Passing through the East of France, we went to meet Hello Vinyl. Big fan of metal, youtuber, blogger and obviously record collector, she tells us through her interview her encounter with the vinyl and the love she has for the support. Let’s discover her story together!
Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
I am Hello Vinyl, a compulsive collector who looks after herself and an overly music passionate who takes responsibilities. I come from the very end of the groove, on the lands of Instagram.
How and when did you start you record collection? How many do you own today?
I started my collection not so long ago for a simple reason: passions are expensive. Even if I bought records before, I only really started to collect since I have a decent set-up and enough money to afford the cost of collecting. It’s been a bit more than 2 years now. Of course, I am passionate about this support for much longer than that but I really could invest myself only recently in this love of the wax. Ergo, the question of the amount of records I have is irrelevant. I love all of my records evenly no matter what, whether it’s 10 or 10 000.
“For me music is able to cause as much excitement as life itself
What is the trigger for your interest in music?
I think actually that… I’ve always been sensitive to music. The interest never really started, it’s just that it never had an end. For me music is able to cause as much excitement as life itself. A music can make me cry, can make me laugh, can intoxicate me but will never leave me indifferent. Music is not a passion; it’s a reason to live. On the other hand, the vinyl record is an art itself, a passion directly related to this founding part of my life that is music.
Do you remember the first vinyl you bought?
Of course I remember. Who cannot remember the event that changed his life?
One day, I walked past a store that was selling records and was struggling to maintain the business (records were not trendy at the time). Passing by, I saw some album covers in the display window. As I have always been attracted to album covers, I went in. It smelled like old cardboard, dust (smell that any record collector knows). Right away, that warm atmosphere made me feel at home. I did not know anything about record at the time. My parents had some when I was very young but they quickly gave way to CDs and tapes. I found the object so beautiful that I decided to buy one. It was very cheap back in the day.
After a few minutes digging, I finally picked up a black and red cover from the crate. It was Renaud‘s live “Un Olympia Pour Moi Tout Seul”, a live I was listening to in a loop at the time. The person who was with me told me that buying wax without having a turntable was useless. I still decided to buy the album by swearing that one day I would have the proper set-up to listen to it with the honour it deserves; the one who made me discover the record world. And the worst part is that it’s the only record in my collection that I’ve never listened to!
What are your musical influences?
It’s always very difficult for an enthusiast to make a top list. But even if I have hundreds of records on my shelves, I can name a few that are inseparable from my personality and my daily life. At first, Steven Wilson, who is in my opinion the genius of the current progressive as much in his solo career as in his group Porcupine Tree. There is also Nine Inch Nails and generally speaking, all the projects of Trent Reznor are always surprising, full of strong and contradictory feelings. Trent is always very good in his compositions and in accordance with my desires of the moment.
And of course Keane, how could I fail to mention them? Even though it’s a very simple English Pop band, it’s also one of the first bands that made me understand that music was not just a succession of sentences. Music is emotions through words and through a voice. I will finally mention Opeth, a Nordic prog’ metal band that made me fall in love with Metal and Guttural. A revelation for me.
What kind of music was playing in your house when you were a kid? Did your parents have records?
Ah! That really is a good question! My mother is rather 80s – 90s French music. So, without wanting to, I know by heart the discography of Céline Dion, Joe Dassin and Jean-Jacques Goldman. On my father’s side it was more Jacques Brel and Édith Piaf. For the rest of my family, they have clearly turned to the US RAP. I am, so to speak, the only person in the family who deeply loves metal and especially prog’.
Regarding the records, I remember that there always was a blue suitcase in our living room but I do not remember having one day heard played a single record in the house. This suitcase contained mostly children’s stories, Boney M, ABBA and a 45 of the song Rap’tout by Les Inconnus. The album cover always terrified me when I was a little girl. Ridiculous, don’t you think?
In fact, since we did not have a turntable, I spent a lot of time looking at the album covers. Maybe that’s where my passion for pictures and album covers comes from.
Do you collect a particular genre of music?
What I really like about music is that discoveries are endless because styles and mix of styles are infinite. I have in my collection a lot of rockabilly, stoner, disco, blues, jazz, heavy, rock, electro… In short, I really have everything. But I think what I collect the most is the prog’. It’s really my favourite genre of music because it brings together everything I like in music: a story told on an entire album, songs that take their time and change completely. Different rhythms and moods on a single track. A style in which the notion of a “single” is a nonsense… a style that forces the listener to take the album in its entirety and not just track by track.
Finally, the prog’ is the most perfect music style to put on a record because the two have the common point of forcing the listener to be attentive to the whole album and in the way that the artist made it: track by track.
What is your best find ever?
Without hesitation: my original Under the Iron Sea by Keane. I have already spoken so much about this vinyl on my YouTube Hello Vinyl channel… But clearly it’s a founding album in my musical quest. Thanks to this album, I can say now that I’m so open-minded about discoveries and different kind of music.
I remember that day as if it were yesterday… I was at a record fair and I was digging without really knowing what I was looking for. When the record literally came to me. When I saw it… I started to cry… An album so important to me… In front of me… Still sealed. The salesman explained to me that he had that record for years and that he had the intuition that one day it would find the right owner. When he saw my reaction, he was convinced that I was THE one. He even gave me a huge discount without asking anything. From time to time, I still meet the guy in different record fairs. To this day, he remembers me as the most touching customer ever.
Any regrets about a lost record or about records you did not buy?
Oh yes… I have a memory in particular. One morning, I was on my way to record fair to meet some friends. I walked past a garage sale and because I was already late, I did not make a stop. Especially since it was 9am ish which usually means that the record collectors have already stormed the crates and all is left is the dust. So I carried on my way to my destination. Back home, I went on a facebook page dedicated to collectors and I saw a post about an extraordinary dig by one of the members. He found, in my city, around 11am, at the garage sale I walked past: Machina/Machine of God by The Smashing Pumpkins… He bought it to resell it… I’ve been looking for that album for ages. He was ready to sell it to me for a 100€. He only bought it for 10€.
The morality of this story: Never tell yourself that something is not worth it, never despair and never ask someone who sells a rare record how much it originally paid for it.
An interesting / funny anecdote about your collection or about vinyl that you have acquired?
I have already told a lot of anecdotes in the previous questions… But I still have plenty. I’ve been listening to for a while to the band Opeth who had several lives in its career: sometimes big metal with guttural, sometimes prog’ with clear vocals. And it is by this last period that I was attracted to and especially with their album Sorceress (released in 2016). Logically, the release of the album led to a world tour for which I had bought a ticket for a gig not far from my home. When I arrived, people were all together at the bar and no one was in front of the stage, as the band was not enough famous to have groupies that would held the security fences several hours before the concert. Naturally, I went in front of the stage and waited for the show with a big apprehension. Which one? Hearing guttural at this concert. At the time, I deeply hated this side of the metal. For me, only the clear song was melodic. The band ended up on stage with applause. After a prog’ song, Mikael Akerfeld played Her Apparent… and sung in guttural.
Literally, I was stunned by so much grace and talent. I never heard that in my life. For the first time I heard music where previously I only heard noise. The concert was one of the most beautiful moments that I ever lived. Being a person who moves A LOT in concert (especially when nobody does) I rarely go unnoticed. The show that seemed already exceptional ended with a hand stretched out towards me from the singer who had come down the stage to thank me…
I became a groupie at this very moment I think. Or I fell in love with him, it’s up to you. When I got home, I sent a message to my record dealer asking him to order ALL the editions he could find from the band. At the end of the week, my Opeth collection was complete.
What was your latest purchase?
I just received the reissue of Dido‘s album No Angel. It’s an album that I love and that’s very special to me. Unfortunately, the originals are expensive… And it was impossible for me to have them at this price. Luckily, I learned that the site Brookvale Records was about to reissue this jewel in a limited edition to 1500 copies in a black and red split version. I jumped at the opportunity. Especially since the vinyl is released with a booklet that reproduces the illustrations of the original CD edition. Let me to tell you that I was happy to finally hear on my turntable the so angelic voice of Dido.
” Listening to a record is a ritual: search, find, buy, clean, listen to, enjoy and repeat again
Is there an artist or label in particular that you are trying to get the full discography?
As a good fan of prog’ that I am I cannot leave aside my current genius in this style of music namely Steven Wilson. Whether solo, in his bands (Porcupine Tree in mind), I try to have each edition, each collector, each book, related to his work. Clearly, he fills entire crates at home. Moreover it is the only artist for which I want all the pressings, all the editions, all the live albums. And indeed, a 5 LP edition of his concert at the Royal Albert Hall has just been announced on pre-order for 60 €. It will be difficult for me to resist.
It’s the end of the world, you can only take 5 records from your collection with you! Which ones and why?
Ah! This question is going to be very simple and quick to answer since it is the very principle of the emission 5 opus I launched on my channel Hello Vinyl and for which I was the subject of the first episode. So, if you want to know my 5 essential albums, I will redirect you to my video: Hello Vinyl in 5 records
Original pressings or re-issues? Why?
The basic rule for me is to grab the closest edition of the original at a reasonable price. As a priority, it’s the sound that counts. Analog pressing, in very good condition and at a reasonable cost. If the original is inaccessible, as for Dido cited earlier, then it is the reissue that prevails.
And if there is a new quality pressing collector restored from the analogue, then I will think about having it. This was the case for example for my box set Ten Year War by Black Sabbath. Clearly, the pressing is beautiful, of quality, from the analogue tapes… And in addition, I have all the albums that interested me in one box.
What kind of digger are you?
I am on all fronts. First and foremost, I pick records via artists’ websites or labels, via Ebay-type shopping sites, via Discogs vinyl-type specialized sites, via my record stores (especially for bargains, etc.), at record faires, garage sales. For the latter… we must admit that the competition is tough. When we live in a big city, there is a lot of collectors and they are there even before the sellers… And it is very difficult to get your precious record in these conditions.
Do you think that collecting records helps to preserve our musical and cultural legacy?
There is no doubt! First of all, collecting allows a lasting impression of our passing I think, of what we have been and what we liked. Then, collecting music is to allow it to exist on a support and also allows this support itself to exist. Collecting music allows you to capture at a moment the tastes, desires, emotions of a person. After all, music is emotion. And I think it takes a physical support to keep it and especially to give it importance. With dematerialization, people hear so much without really listening to. Vinyl drives you to appreciate, not just to consume music. And if you like it, you pass it on. Vinyl is in my opinion, the best possible legacy of music. At the same time strong in quality but also fragile material to handle with precaution.
What attracts you in a record?
Record is in my opinion the most beautiful support to listening to music. First, the art cover. It is large enough to contain the creativity of the greatest artists. This is also why I think that the frames for records are more and more a big sell (even among the non record collectors). The cover is an art. I also think that many collectors remember more of the picture of the cover than the name of the album, anyway, that’s my case.
Then the record, it’s a sound. So I know, the last editions are not really of the same quality as the original recordings, but the analogue, the true one, has this sound quality that cannot be found on any other medium. And for me who is ex-tremely receptive to music… This warmth and crackling sound are like a strip of bacon frying over an open fire.
There is a hypnotic side to the vinyl. The groove that floods us with music, the label spinning with its dancing inscriptions (if in addition you listening to a vinyl from Vertigo you can be sure that hypnosis will be perfect), the wax sometimes maltreated by the heat that ripples under the turntable arm… It’s just beautiful… There is nothing more to say… I can spend a lot of time next to my wax listening to this dancing sound.
Finally, and this is the most important for me: vinyl is THE format that really allows you to appreciate the work of the artist. At a time when the playlist is growing, we often forget the albums from which these songs are from. With a vinyl, you do not skip a track, you do not miss the artist’s words. You listen to a piece of work as it was thought. Personally, as I said, I am a woman of prog’. I like being told a story, I like being carried away in a story. Vinyl is to prog’, what the book is to the writer: the essential way to get an idea through without skipping a chapter. Listening to a record is a ritual: search, find, buy, clean, listen to, enjoy and repeat again.
How do you organize your collection?
I recently changed the organization of my collection. Before it was simply in alphabetical order. But not only did it mix improbable things but in addition, I had the feeling of not really knowing my collection. Sometimes I went in front of my records and said: “I would like something when I get home from work: calm but not too much, energetic but not too much”. And too often, I ended up listening to the same thing. Finally, I decided to completely change my records rearranging them by “emotions”. So now I have tabs with improbable names like: “gently wake up”, “bad day? I have what you need!” Or “move your body!”. I am more aware of my collection and it much more corresponding to my character as a pretty emotional woman when it’s about music.
What does your record collection say about you?
My collection is very eclectic… Because it matches my emotions. So, I will say that my collection says of me that I am an emotional and open-minded woman.
What’s your current setup at home?
As for my setup, I bought second-hand equipment with the little money I had. For the turntable, I have an Akai AP-100Cwith a Pioneer amp (a sure value) LX-440. For the speakers, I am about to change them but currently it is two Sharp. It’s not the best possible sound quality but it’s enough to savour the music.
Want to add something about yourself? Now it’s the time 😉
Beside my record collection, I have a huge passion for images. I really like the design of the covers which are in my opinion extremely creative (reason why I created the program Artwork on the channel Hello Vinyl). And so, I love to do photomontages of my character Hello Vinyl in the universe of album covers. Among other things, I transformed myself into Nevermind‘s baby who hunts a vinyl and not a bank note, I put myself in the skin of my idol Steven Wilson and lately, I paid tribute to one of my favourite photographers Lasse Hoile. I share my photomontages on Facebook and the Hello Vinyl instagram. So if you like creative montages, referenced and full of madness, I think you can find your happiness on my page.
Photos credit: Courtesy of @hello_vinyl
A huge thank you Hello Vinyl for taking the time to answer to our questions. We have been thrilled to discover your universe! 😉