„I support Plattenladenwoche because it’s a great way to spread new, undiscovered music.“
How important is the specialized trade for you in times of the Internet and MP3, as a musician as well as a customer and music fan?
Specialized trade events like Plattenladenwoche are crucial to my success and survival as a full-time musician in the 21st Century. The internet / mp3 format has significantly de-valued music, primarily due to the ease of piracy and by placing less emphasis on physical product – ie, cds, lps, tape – For the mp3 generation, music and artwork is no longer something that you can hold in your hands and really cherish. Plattenladenwoche puts the heart back into music, and really connects genuine music lovers with a wide variety of styles and new music – not just music from radio-playlists. For me as a newcomer artist, it’s a great platform to showcase my music and personally connect with new fans.
What meaning do record stores have for the music culture in the general and for your music in particular?
As an artist and music lover, record stores are so important to the culture and quality standards of music, especially for myself as a newcomer artist. I am a great fan of browsing through cds and lps, seeking out interesting artwork, getting recommendations from real-life sales people in the stores and actually listening to music at ‘cd quality’ (the listening quality of an mp3 is no way near as good as cd quality). I spend an immense amount of time ensuring that the cds I release have interesting artwork, lyrics and personal credits that enthusiasts can read through, as well as spending years writing and recording the music itself. Record stores give new artists that are under the radar a chance to present their cds (including music, artwork, lyrics, credits etc.) to the real-world – directly to music lovers and passing trade window shoppers.
When and where did you buy your first records or CDs and what memories do you connect with record stores?
I purchased my first cd in the UK from HMV, a record store that unfortunately does not exist in Germany anymore. It was Michael Jackson’s album ‘Dangerous’ and it still sits proudly at the top of my cd collection. I vividly recall saving up many weeks of pocket money, until I had enough to go and get it. As an album it’s a great example of why physical product is so important – the artwork is a masterpiece in itself, but when you combine it with the amazing lyrics, the music and read through the credits (from slash, to his family) it really becomes something to have and to hold – a moment of history that carries so many memories. No mp3 download could carry the same amount of weight. It’s actually a great feeling handing over cash that you’ve personally earned for a cd that you can hold forever – I really HATE all the security complications of purchasing from a download store, the pin-codes and the impersonal nature of it all.
What are your current CD tips and which musicians and albums should not be missing from any CD shelve?
Some of the best CDs I own are by non-mainstream artists, artists that are not generally played on radio or tv, but survive (or don’t survive) by word of mouth or events like Plattenladenwoche. I’m a great fan of Liam Frost’s debut album ‘Show Me How The Spectres Dance’, which was a commercial failure and he was subsequently dropped by his label :( But every single song is from the heart and very touching – he’s from the North of England where I grew up. Other great records in my collection are ‘Thirst For Romance’ by Cherry Ghost (another band from Northern England), and Carole King’s ‘Tapestry’ which I actually own on both CD and LP. I only really recommend albums that are great from start to finish, where every song is well-written and full of passion – so many albums these days are full of ‘filler’ tracks, but sometimes you find a real gem!!!