Hey guys, It’s been a while since I’ve put out any vinyl content so today I’m back answering all of your vinyl related questions, all of these were asked by my wonderful Instagram followers, if you’re not already following me over there then you definitely should you can find me @lucy_mccourt_blog , I’m so close to 10k followers which is mental!
You all know I’m so passionate about vinyl so I wanted to break the hobby down and make it more accessible as I get a lot of questions from young people interested in getting into it but slightly intimidated by it all.
How and why did you get into it?
So I’m an extremely sentimental person, I’ve got a bit of a hoarding issue, I don’t throw anything away and generally, I just like to accumulate and collect things. I think that and my combination of loving music is what kickstarted wanting to collect but a general appreciation for physical music is what keeps it going. I feel like it’s the purest form of music consumption and as a result of steaming becoming as big as it has I owe it to the artists I love and appreciate to support them in the best way I can financially, even if I only listen to an album on Spotify I tend to purchase on vinyl if I can because it’s my way of paying it back to the artists.
So that’s why I got into it, how, was pretty easy, I started out with a suitcase-style turntable I believe cost around £30 I then went up to a slightly higher priced £40 one before jumping to a JAM turntable and speaker setup that cost around £150 and I’ve now had my Audio Technica LP120 for 2 years. It’s all gradual, you don’t have to jump into the deep end with it and I think that’s a common misconception. In terms of building a collection, I’d say make the first record you buy your favourite album at that moment, not of all time just right now, make it something you’re going to get a lot of listens out of. Mine was Ed Sheeran’s ‘Multiply’, that was my favourite album at that time and I spun it a lot!
Is there a certain way they should be stored?
Yes, they should be stored upright out of direct sunlight and not too close to any heat sources like radiators. Stacking them on top of each other can just cause them to warp due to the weight which similarly will happen if they get too hot. No one wants melted warped records! Ikea Kallax units are the best and cheapest way to store your collection if you want easy access to them but storage boxes are great if you maybe don’t have the space or you’re just starting out and have a smaller collection. They also tend to be pretty cheap, I’d recommend heading out to your local charity shop to see if they have any in because they’re usually a lot cheaper than buying new from your typical HMV, Amazon etc. I found 2 7” boxes for £2.50 each so it doesn’t have to be expensive at all but storage is a really important part, especially since records aren’t cheap, you want to look after them!
What are your thoughts on the intimidating nature of the community?
There definitely is something intimidating as a young person and I’ve found especially being female since there is a large majority of older men who have a bit of an elitist complex. You’ve just got to ignore it and be willing to learn I think. There are a lot of young people who in a way I guess give us a bad name, you know the ones who buy them to open on YouTube purely for the aesthetics and handle them poorly. As far as I’m concerned, they’ve spent their money on it and they’re engaging with physics media which is so important and something I’m extremely passionate about so it’s not really something I’m too concerned about. However, there is a difference between people like that and those, like myself who site it as a more serious hobby. Everyone’s got to buy their first record and I don’t know how many intend for it to become a hobby but any interest in vinyl has only got to be a positive so don’t give a fuck about what anyone has to say!
Explain to me picture discs is there a loss of quality?
Yes, the audio quality is somewhat often compromised when it comes to picture discs. Pretty much and image is placed underneath the PVC of which the grooves are then pressed into which tends to make they slightly more shallow. At the end of the day though you can get some really fucking cool picture disks so sometimes it’s worth sacrificing the quality a little. I love them!
Why do Crosley Cruisers get so much hate?
Because they are just a bit shit really but in terms of being an entry-level turntable I totally understand the appeal, they do look cute and I guess for a lot of people they don’t want to jump in with a bigger built black and grey turntable, the pastel colours are fun and of course, they have the speakers built-in so there’s no need to worry about buying any other equipment. I personally advise against playing any expensive important records on them unless you want the grooves chewed up. Again coming back to the point I made earlier if you’re spending your money on it then why am I or anyone else to judge. You can still be extremely passionate about vinyl and own a Crosley.
Records have surface noise though and Spotify hasn’t so why bother?
As John Peel once said ‘Listen Mate Life Has Surface Noise’
Would you recommend pressing onto vinyl when you release a single or only album and EP?
I love a single release, especially from a smaller up and coming band. I think from a financial standpoint for both artists and fan it works better than a bigger 12” release. Less risk associated and is great for easing in new listeners while standing out against the crowd with a physical release! So 100% single release!
My ‘Unknown Pleasures’ pressing keeps skipping on the first couple of tracks, what do I do?
That’s weird, if it’s the 40th-anniversary pressing I’ve not had any issues but I’ve seen a couple of people on Reddit having similar issues with it! Sometimes you can just get a bit of a dodgy copy. I don’t think it’s an issue with your needle, setup or anything like that since it’s only on a few tracks. I’d recommend giving it a good dust over, if you’ve got any cleaning solution that’s great. If that doesn’t work I’d say get in touch with whoever you brought it from and ask for an exchange or refund, shouldn’t be an issue.
Does collecting vinyl mean I have to listen to old music?
Certainly not, the vinyl resurgence has seen pretty much every pop artist put their albums out onto vinyl which is so cool to see because unlike the ’70s and 80’s they don’t need to, we have streaming so for artists to still be backing the format is great! For a lot of artists, physical releases are still a great source of income since Spotify pays them fuck all, but that’s a topic for another day. I did however personlly find vinyl a great way to get into older music, I think a big part of me getting into bands like Black Sabbath and The Damned was down to picking up cheap copies of their stuff at record fairs so if you want to experiment a bit second hand older stuff is great!
Do you see vinyl still being around in 5 years or will the popularity die down again?
Hopefully, it will be, while I think to an extent the resurgence has been a craze there are definitely a lot of people like myself who have become super passionate about the format and hopefully should be able to carry it on
So there we are I hope I’ve cleared up some of your questions, be sure to follow me on instagram @Lucy_Mccourt_Blog because if you guys enjoyed this I’ll definitely me up for making a part 2!