An Interview With mkevinyl

In this interview I talk to mkevinyl all about music, vinyl and Instagram

Why did you decide to start a vinyl themed Instagram?

My page came out of boredom, actually. A previous job of mine gave me a whole lot of spare time, and I’d been filling it with special projects at home. I had just finished painting a Piet Mondrian-style mural on my living room wall, and I was restoring a 1970s electric typewriter in my dining room, but the parts always took a while to arrive, so there was still downtime. One night I was strolling around from room to room, and realized I’d filled every area with stuff I’d picked up over the years. Books, art, sculptures, antiques, movies, and a record collection.

So around 2 a.m. I turned on all of the lights and started taking photos & playing with color/lighting/angles. By the time the sun was up, I had a couple dozen shots that I really liked. I downloaded Instagram, opened an account under the handle “physicalmedias”, posted about ten photos, and went to sleep. I woke up some time later and found that my records were getting the most attention by far, so I renamed it “mkevinyl”, with MKE being the shorthand for Milwaukee, the city I live in. I concentrated on my vinyl from then on, and the attention I got grew from there – a whole lot quicker than I ever imagined, honestly. It’s been a truly special experience with all of I’ve learned and whom I’ve met and become friends with – I’m constantly driven to look for ways to improve the stuff I put out there.

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

About fifteen years ago I got 30-40 records from my parents after I bought this cheap little RCA turntable when I worked at RadioShack. They were the same records I listened to when I was growing up, so it was a very passive hobby for me. My vinyl setup was just this thing I had sitting in a corner of my room that I would mess with when I needed a nostalgia fix. 

Then about six or seven years ago I got a better turntable from a friend, and a couple modern records at the mall. A Black Flag and an Offspring, I think. After that, the music felt more real to me, and the collecting steadily grew from that. I currently have about 500 records and a much better setup. It would be much more, but I’m really picky about what I get. If I scoop up an album, I know I’ll never want to sell it, or stop listening to it. There are some artists out there that I love, but don’t own some or any of their records because I can’t picture myself sitting down and listening to it all the way through.

I also like to wait to find the albums I want when I’m out digging in the field. That’s one of the reasons why I made a point to visit all of the record stores in my home state of Wisconsin.

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

That’s a tough one to answer, like many people, I’d assume. If I had to narrow my favorites down to a few… they would have to be Finch’s “What It Is To Burn”, the anniversary release of Nirvana’s “Unplugged In New York”, Sonny Clark’s “Cool Struttin'”, and Thrice’s “The Alchemy Index” box set. Each one has some of my favorite music I want to listen to on repeat, have beautiful cover art, the pressings look amazing, and sound mind-blowing. 

I’ve had holy grails come and go over the years, but there’s one that I’ve never been able to add to my collection: Citizen Cope’s “The Clarence Greenwood Recordings”. It’s one of my favorite all-time albums, but it was only pressed once and goes for $400-600 every time it pops up for sale. I’ve contacted Vinyl Me, Please, Craft Recordings, RCA Records, and even Mr. Cope himself in hopes of getting a reissue to happen… but so far no luck.

Who’s in your top five of favourite bands?

That changes a lot for me, but Nirvana, Tom Waits, Thrice, John Coltrane, and The Clash… those are the ones I always come back to the most. Probably because I grew up listening to each one of them, and that great music is coupled with all of the memories that come with it.

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

It’d be Kurt Cobain, and instead of dinner I think it would be coffee. A lot of coffee. Since the early 90s I was damn-near obsessed with many aspects of his life – the music, his philosophies, even his guitars. When you learn so much about a person that you’ve never met, you stop having questions about them. Over coffee I’d like to just have a nice long hangout session. Aimless conversation between friends.

Any recommendations on movies, tv shows or music?

I spent some time working as a freelance writer for an indie film & arts website in my mid 20s, so I’ve aquired a taste for some of the lesser-known and more odd shows and films. As a big sweeping reccomendation, I’d tell anyone to check out David Lynch’s stuff. It’s a brilliant and entertaining catalog of work that requires you to take multiple passes to unwrap all of the meaning.

We’re in an interesting time when it comes to entertainment – Hollywood is churning out blockbuster flicks at an alarming rate, but now all of the misfits have the ability to reach a wide audience with weird works that have substance. And a lot of the right people are taking notice. Take the company A24 for example. The films they release are consistently amazing, like Hereditary and The Lighthouse.

As far as music goes, check out my page @mkevinyl Everything I post about, I reccomend a listen.

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