Indie Music Keeps Vinyl Close to Heart

by Johnette Figueroa

Keeping Vinyl Alive

A young boy from Manville, NJ, dances around his room, listening to his very first vinyl record. “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” by Wham, blares through his bedroom as he happily dances to the music. Little does he know that his very first vinyl record would jump-start his passion for music and turn him into a musician one day.

Adam Copeland, guitarist and singer for Black Water, a local independent band in New Jersey, laughs as he remembers his early record collection.

“All the other “records” I owned were basically an early version of audiobooks on 7″ vinyl for Star Wars movies,” said Copeland. “I’d put it on my little cheap plastic turntable and dance around the room like an idiot. It’s probably because of that formative experience that I get so much joy out of playing vinyl.”

Vinyl isn’t only for the young, it’s also for the young at heart. Jim Testa, reporter for The Star Ledger, feels that there is a certain mysticism attached to vinyl records.

“Listening to vinyl is a physical and aural experience. You really need to stop what you’re doing, decide what you want to hear, put it on the turntable, flip the record over when the first side ends,” said Testa. “I have to find time to listen to my vinyl but I find it a very immersive almost Zen like experience. It’s me connecting with music in a way that’s much more visceral and engaging than just popping in ear buds and clicking on your iPod as you do other things.”

These record enthusiasts have established their passion for vinyl records, but what about the process behind making these sometimes overlooked treasures? People rarely think about what goes into making vinyl records and how much time it takes to produce them.

Killing Horse Records, an independent record label based in Kearny, NJ, released the 7” record entitled “Urgency” by Ben Franklin on February 25, 2011. The record company will also be releasing a 7” record by Secret Country in April 2012. Michael Sylvia, co-owner of Killing Horse Records, enjoys the process of creating vinyl and feels that it is more enjoyable than simply releasing a CD.

“The music is divided up into two sides, so its usually designed specifically for that format. You send it away and then you get “test presses” back, and you’re a part of that process where you approve the products sound.” Sylvia said. “When you are working with 7″ vinyl, a lot of times you are doing the packaging yourself: cutting out sleeves and stuffing them into plastic bags. When the finished project is all said and done, on top of sounding great, you really feel like you were a part of that process.”

Whether you’re buying, creating or producing a vinyl record, it is imperative that you have a passion for music and the art that goes behind mastering this circular delight. Vinyl isn’t a thing of the past and it’ll continue to flourish if the indie scene has anything to do with it.


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