IN PHOTOS: Satchmi Vinyl Day 2018 salutes to a future of vinyl
MANILA, Philippines – Six years on, Satchmi’s Vinyl Day still attracts quite a lively and passionate crowd, if the venue’s elevated platform shaking was any indication. Held at Green Sun in Makati last Saturday, June 16, the 2018 edition featured an live act lineup of crowd favorites, and of course, a selection of new and vintage vinyl records sold at bargain prices.
With a venue packed to the rafters, Vinyl Day’s stellar lineup kept the crowd pumped from afternoon until midnight.
Here are some of the acts we managed to catch:
Ourselves the Elves performed a few tunes with their signature brand of dreamy, folk-esque garage rock.
All-female punk band Flying Ipis delivered some rousing anthems for the audience in the early part of the evening.
Taken by Cars offered a dose of dream pop, even treating the audience to a few of their own classics such as “December 2 Chapter VII.”
Singer-songwriter and electronic pop producer B.P. Valenzuela, once Satchmi’s resident barista at their Megamall outpost, played in previous editions of Vinyl Day, and once again, she commanded the house with her intimate, spellbinding songs.
Including their catharsis-inducing crowd-pleaser “Cloud,” indie rock band Lions & Acrobats’s solid set had the entire house singing their lungs out.
Post-punk/alt-rock outfit She’s Only Sixteen captivated Vinyl Day-goers with a set showcasing their evolved sound since gracing the stage at the first ever Vinyl Day in Bonifacio High Street.
Ben & Ben was an obvious crowd favorite, as twin brothers Paolo and Miguel Guico and the rest of the nine-piece folk rock band led the entire room in resounding song.
For over two decades, Sandwich continues to deliver electrifying – at times, gravity-defying — performances.
Even if their Vinyl Day 2018 set was the last one, the pit’s energy didn’t seem to be zapped out.
These rock stalwarts – joined by Taken by Cars’s Sarah Marco, Ourselves the Elves’s Akira Medina, and Cheats’s Enzo Hermosa, respectively on vocals, guitar and drum duties – even indulged the crowd with a few encore numbers, including the anthemic “Sugod.”
The future is vinyl?
Vinyl Day can be an unlikely snapshot of what music consumption looks like nowadays by putting the spotlight on vinyl culture and staging a live gig. Intriguingly written on the poster, just below the names of the artists – Satchmi proclaimed, “The future is vinyl.”
That’s a brave thing to say.
It feels that only a while back, these large objects with sleeves fraying at the edges, had seemed to be relegated to dusty vintage and consignment stores. Once scorned as a relic and an object of “Look at this f*cking hipster” derision, vinyl suddenly rose to prominence once again – even as disruptive digital music formats and platforms emerged and evolved.
A Pitchfork piece traces Nielsen’s US Music Year-End Reports from 2006 to 2017, which showed a growth in vinyl sales for 12 straight years, culminating in a current record high of 14.3 million records — a 9% growth from the previous year.
The trend still indicates vinyl’s renaissance, but the devil is in the details.
Big double-digit gains were posted in previous years, so some had said that with the current percentage gain, the “boom is over.” Meanwhile, other data trackers like BuzzAngle, Discogs, and even retailers like eBay (as reported by Pitchfork) – with their different methodologies – still retain double-digit figures.
Even the metrics itself couldn’t be as precise while streaming platforms like Spotify can glean more insights with other exact variables at their disposal.
A little recently, on the supply end of things, new vinyl presses and factories have been made and opened to meet a burgeoning demand, addressing manufacturing delays that have plagued record labels given vinyl’s rather surprising comeback.
Aislinn Chuahiock, one of Satchmi’s founders, told Rappler that interest in this recording medium may have just waxed (pun intended) and waned in the past, but vinyl had never turned completely obsolete.
“It never died down. People have always assumed that it died. There is a very, very big culture that believed that music should be represented in vinyl,” she said.
Vinyl is unabashedly a luxury enjoyed by only some casual and avid collectors, especially given how much a new album would retail for around PHP 1,000 and above. It’s definitely not a cheap hobby to collect LPs (long play).
However, it’s also just one way to enjoy music out of the variety of avenues out there: from gigs, concerts and music festivals, to the on-demand or subscription-based streaming platforms available in the palm of our hands.
So, why vinyl?
“Vinyl is romantic,” Satchmi’s Chuahiock said. “There is something about vinyl that is worth investing on.”
For her, the nostalgic appeal boils down to the medium’s “physicality.” She said, “Downloading is something so easy. It’s so [impersonal]. It’s so easy to pass. It’s so easy to copy. But vinyl is something that you own.”
Then, there’s also the debate as to which medium sounds the best, and some people say it’s the analog vinyl record, often describing it as “warm.”
Chuahiock extended the comparison, calling digital music by the opposite, “cold,” while tying this back to the tangibility of an LP. She said, “Everybody can own the same file. But how about owning [a record] and displaying it?”
For some, this “warmth” is associated with the entire tactile listening experience, including the buzzes, scratches, and other audible markers of texture that would otherwise be perceived as unforgivable flaws. As it has been tirelessly repeated, there is beauty in imperfection.
Behind these observations, science would even point toward other directions, saying that no, vinyl isn’t objectively superior to other tangible recording media.
Comparing it to the CD, Vox explained, “Vinyl is physically limited by the fact that records have to be capable of being played without skipping or causing distortion. That both limits the dynamic range — the difference between the loudest and softest note — and the range of pitches (or ‘frequencies’) you can hear.”
In a 2013 think piece, “Does Vinyl Sound Better?”, Pitchfork’s outgoing executive editor Mark Richardson argued, “Few aesthetic experiences are as subjective as sound [...] What we desire in sound is much more of an individual thing.”
“Some people want ‘accuracy’ and some people want a lot of bass; some people only care that it's loud enough. Plus, we're very good at fooling ourselves when it comes to making distinctions between sounds.”
He added, “The small differences between sources of sound reproduction are, for most people, pretty hard to differentiate, and wholly personal.”
If it’s not necessarily sound quality or convenience that vinyl enthusiasts are buying into, it’s more likely the experience. This is what Vinyl Day has continued to tap into, year after year.
There’s an entire culture surrounding the vinyl record, as Chuahiock described it: "The whole process of buying a vinyl, playing a vinyl, and listening to vinyl.”
When Satchmi arrived in the local scene shortly before it held its first Vinyl Day, the goal back then was, Chuahiock said, to introduce vinyl to a younger demographic. The retailer even has its own portable turntable, Motorino – now on its third iteration – to demonstrate this commitment.
“It [hasn’t been] smooth sailing. It’s hard work,” she added. “But I love how the youth is so [accepting of] the old ways, and I love how the youth understands how precious [the] process is: how you need to quiet down to listen to analog music and enjoy the mood [it sets].”
She also suggested that a record is a tangible manifestation of one’s relationship with the musician or artist: “With vinyl, you really buy into the artist: the art that goes into the covers, the hard work that goes into the vinyl itself.”
Naysayers say the bubble will eventually burst, or that the music scene will reach “peak vinyl.”
However, with venues like this that champion vinyl for whatever good it can represent and precious experience it lends to open ears, vinyl’s death seems unthinkable and unspeakable. – Rappler.com