I always loved music. I grew up in the 90’s with cassettes and a Walkman. Hours spent with headphones on, singing along to my favourite artists until the batteries died. I knew of vinyl, but as a mostly dead format that wasn’t around so much. Little did I know, that old format was going to come back to rock my socks off.
Years of burning cds and creating playlists, for play on the latest and greatest device, made me believe I had the best. Vinyl was old. And it changed my life. It changed the way I experienced music in ways I’d never imagined.
In my early twenties, I moved to Montreal from a small town and discovered the local music scene. Hooked. Going to live shows was the greatest way to feed my need for music. I couldn’t get enough of these authentic performances by mostly underground artists. I loved discovering new garage rock, indie, and conscious/political hip-hop. Some of my favorites would make it big while others stayed well-kept secrets, but all of them shaped my musical tastes and habits. Hanging with that crowd kept me immersed in music old and new. Music geeks never tire of it. At that time, I was also
writing for a music magazine called BangBang, about the local cultural scene. The table was set.
One day, my grandparents got rid of their old sound system. It was a Lloyd’s turntable with a built-in receiver and a pair of floor speakers. Nothing fancy, but I couldn’t let them throw it away so I took it home. Soon after, I started to check out record stores to buy vinyl. It was casual at first, a nice way to spend an afternoon. I’d go for great classics that I never had on CD, and I’d look out for some local gems. I was so proud to get Les Breastfeeders’ “Les Matins de Grands Soirs” on vinyl! They were my absolute favourite local band. One of my best friends was a vinyl nerd so he showed me his favourite crate digging spots. My new favorite hobby now had a partner in crime.
My grandparents’ old system served me well through the years. One dreadful day, the belt snapped and my precious died, after 40 years of service. I went back to cds and digital, drowned my sorrows into infinite playlists. It wasn’t the same. It wasn’t enough. After borrowing an awful all-in-one system from a friend, I finally got my beautiful Technics SL-3200 with a matching receiver. I treated myself to a pair of Paradigm bookshelf speakers to complete the set up. Everything felt right again. That was a little more than a year ago. Since then, my vinyl collection has grown exponentially and I have become… obsessed.
My life has changed in ways that I enjoy every day. Vinyl brought a satisfying ritual back to music. It also deepened my appreciation for the authenticity and the warmth of a live performance. Albums I loved on cd or digital sound like I hear them for the first time, whenever I drop the needle. I choose every album I buy carefully. Or not. Sometimes I take home something random because I like the cover, or because it’s somehow related to an artist I love. The thrill of the dig and those musical discoveries never end. Every needle drop excites; I feel like I’m celebrating music the way it should be. Vinyl also gave me a community through Vinyl Junkies, and record store staff that became friends. I’ve always been passionate about music, but it always felt like not enough people understood. Now I get I to express passion and share it with very cool people who get it, from all over the world. Sometimes, when I try to describe how it feels to outsiders, they look at me with question marks in their eyes. If they only knew, but you all do. Thank you for reading and I will sign off by introducing myself properly. Hello, my name is Marilou, and I’m a vinyl junkie.