Emma, record collector from Syracuse, NY – USA

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On my journey, I made a stop in Syracuse, NY and met Emma. Young collector, she started collecting records about a year ago. With a growing collection, about 78 records so far, she got the “collecting fever” and like all of us, she will find out soon that there is no turning back once you got it, ha! Let’s take a moment to discover Emma’s interview and to warmly welcome her into the vinyl community!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hey there! My name is Emma, and I’m from Syracuse, New York. While I’m sure you’ve already figured this bit out, I’m also a vinyl collector! My collection is mainly records, but I also occasionally do CD’s and cassette tapes.

How and when did you start you record collection? How many do you own today?

I actually only started collecting records around a year ago! I had a few records at the time, just as memorabilia, when my good friend Danny introduced me to Discogs. The first record I bought on there was Yellowcard’s album Lift A Sail, and that was the record that started it all. As of now, I have 78 records, with a couple in transit to me.

“I collect what I listen to, and I listen to pretty much everything!

What started your interest in music?

Around five years ago (during my emo phase) I drove three and a half hours out to Buffalo to go see my first concert with my dad; my favorite band at the time, called We The Kings. The second song they played was called Skyway Avenue, which happened to be my favorite song by them. This performance not only opened my eyes to music itself, and how special it is to hear a live performance, but also inspired me to pick up the guitar.

What was the first record you ever purchased?

My first record purchased was technically PVRIS’ debut album White Noise. That copy I got at their headliner in Boston in 2016 because they had signed vinyl at the merch table, and because it was very pretty (ultra-clear with white splatter). My first one when I started collecting was Lift A Sail by Yellowcard, on the white with rainbow swirl variant.

yellowcard, lift a sail, album

What is your musical background?

I never really cared for music before divulging into We The Kings in 2013, so I missed out on a lot. I went to see them at Warped Tour in 2014 in Darien Lake, and discovered so much new music while there. I went again in 2016 in Syracuse, and saw so many bands that I’d discovered previously though going to Warped Tour and various other shows, like Tonight Alive, Against The Current, Yellowcard (who I am currently variant collecting), and probably a couple others that I am forgetting, hahaha.

What kind of music was playing in your house when you were a kid? Did your parents have records?

My parents did not own records, but my dad enjoys artists like Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson, and my mom enjoys artists such as The Beatles and U2. My dad and I have similar music tastes, we both enjoy bands similar to The Killers and Florence + The Machine!

nyc poem, florence welch album

Do you collect a particular genre of music?

Not really, I collect what I listen to, and I listen to pretty much everything! I have the new Galactic Empire album, the Star Wars soundtrack gone metal, I’ve got a couple of The Fray’s albums, and I recently purchased Real Friends’ album Composure. All very different, all very good.

What is your best find ever?

Absolutely my test pressing for PVRIS’ debut album White Noise. I had never seen one for sale, or even a picture of one, when my good friend Tom pointed out that there was one for sale on Depop. I snatched it up immediately!

pvris, white noise, test pressing

Any regrets about a lost record or about records you did not buy?

Definitely The Wonder YearsWe Look Like Lightning 7”. When promoting their latest album Sister Cities, they sent random people on their mailing list 7”s with spoken word poems in different languages on one side, and a new song (We Look Light Lightning) on the other side. After missing being sent one initially, I assumed I would never get one, until Limited To One, record shop in NYC, posted they had one in store for a decent price! Their store owner was very nice, and said if no one local bought it that day, he would send it out to me. Unfortunately it got grabbed up, so hopefully I will find at some point.

“With vinyl, […], we maintain that memory in a physical form

An interesting / funny anecdote about your collection or about vinyl that you have acquired?

Just today, I received a copy of Yellowcard’s album When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes. I thought it had been the black variant, and only spent $22 on it, but when I opened it up, I discovered it was the /300 transparent purple variant that I would’ve had to spend $60+ to get my hands on. It was a very nice surprise.

Yellowcard, When You Are Through Thinking, Say Yes, album

What was your latest purchase?

The Earth Pushed Back by Have Mercy on the grey marble variant! Their songs “Let’s Talk About You Hair” and “Cigarettes and Old Perfume” were recommended to me recently, and I have been jamming that album non-stop ever since! Definitely recommend it!

Have Mercy, The Earth Pushed Back, album

Is there an artist that you are trying to get the full discography?

I actually just finished my discography for PVRIS, but I recently decided to variant collect Yellowcard! I still have a long ways to go, but I have a lot of the harder to get pieces out of the way.

pvris, discography

It’s the end of the world, you can only take 5 records from your collection with you! Which ones and why?

No Closer To Heaven by The Wonder Years is the first one that came to mind, if you haven’t listened to that album, it’s very sad, so it would fit the apocalypse very well, haha.

The Wonder Years , No Closer To Heaven, album

#2 would have to be either White Noise or All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell by PVRIS. As I’m sure you figured out, I enjoy PVRIS a lot, haha, so I had trouble picking.

#3 is Life As A Dog by K.Flay for sure. K.Flay is one of the most unique artists I’ve listened to, and that album is just such a bop.

#4 is absolutely The Other Side by Tonight Alive. Their entire discography is great, but that album is my favorite from them for sure. It’s different from most pop-punk that was released around that time, it’s about other things, not just “I gotta get outta this town” in every song.

Lastly, I would bring Manchester Orchestra’s A Black Mile To The Surface. First off, my copy of this record is signed, so if you think I am letting it get eaten by zombies or get irradiated by a nuclear bomb, you best think again, haha. This album was made to be played on vinyl, and is very different from the rest of MO’s discography. It’s much more atmospheric and just very different all together.

Manchester Orchestra, A Black Mile To The Surface, album

Original pressings or re-issues? Why?

I know a lot of people like OG presses much more, but I usually don’t care too much. It depends on the album really. The Wonder Years’ album The Greatest Generation’s first press is 14 songs on a 1LP, so it sounds muffled and compressed as opposed to the second press, a 2LP. If the first press sounds good, has a nice variant, and doesn’t cost too much, I will absolutely go for it! But if there’s a second press that sounds just as good, has a better variant, and costs less, who wouldn’t go for the second?

What kind of digger are you?

In Syracuse we only have two record stores unfortunately, so I tend to do most of my shopping online. I generally use Discogs, but I have found some amazing steals on an app called Depop also!

Do you think that collecting records helps to preserve our musical and cultural legacy?

I’ve never really thought about this before, but yes! I definitely think that it does. I feel like whenever you just stream or download music, because of how fast things change in our world and on the internet, in 10 to 20 years much of today’s music will be forgotten. With vinyl, and even other physicals like CD’s and tapes, we maintain that memory in a physical form.

What attracts you in a record?

I’d be lying if I didn’t say pretty variant coloring, but if I can get a 180 gram pressing I usually try to! I am a sucker for a pretty variant, usually when I get it in my head that I want a certain variant of a release, I won’t buy it on vinyl until I can get the one I wanted.

Manchester Orchestra, A Black Mile To The Surface, album

How do you organize your collection?

Alphabetically, kind of. I have it alphabetically by artist, then album, and then by pressing count if I’ve got duplicates of a release. The lower pressing count goes first, higher ones go after (so an /250 copies pressed goes before the /2000 copies pressed)! Pretty simple, nothing too crazy, but I like it a lot because I always pull out exactly what variant of exactly the album I’d like to listen to at that time.

What does your record collection say about you?

Apparently, that I’m not very good with money, haha.

What’s your current setup at home?

Nothing crazy right now, for speakers I’ve got Edifier R980T Powered Speakers, and for a turntable I’ve got the Black Audio Technica AT-LP60. Not the best, but considering I am a newer collector, I did not want to shell out an arm and a leg for a set up right off the bat. Planning on upgrading to the AT-LP120 in the future, along with hopefully an Ortofon stylus!

Want to add something about yourself? Now it’s the time 😉

I have an instagram account where I take lots of photos of my vinyl collection, you can follow it at @bicksterdoesvinyl. I also do a bit of photography over on my non-vinyl instagram page, which is @bickstersucks. I would very much appreciate if you checked them out!

Photo credit: Courtesy of @bickstersucks (me haha)

Thank you very much Emma for sharing your story with us, it was fun!

Don’t forget to visit Emma’s IG to discover her pretty cool pictures of coloured records and of course to follow her 🙂