping LPs while trimming the tree and drinking eggnog. With the sounds of The Jackson 5, The Supremes, Carla Thomas, Stevie Wonder, and The Temptations as the backdrop, I fell in love with the ritual of vinyl. Searching for the right record for the moment, pulling it out the sleeve, cuing up the track and the warm buzz and crack of each record… Pure magic.”

“I credit my parents for planting the seeds of my love of music. My parents have 12 years between them so I benefit from growing up with a wide range of musical influences. My father introduced me to the ’60s and ’70s soul legends like Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Wilson Pickett, Millie Jackson, Aretha Franklin, and LTD. My mother introduced me to ’80s and ’90s pop and R&B from the likes of Michael Jackson, En Vogue, SWV, Tina Turner, and Mary J. Blige to name a few. This set the foundation for my taste in music.

When it comes the pursuit of vinyl, for me, it’s all about the hunt. I love the journey to procuring my favorite records just as much as I love having them in my collection. Each one tells a story. My favorite records to hunt for are mid ’90s/early 2000s pop and R&B. This music was the soundtrack of my adolescence and my first forays into developing my own musical taste. These records are particularly hard to find because at this point they were not being mass produced on vinyl in the USA.

Here’s a pro-tip, you can often find either European presses of these records or special versions that were serviced to DJs for the club scene. When you find one of these gems, the scarcity of these records makes acquisition that much more satisfying. Some of my favorites that I have acquired are an original European pressing of Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope, the Buffy The Vampire Slayer soundtrack (from the 1992 cult classic film), Jill Scott’s Who Is Jill Scott, Beyoncé’s solo debut Dangerously In Love, and Craig David’s Born to Do It.

When I’m traveling I satisfy my habit by always making time to visit a local record store. Some of my favorite records were found in shops in Temple Bar (Dublin), Camden Town (London), Portland, and Montreal. Phonopolis is an incredible small record shop in Montreal where I got an original edition of Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation (before the 2019 reissue of her albums). Every time I spin that record I’m transported back to that trip in the winter of 2015. Again, each record tells a story, and I love that.

Over the years my brothers and I have bonded over our mutual love of vinyl. It’s almost become a little competition amongst us to see who can find the most rare gems. I’m not ashamed to say that we’ve each secretly pilfered first editions of classics from our parents record collection… Sorry, not sorry! However, there is an unspoken understanding that certain records are off limits and must stay forever at our parents’ house for everyone’s enjoyment (ie: Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Sade’s Promise, and Van Morrison’s Moondance. After all, we weren’t raised by wolves.)

As we press on through COVID-19 quarantine, one of the things I miss most is going to physical record stores. Amoeba Records, is a legendary shop in LA that unfortunately lost their lease and closed during COVID. For me, Amoeba (or as my younger brother Thomas and I call it, Mecca) was a sanctuary. Every time my brother was in town we would hop in the car to make our pilgrimage. As soon as we walked through the doors, nothing else mattered. Any problems or stressors evaporated and were replaced with the giddy excitement of a child on Christmas Day. It was one of the last great big records stores, reminiscent of the Virgin Megastore and Tower Records, but with more soul and grit. I loved getting lost in the aisles diving into back catalogues of my favorite artists and discovering new ones.

Hopefully one day soon it will be safe to resume in store shopping and I pray that our record shops are able to survive.”
Doug Locke

The new EP from Doug Locke, “Why? (Lunar II)” is in stores now.

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PHOTO: JEREMY JACKSON

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