Tag Archives: Vinyl

Where Everybody Knew Your Name

By Tony Fernandez:

In the seemingly never-ending social media debate of Digital vs Vinyl, you hear the same points brought up time after time…

Vinyl is better

Digital is better

Record crates suck (this is actually true…)

Vinyl sounds warmer

Digital sounds cleaner

Vinyl made selection a skill

Digital made selection ubiquitous

Blah, blah, blah….

But the query that inspired me to put these words down was this: To what extent do you miss the social interaction with music /record store employees (who were usually fellow music lovers and/or DJs) that was inherent in buying vinyl records vs the isolated process of digital downloads?

I have to admit when I think about it I do miss that aspect of the vinyl world.

Going to record stores for me was an adventure. I was lucky enough to do a little bit of traveling and I would always check out the local record shops when I would be in a new town. It never failed that I would find some diamond in the rough that was overlooked by everyone else.

It was like a secret society. Once people knew you were a DJ and became a “regular”, things opened up. People treated you nicer and would grant you access to areas of the store the general public didn’t have. They would show you the under the counter stuff or the back room stuff.   Getting access to promo releases and white label prints on a retail level was not an easy feat. I’m glad to say I was able to cultivate a nice circle of stores where I could find some really choice pieces of wax.

And honestly, the people the worked there, the managers and the owners, they were really about the music. And that’s the part that was cool. It was like walking into the Cheer’s Bar, the people there would know who you were, be happy to see you and just catch up. I’m pretty sure to some I was just another customer, and that was OK. But by and large, everyone I met at the record store was very cool and always willing to help you in the task of finding the unique piece.

It was all about the journey. Making road trips to certain record stores because you were either going to play there that night or you just wanted to make a road trip and eat at that local restaurant. One thing for certain, the trip was not going to be in vain. You’d either come back with awesome tunes, a great meal or both.

I love playing “records”. But I still use SSL. I don’t miss lugging 40 lb crates loaded with vinyl. I don’t really miss the act of digging in the crates. I still do that in the digital space now. Not the same, but the results are the same. I do miss making those road trips and being a vinyl Indiana Jones. Nothing really beat having that piece of wax in your hand, placing it on the platter, dropping the track and having your friends ask, where did you find that?

My answer was always the same… don’t worry about it, it doesn’t matter, I got the last one.

Keep ‘em spinning.

Based out of Richmond, VA, DJ Tony Fernandez has been a DJ, Remixer, Producer, Musical Soothsayer and Audio Gear Oracle since 1980. Find him on facebook. Email djtonytf@gmail.com

4 Things No One Misses About DJing (and one thing you should!)

By Glen Ervin:

Crack a cold one with my dad and he’d inevitably fall into telling you how the Designated Hitter Rule and the equally un-American embrace of expansion teams ruined baseball.

Like father, like son.

Join me for a brew and odds are you’ll hear me go grumpy old man about my favorite pastime, too. My favorite go-to, inevitably: “DJing was better in the day.”

But was it really?

Decide for yourself. Let’s take off the rose-colored beer goggles for a look back at a few things I suspect no one much misses — and the one thing we may all have to say goodbye to forever.

Shopping for music – While I didn’t have to walk 15 miles uphill both ways to buy music when I was kid, I did have to make a 90-mile pilgrimage to the bright lights and big bins of Orlando’s Orange Avenue for the “good stuff.” It was there I would spend entire afternoons combing through albums, along with other preternaturally pale music nerds, some who are still friends today — none of who would trade the ability to download the newest releases from the comfort of their favorite chair for days gone by.

FUN FACT: In 1985 a typical album was $9.98. That’s $22.42 in 2016 dollars.

Lugging Crates – I never weighed a crate of vinyl, but if I had to guess I’d say it fell somewhere between    ‘are you kidding me’ and ‘call 911.‘ On the plus side, gravity did inspire me to pare my options down to well-planned playlists, the downside of which was that I could never plan for everything. Given my druthers (and my age) I much prefer the unbearable lightness of my laptop.

 Upgrading Formats – If my research is correct, and it should be because I didn’t do any, in the 1990s the record labels made approximately a bazillion dollars getting us to repurchase the same music we bought on vinyl on “indestructible” compact discs. The only thing I miss about that is my money.

 Vinyl – Here’s a dirty little secret you won’t see on the “Real DJs Spin Vinyl” threads spreading like Zika on social media these days: Even the best cared for vinyl will crackle and pop after repeated use. And as for vinyl sounding “better,” the lossless CD-quality files reputable DJ pools offer provide the same high-res 24-bit audio the artist hears upon studio playback. If warmer sounding is what you’re looking for, a few filters, a little mid-range boost and analog speakers are all it takes. Nostalgia does not equal great sound, just nostalgic sound.

The Sanctity of the DJ Booth – Not so long ago audiences expected a DJ to DJ. Just as you wouldn’t tell a plumber how to fix a faucet or your barber how to cut hair, you wouldn’t think of walking into a club and telling the DJ how to do his highly specialized job. The mere fact that he was at that club said it all: You went to that club to hear that DJ.

I miss that.

After being turned out to pasture following a 16-year club residency, Glen Ervin finds himself gainfully employed as Promo Only sales manager, media consultant and staff writer.