Millenial Vinyl Revival
Music distribution has gone digital, with streaming taking over physical sales. But throughout this change, vinyl records have managed to make a big cultural comeback, particularly with millenials. I go through the collections of a few Melbourne locals and talk to them about their connection to vinyl.
When did you start collecting vinyl?
About five years ago, I was working as a bartender and I made friends with the DJ there who was into disco and weird edits which he spun on vinyl. I asked him for some tips on where to pick up these records.
Tell me about your favourite record
Acid tracks by Phuture. I’ve seen this guy play live and the sound was so overwhelming, I felt absorbed, you just can’t get that with other experiences. He is a Detroit DJ but this track was one of the first songs to really feature the Roland 303 synth which kick started the acid house trend, especially in north England with feral 16 year old kids. This sort of sub culture came with it, people dressing like Bowie and youngsters going to these mad raves. That synth is on so many songs i love. If this track started that trend then I’ve got a love for that.
Why do you spend money on vinyl when you can access any song online cheaply and easily?
For me it’s that classic thing of having a tangible object, it’s fun having the physical library. When you download an album it just goes onto your laptop, but if you think about it, we change devices all the time and you lose it, or it just goes into some random folder and you never see it again. Vinyl you have forever.
What made you start your collection?
I’d always been into music, and about four years ago a friend of mine basically bought a couple of turntables and a mixer and some records. I had never paid attention to what a DJ actually does, or thought about the process of getting from one record to the next, and I thought this all seemed like an interesting idea. Now I play gigs once in a while, but most of the time I’ll be home and record a mix and put it online, it’s just a really fun hobby.
Do you remember what your first record was?
Yeah I do, it was Selected Ambient works 85–92 by Aphex Twin.
What do you love about having a your music on vinyl?
You don’t get the real tactile response with a CD that you do with records. Also every time you get a new record, you expand your possibilities. You start to mix it with certain other records and work out what sounds good. My favourite thing is getting a big order and going through them one by one.
I like owning physical copies of songs and albums that I like. I’ve always been scared that I’ll take them somewhere and lose them, and it’s less so because of the money, but more because with every record you buy, you went to effort to get it. It’s also fun meeting people who don’t know much about it. There’s been times when I’m playing out and someone comes up to me and is like, “You play with records? Respect, that’s sick.” It’s cool that people are excited by it, that’s how I was when I started. I will always prefer records.
How did you get into DJing with vinyl?
It was through friends who were DJs, I started to have a play and use their turn tables and then all of a sudden…
Once you go to a mate’s place who has a record collection, you actually hear the sound quality, then you pick up the record, and it’s addictive if you’re into music.
Do you have a favourite record?
Break the Dawn by Crystal & S. Koshi. I have others which are favourites but for different scenarios. This one gets the best reaction from people, I put it on and everyone enjoys it.
For you, what’s the difference in playing with vinyl?
Being a purist in terms of music, I love the fundamentals of music and DJing. If you see someone doing a mix with CDJs, it sort of takes away from it because anyone can do it. DJing with vinyl is actually quite difficult, I have spent a lot of nights up here just train wrecking mixes. It’s hard learning to listen to two different tracks and hear which one is going faster.
Also this form of collecting is more curated. If you have 100 gigabytes on your iPod, you fill it with anything just because you have the space, and you only listen to some of it. It will be interesting to see what the next ten years will hold, I don’t know if people will go back to MP3.