An Interview With Vinyl Louis

In this interview I talk to Louis all about vinyl, music and singing in his car.

Louis: Firstly, I appreciate you inviting me to do this interview. I’ve only ever been interviewed by either, extremely underwhelmed potential employers, or less than impressed police officers. So this one is an absolute pleasure.

My name is Louis, or as most of you will know me, vinyl_louis. I’m a 30 year old, English, council estate, working class, nobody. And I’m very proud of that.

I work two jobs. Primarily, I’m training as, and studying to be, an electrical engineer. Professionally, When I’m not sat in a classroom scratching my head or trying to figure out electrics, I’m bricklaying. That’s job number 2. This job has become more of a way of earning extra money than something that I actually enjoy.. hence the career change. 

I come from Southampton. From the outside in, it’s a shit hole. But for me, I like calling it home. Growing up, the one thing that I loved the most, was that time between finishing school on a Friday and my dads hangover on a Sunday morning. That 36 hour period, was all about the music! My dad would have finished his last night at work on Friday morning, by lunchtime, he’d have all of his mates round our house, by the end of my school day, everyone was well in the party mood. I’d get home, the music would be blaring, there’d be people everywhere, my dad would let me have all of my mates round. This is when I fell in love with music.

Instagram: @vinyl_louis

How long have you been collecting records and how many do you have in your collection?

I’d say I’ve been collecting records for around about 10 years (on and off). I bought my very first record (Gregory Abbott – Shake you down) when I was roughly 19 or 20. It started very slow, I bought maybe 30, 40 records over that first 3 year period. Didn’t really know anything about what I was buying or what I was looking for etc. I was just picking up the odd album or 12” in the charity shops. I was more focused on building a CD collection at this point. My collection continued to slowly build into my mid 20’s. Just before the “vinyl boom” really kicked off, I had started buying records again, I had maybe 100-120 records at this point. But since the vinyl revival, I’ve built my collection significantly. It now stands at around 700 (LP’s or 12”) and maybe about 200 7” records. 

Why did you start a vinyl themed Instagram?

Well it came about by accident really. I had just a standard Instagram account, where I would post pictures of my beans on toast, or a meme saying how much a can’t stand my boss. But occasionally, I posted a record that I was listening to. They always seemed to get a few more likes than my cup of tea and biscuits posts did. Then somebody told me to start using hash tags. So I done a couple of vinyl hashtags and these post blew up man, big time. I mean, I was suddenly getting 15, maybe 20 likes…

Right around about this exact same time, I was getting sick of seeing what Dave down the road was posting, pictures of his newly painted hallway. Or Sarah from school, and her posts about a dodgy website who scammed her over some Disney DVDs and took all of her money. (True story’s by the way).

Sarah’s post was the straw that broke the camels back. So I thought, right, I’m started a fresh new account, where I’ll follow like minded people and only post records… Best decision I ever made. 

What’s your favourite vinyl you own and what is your vinyl holy grail?

My favourite record that I own. Is an original first press of UB40’s debut album, Signing off. Two reasons I love this record. First of all, it is my favourite album of all time, from any artist, any genre. I grew up on this album and hold it very close to my heart. I actually own 7 copies of this album on vinyl, but this one particular copy, brings me to my second reason. For those that don’t know, UB40 got their name from the British governments, Unemployment Benefit form. Abbreviated, the form was called a UB40. So true to the bands love of the common man. Their debut album cover, is a replica of the form. This one particular copy that I love, was my dads. He bought the album back in the 80’s during a time where he was also unemployed and claiming these benefits. So he filled out the entire album cover as he would have done the form. For that reason, there is no other record in my collection with more sentimental value. 

Holy grail record? I always find this question really tough. It depends how one would interpret holy grail. For me personally, when considering a holy grail record, I look for its sentimental value rather than monetary value. In which case, my holy grail would be the record mentioned above. However in this case, I’ll consider holy grail as a record that I really want, but just don’t own yet. It would have to be, Action Bronson – Dr Lecter (Hiphop). It had a very limited release on Chopped Herring records back in 2012. I missed out on it. He really blew up shortly after this with his Blue Chips mixtapes and since then, this record has become almost impossible to get your hands on. Or not without seriously breaking the bank at least.

You love to sing and record it, is that something you’ve done or just since you started your Instagram?

Haha, mate, I was singing in my car back in ‘06 during my driving lessons. My instructor wouldn’t even have the radio on, I just had a song in my head and would be sat there singing it, so she’d put the radio on quietly for the last 10 minutes of the lesson and we’d have a little sing song on the way back to my house. 

I’ve always sang in the car. Doesn’t matter who’s in there either, I could provide an escort for the queen and she’d have to listen to me rap along to Dre’s – Chronic or sing along to Susan Boyles – Wild Horses. I don’t care, if I know the words, I’m singing. If I don’t know the words, Im singing anyway. 

I do love seeing people on IG sing in their cars, or anywhere for that fact. So if my monotone voice screaming Meat Loafs – bat out of hell can inspire just one person to do the same, I’m happy. 

Who’s in your top five of favourite bands?

Nice question. 

There’s going to be a mixture of genres here. 

1. UB40

2. Oasis

3. Parliament

4. The Police

5. Prodigy

UB40. I grew up on their music, my whole family love them, all my mates love them, infact, the whole of Southampton loves UB40. 

Oasis. Because I was British in the 90’s. 

Parliament. I love funk and soul music, and this band are a huge reason why.

The Police. Grew up on them, reminds my of my uncles, my mum and dad, used to have a Sting poster above my bed.

Prodigy. Because I loved dance music in my teens and Scooter would have raised too many eyebrows.

If you could have dinner with any musician from any time, who would it be and why?

Mike Skinner (from the streets)

Because I know it’ll be a kebab and a couple of pints. Which is right up my street.

What’s your favourite gig you’ve been to?

Ok so it’s not really a ‘gig’ as it was at a festival. But they all count, right?

Isle of White festival (I can’t remember the year, maybe 2008 / 2009) we got there on the Thursday, the opening act wasn’t until Friday evening, so we used the opportunity to have a massive piss up. After a good 24 hours or so on the beer, it gets to Friday evening and Kaiser Chiefs were due to open the festivals main stage. I haven’t got a clue how many were in the crowd, 10’s of thousand? Who knows? But it was just getting dark, lightly raining, and everyone was packed in like sardines. With everyone stood waiting, anticipating what was coming, it almost had an eerie feel to it (probably exaggerated by an unhealthy concoction of alcohol and ecstasy)… then out of nowhere that opening synthesiser (or whatever it is) “Everyday I love you less and less”kicked in the whole crowd went nuts! My human bowling ball of a mate, a big 20 stone dude, was being thrown around this mosh pit like a pubic hair in the wind. It was crazy. I got hit square in the face by a warm, freshly brewed, pint of piss. Dude clearly loved his coffee.

It was brilliant! Best thing I have ever seen live!

Sounds awesome mate, I love a good gig/festival story. Any recommendations on movies, tv shows or music?

Movies… I love a comedy. Any of the Naked Guns or Monty Python films

Series… a really good Uk drama if you haven’t seen it already, Line of Duty. Just finished it and thought it was excellent.

Music… Bobby Oroza, Anderson Paak, Free Nationals, Black Pumas. All have released very good albums this year, I’d recommend any of them!

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