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Music |

Spindle’s Record Of Record Store Day

Tuesday 21 April 2015

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Words Ailis Mara

It’s Record Store Day 2015, and whilst scribbling down some notes, an older man approached me asking if I knew what bands were playing. He told me that both him and his wife sold off their record collections about twenty-five years ago, and for the last ten years they had both been regretting it.

”Despite the fact that you can’t get the same sound quality you get from vinyl anywhere else, I must admit I get most of my music from iTunes these days. It’s convenient, and it doesn’t take up your entire living room. That said, I’d go back in time and keep them all if I could.”

Walking around eavesdropping on people discussing their love for music, whether it’s punk, electro, classic rock or Norwegian death metal, I realised they all had one thing in common. They all celebrate music in its physical form. And that’s what Record Store Day is all about.

Being able to pick up your favourite album and admire the artwork of a vinyl sleeve, or browsing through a CD leaflet – that can never be replaced by digital downloading or streaming.

As long as people love music, the physical record is here to stay. And so is Record Store Day.

Inside Sister Ray

After a wander around Berwick Street, Spindle got the chance to sit down with some of the bands that performed at Record Store Day this year, here’s what two of Oxford via Ashby-de-la-Zouch’s finest indie musicians, Henry and Oliver from Young Knives, say about records, tea and the worship of vinyl.

What does Record Store Day mean to you?

Henry: It’s like Mother’s Day for music, a celebration of records.
Oliver: It’s a day where people get together and worship vinyl.

Do you buy alot of records yourself?

Henry: Not as much as I used to.
Oliver: Neither do I, but I’ve got a decent collection at home.

I accidentally broke one of them and saw online that you could melt vinyl into bowls, so I gave that a try

and it turned out pretty well! I did go out and get a new one for my collection though, as the old one wasn’t fit for purpose anymore.

Do you prefer vinyl over CD’s?

Henry: Definitely! You can compare vinyl and CDs with loose tea and tea bags; Tea bags are decent enough and pretty convenient, but if you really want to sit back and enjoy a proper brew, you want the fancy loose tea. Sure, CD’s are fine, but you don’t get the same unique sound quality that you do with vinyl.

As artists, what’s your opinion on digital downloading and streaming?

Henry: I guess we just have to accept it and find a way to work within it. Record companies doesn’t want to take any risks, so unless they’re certain you will produce a bunch of hits, they’re not willing to put any money into you.

We recorded our newest album at home and did most of the work ourselves. And actually, compared to the one we did before that cost a whole lot more to make, this one sounds a lot better.

Have you participated at Record Store day before?

Henry: It’s one of those things we’ve always wanted to do, and every year we would get to mid-March and be like ”Aaah, too late again…”, but this year we really got our act together, and we released an EP on blue vinyl called ”Something Awful”. A Record Store Day special with only 500 copies made.
Oliver: We did a fanzine for it as well that has contributions from lots of people, including Paul Smith and Maxïmo Park.

Do you see a future for physical music?

Henry: I hope so.

Then it was Ryley Walker’s turn… Between his performance at the Record Store Day event in Berwick Street and his sold out gig at Sebright arms he found the time to sit down for a chat.

What does Record Store Day mean to you?

It’s like a fun holiday – the best holiday! A celebration of the entire culture, and a really good opportunity to talk to independent labels and stores, and just buy loads of records.

Do you buy a lot of records?

Yeah, I’ve been buying a lot of free jazz records lately. I mostly buy CDs when I’m on the road as it’s more convenient than hauling around a bunch of vinyl, but I do get vinyl too.

If an album is really good I’ll get the vinyl. That way you get the beautiful artwork as well, and then it’s just there in your life, a work of art.

Do you see a future for physical music?

Definitely. The majority of mainstream popular music might sell less records than it used to, but the underground will always crave the physical album, whether it’s on vinyl or CD.

Next, Lazytalk gave us the lowdown on what the day truly means to them, the future of vinyl and the official start of summer.

What does Record Store day mean to you?

It’s a really good way to help keep independent shops alive, you get all these people coming together for their mutual love of music.

Do you as artists feel like digital downloading and streaming affects you?

Yes and no. It’s a really good way to get your music out there, but it also makes it a lot more difficult to make a living from it. Big bands can go on tour and make money that way, while smaller bands often have to play for free, at the same time as they barely get any money from online streaming and record sales.

It’s a vicious circle of doing things for free just to get people hearing your music, and it’s very difficult to get out of.

Do you see a future for physical music?

Yeah, people want to own a CD or vinyl, and be able to see it and hold it in their hands. It’s not just about the music on them, they’re collectables in themselves.

Have you participated at Record Store Day before?

No, but we’ve wanted to get involved for quite a while. It’s such a good atmosphere with all the people getting together. It’s just one big street party where everyone shares a passion for music. And on a sunny day like today it’s almost like it’s the official start of summer!

And finally, Spindle had the honour of sitting down with Andy Gill, the only original member left in influential post-punk band, Gang of Four. Before the interview started, he took the time to chat about everything from Scandinavia to Moby Dick – which, by the way, he highly recommends people to read.

What does Record Store Day mean to you?

A day like today reminds people what it’s all about – the music, and the people and process behind it. It connects the people who make music, with the people who love music.

How do you as an artist feel streaming and digital downloading affects you?

You can’t make a living out of having your music streamed online, and I know a lot of musicians have issues with that.

I keep hearing it will change, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

When it comes to digital downloading I don’t have a problem with that, I buy music off iTunes and pay decent money for it, that’s how it should be. Then there’s that whole thing with piracy – it’s funny how people wouldn’t go to Tesco and steal a chocolate bar, but they don’t have any problems with downloading an entire album where so many people have put lots of time, effort and money behind it.

Do you buy records?

Rarely. I’m quite a busy man, and I only listen to music when I’m driving. If I could choose I’d listen to vinyl all the time, but having a good old record player in my car probably wouldn’t be the most practical thing – I’d need huge balloon-like tyres as every little bump in the road would make the needle jump.

Do you see a future for physical music?

I’m not sure. People say vinyl sales are going up, but the industry has changed so much over the past few decades. In the 80’s, record labels would throw money at bands, and you ended up with all these lazy musicians getting paid an absolute fortune to do nothing.

Today, bands are struggling to even get the money to record an album and get it out there – it’s really hard to make a living from music in this day and age. I hope events like this can help keep the record alive, and introduce it to the younger generation.