HBS Music Archaeology dig in spades
The DJs turned vinyl archivists present a weekly YouTube show on records – from their shed.
Excursions is all about flow, and one of the most exciting things for me about starting the project has been experiencing this in life as much as in the shows: becoming more conscious of what I'm up to, who I'm suddenly meeting, and what they’re all about. My summer documenting Chicago’s record stores has led to meeting a lot of new people, including Brad McNamara and Chris Gibbs from Hot Buttered Soul Music Archaeology – basically two blokes who decamp to their shed every week to present a YouTube rundown of records they’ve dug up. Their guests have so far included DJs Format and Mr Thing, and veteran producer John Schroeder. There’s no part of that I don’t like, so I wanted to peek a little behind the shed door…
Why do you do a show all about records?
Chris: I've been collecting records since I was seven. At an early age I wanted to be a scratch DJ. The more I collected, the more the hoarder mentality kicked in.
Brad: Records are what Chris and I have in common. That and restraining orders from Frank Stallone. As life took over we began DJing less and less, but Chris especially was still buying records at an incredible rate, so we’d always chat about what he got. I said we should do something about digging that would get over the chats we have every week down the pub.
People are always banging on about the resurgence of vinyl, but you've been into it the whole time. What’s the appeal for you?
Chris: The packaging is amazing, and sometimes you'll find messages on old vinyl covers that show a real sense of history. The sight, feel and sound of the record can take you back to the time when you got it. The fact that we play records old and new on YouTube to people all over the world shows we aren't trying to escape technology: we aren’t vinyl snobs, and we have nothing against CDs. But the sound quality of vinyl is deeper, with more life to it. You should read a book called 'Perfecting Sound Forever' by Greg Milner. Then you will understand that the science of digital really doesn’t compare.
Brad: The library element plays a big part for me. The covers are like buying art. Some records are worth it just for the cover. But music for me was at its greatest 40 or 50 years ago and I think we embrace technology for convenience at the expense of quality all too often. I’d also like to stress that we aren't anti-technology, nor against DJs using CD/MP3, and we don’t lecture people on their choice.
Still, I'm sure you'd happily give a lecture on the power of having a shed to retreat to?
Brad: It feels less like an escape, more like an obstacle course with all the records on the floor. But it is a pleasure to go to the shed and play records with my good mate and have more people than we thought embrace it and interact with our passion.
A new episode of HBS Music Archaeology is up on YouTube every Tuesday.