An Interview With tonyjwhill

In this interview I talk to Tony all about music and vinyl.

@tonyjwhill

Tony: So I’m probably just your average record-collecting guy of a certain age. I’ve got a wonderful wife and son who are my world. I work in marketing as a client account director in a really great little agency down the road from me here in Kent.

I’ve been hooked on music since childhood, it’s a big constant in my life and there’s always something spinning or at least playing in the background. When I’m not working or busy with house stuff we try and get out and about as much as we can both locally in the UK and abroad (can’t wait for this, hopefully, last lockdown to end) – I’m lucky to have spent a lot of time in France and Romania and seen a good chunk of Europe. Like the bio says – I probably drink too much coffee but I make up for it with the occasional cider. I’m a literature graduate (well, a long time ago now) and while I no longer wrestle with the written word so much for a living, I read a huge amount and occasionally get asked to review books over on my blog, Mumbling About. With all these things I try and widen my horizons as much as possible but there’s always some old favourites and habits that remain.

Why did you decide to start a vinyl themed Instagram?

Probably like most I didn’t set out to go ‘vinyl’. I joined Instagram back in 2012 but didn’t get what it was / is and just posted sporadically at best for a few years. Then as I got increasingly fed up with other social media channels I started posting a little more but it was mostly travel, days out, books and the occasional record. As I started collecting more I started posting more then about a year ago I discovered the whole vinyl community side of it with all those great themed days like #newwavewednesday, #saturday90svinylrevival and #2000stuesday hosted by some really cool folks. It coincided with the whole furlough / redundancy / lockdown stuff too and posting and ‘talking’ music and records was a real positive thing for me and I started enjoying Instagram even if I’m still not sure I ‘get’ it (I’ve never worked out how to do stories) but it’s fun and the vinyl community is such a positive place compared to the toxicity you find on other networks. The music stuff – I include CDs and tapes in there too – has pretty much taken over but I’ll still try to mix it up with the odd book, cider or castle and, once it’s back on the cards again, travel.

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

There were always records about when I was a kid, I have fond memories of my Dad dropping the needle on stuff to introduce me to things like Dark Side of the Moon or Led Zeppelin’s IV but when I started getting into music myself in the 90s CDs were the format of choice for a long time. I have a bit of a collecting itch with things I’m in to like books and films etc and music is no exception, so from the second I started earning my own cash with Saturday jobs it started building, plus there were some great record shops about when I was at Uni too (though then it was still the era of CDs) and I probably ended up with a few thousand in the collection there…. most of which are now in boxes in the garage or attic.

Vinyl started for me a hair over ten years ago – when I hit 30 my wife, like a true enabler, bought me a great turntable. I had a few records as gifts from my best friend and started adding a few here and there, picking up things like OG copies Hounds of Love, PJ Harvey’s ‘To Bring You My Love’ and some Springsteen stuff before the big vinyl price hike. It really picked up a few years ago now – probably coinciding with when I found a great record shop down the road in Canterbury (the brilliantly named Vinystore Jr) and this label / distro called Aloud! out of Barcelona that has some amazing post-rock stuff on their roster –  to the point where my wife upgraded my turntable for my 40th last year and now if I buy new music (or music at all really) it’ll be on vinyl, there’s something much more tactile about it that appeals to me and the sound is inarguably better than you get on digital etc. 

I’ve set myself some rules and keep myself in check or I’d have no money or space left but it’s around 300 now and creeping up. It’s not the biggest of collections but it’s well loved and all of them get played. I’ve even managed to get my wife to add a few and my son has one in there too. I vary where I buy – digging through new and used crates (virtually these days) and eBay etc, trying to keep it independent / local rather than that big online place beginning with A.

What’s your vinyl holy grail?

I’m really lucky to have some sought-after records in my collection already, like the Mondo Jurrasic Park soundtrack with the randomly inserted Dilopohsaurus coloured vinyl which was a gift for my first Father’s Day, or the Mogwai Central Belters box which I picked up for £40 when new and some nice RSD / Love Record Store Day pressings… but I’ve never actively sought out a particular record very hard. 

I’d love to have Pearl Jam’s Live at Benaroya Hall, PJ20, Live on Two Legs or Lost Dogs on vinyl but the prices they’re going for means it’s a no go for me and I’ll just sit here quietly hoping for a repress.

I got into the whole Record Store Day thing a few years back and I’d really like a copy of the Lost In Translation soundtrack that came out in 2019. As soon as the prices on that come down to a more reasonable level I’ll be right on it!

Who’s in your top five of favourite bands?  

Dude, this is the toughest question. I could almost give you five from different genres but five overall… Shooting from top of my head today I’ll say;

Pearl Jam

Sonic Youth

Dinosaur Jr

Mogwai


Buffalo Tom

But then I’d also have to mention Pixies, Pink Floyd, Explosions In The Sky, Springsteen or…

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

I’m fascinated by Elvis Presley – the man behind the myth etc. But I don’t think I’d fancy dinner with him, he was a real germaphobe so either wouldn’t use cutlery or would take his own… might be a bit awkward with the whole ‘so, you died on the toilet…’ thing too.

I’ll say Eddie Vedder. I’ve been a huge Pearl Jam fan since I tuned in back in the late 90s and I’d love to hear some of the stories behind the songs and some of those ‘war’ stories. The dude also seems to have really mellowed since back in the day, he seems like a real doting family guy now and he’s championing some really important causes that I believe in too so it’d be cool to have a bite, enjoy a few glasses of wine and bust out the ukuleles afterwards.

Any recommendations on movies, tv shows or music?

I can’t remember the last ‘new’ film I watched. It was probably Pixar’s ‘Soul’ and that was pretty good (not their best still bloody good). I tend to watch older stuff on all the streaming channels lately rather than new. We recently re-watched the original Ghost In The Shell films, those are just astounding and they’ve got great soundtracks too (if someone could make a decent repress of the Ghost In The Shell: Innocence soundtrack I’d be very grateful), same with some Studio Ghibli films like ‘My Neighbour Totoro’. 

Just binged through a couple of French tv series on Netflix that I thought were great; ‘Lupin’ and ‘A Very Secret Service’. I’m also watching the first two series of Narcos for what must be the third time because it’s just such a great show.

Music wise I always say I think more people should know Buffalo Tom but I’ve been saying that since, like, 2001. Mogwai’s new album ‘As The Love Continues’ is already a contender for album of the year. I recently discovered Talk Talk, Big Thief and Adrianne Lenker’s solo stuff and there’s some great music there.

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