Along with the unexpected revival of vinyl comes the question, why has this happened? And what better people to ask than the musicians and vinyl enthusiasts themselves? Jennifer Otter Bickerdike, author of Why Vinyl Matters, fills a book full of interviews, photos, information and anecdotes looking for answers to this very question.
Bickerdike has dedicated her life to music, which really shines through in this book fit for the coffee table of any vinyl lover. Starting off with a brief introduction into how Jennifer discovered vinyl, and leading up to the recent resurgence (and the number of albums she bought for “research” towards the book… 108 if you’re wondering), she then moves onto her well structured and interesting interviews. From Lars Ulrich of Metallica to Author Nick Hornby, each interviewee brings a fresh insight and different opinions to answer the statement put forward in the title of the book.
Accompanied by high quality photos, Jennifer manages to give the reader a brief glimpse into the love of vinyl each person has in their own unique way. Who would have thought Fat Boy Slim grew up listening to Carpenters albums, or that an old Muppets record influenced Gaz Coombes of Supergrass? It’s not just little tidbits of information like this that keep you interested, but the way the conversations manage to delve deeper into the reasons of why vinyl is still such a beloved music format. Nearly every interview includes a story of nostalgia in which you can almost see people reminiscing and falling back into earlier days of their lives. Alison Fields discusses how she found her first record in a forgotten plastic bag on a train home from Birmingham, whereas Chief Xcel from Blackalicious talks about how he used to get his Dad to buy him Kiss albums just for the covers.
The book also includes insight sections delving deeper into areas such as creating artwork for records, or how vinyl is actually made in the factories littered around the world. These give an interesting left-field look into the processes behind the music, helping to break up the interviews and create a more accomplished read.
One of the main underlying themes that’s found running throughout is how much people are influenced by and respect independent record stores. There’s a genuine love of these places and a feeling that more needs to be done to make sure they stick around. Vinyl aficionados need a physical community where they can dig for records and discuss music with other fans, rather than succumb to the ease of ordering on the lonely internet.
Why Vinyl Matters is a great addition for any vinyl lover. With a plethora of interviews that are not overwhelmingly long, this provides the perfect opportunity to pick up and read the book now and again as you listen to your favourite record or when you have a spare 5 minutes. It really shows off how much vinyl not only means to the author, but why it matters to musicians, music industry stalwarts and music fans alike.
By Jamie Parmenter
Check out the link below to pick up your own copy!