Spencer Smyth's record collection in his living room. ERIC SCHUCHT - THE CRESWELL CHRONICLE
Sony Music announced last June that they would resume manufacture of vinyl records for the first time in almost three decades. That same month, the area saw the grand opening of its newest record shop: Moon Rock Records. More and more people who grew up listening to music on CDs are now turning to records.
”Maybe it's just some sort of resistance to the modern age of MP3s,” said Callie Dean, co-owner of Moon Rock Records.”There's definitely been the boom that they've been talking about for like a decade now.”
The area boasts a large community of record collectors and is home to many record shops, some of which have been around for decades. The yearly Eugene Record Convention, one of the largest of its kind in the northwest, will be celebrating its 30th year of operation this month.
”Eugene has a lot of really deep music heads, Dean said. ”You've got your nostalgic dad type, the young hip kids like me or your DJs who clearly understand vinyls final.”
One of those DJs is University of Oregon student Spencer Smyth who has been interested in vinyl since high school. After having been exposed to records at a friend's house he quickly became a fan. He got his first record player the Christmas of 2013 and has been collecting records ever since.
”I was used to having music on a CD or on an iPod, where it's not quite the same experience,” Smyth said. ”Digital is just like a frozen dinner, you just pop it in and it's super easy and convenient, but then vinyl is like cooking up a five-star meal.”
Symth's collection has since grown to over 500 records as he aspires to become a professional turntable disc jockey, or DJ. He is a huge fan of '60s jazz, '70s soul and film soundtracks – which he samples to remix into his own songs.
Dean said she believes it's the delayed gratification that makes records more appealing. The joy of discovering something unusual or hard to find is what attracts people to the medium.
”It's the search that makes it special. That's what it is for me – being able to find some weird, obscure one-hit wonder guys who only made one record ever in the '60s,” Dean said. ”I find that stuff way more interesting.”
Symth said he loves the hunt for a particular beat or song snippet that he can manipulate with his computer to create his own tracks. He's performed at various venues in town, such as Voodoo Doughnuts and WOW Hall. He hopes to one day DJ full-time while continuing to listen to vinyl records all along the way.
”It's my favorite way to listen to music that's been invented,” Smyth said.
Moon Rock Records located in downtown Eugene at 277 W. 8th St. and is open noon to 8 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.