AN INTERVIEW WITH ERIC PEYER

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Submitted Date 01/23/2020
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Eric Peyer is a DJ, conduit of music, and resides in Chicago.

 

How many records do you have?

I have 1,680. I have them all on Discogs.

What is your history with vinyl?

When I was a kid, my family always collected records. We never got into cassette tapes. I think we had 8 tracks for awhile but then vinyl. That was our medium. So that's how I got started. And then CDs came along and I started collecting those. I think Leah (his wife) and I bought turntables when we moved to the Chicago area in the early 2000s and decided we'd be djs. We started buying Lots of records. You would just buy 100 records, you wouldn't know what it was. You would know a little bit of what you were getting like these artists have records in there or it's this type of music. It's really terrible, it's a really terrible way of buying. Like oh, I have turntables so I should just buy a lot of records.

I still have a lot of them that I need to get rid of. I can't remember what website it was, if craigslist was around then. It might have been ebay that we bought the Lots on. Record stores did have that option sometimes. When I met m50and Dreamlogicc that's when I really started collecting. I think that is when I found out some things were only released on vinyl.

 

When I found out that there were things only released on vinyl, I became interested.

The reasons I collect currently is different, I'm on the computer a lot, I have streaming services. But for me I like to own things.

There's certain people that need to own a copy of something. Like people who have books, this something is a speciality you have to have a copy of it.

I think vinyl works really well because it's this tangible thing with artwork and everything. It's not as disposable as a CD in a plastic case. It's something more cherished.

I think that's why it works well. I have streaming which I mostly listen to. When I like something a lot I have to buy the vinyl copy.

 

When did you buy your first record?

I've had 45s since I was 3,4,5 years old I had a record player in my room. I had the Batman theme song I would listen to all of the time. Close encounters of the Third Kind, I love that record. All these pop culture things that I thought were really weird and cool. I don't even know if I knew what Batman was but I loved that record.

I grew up in Pittsburgh suburbs, it felt like I was in the middle of nowhere. I was on the poor side of the city. There wasn't much, maybe Sam Goody. I bought most of records at KMart. We were just buying pop music. You'd always find the b side and think this is really cool or weird. But I had no access to anything weird. My parents and sister were into collecting stuff that was already on the radio. I was shut off.

I remember as a kid I would hear something that was fringe and I would try and describe it to my dad and he would say " I don't know what you're talking about" there was no way to find it.

We went to see Neil Diamond once when I was a kid. My mom loved Neil Diamond so that was the crap we had in the house. My dad listened to jazz but it wasn't fringe. It was the most boring jazz music. I have some of his records on vinyl. The medium was what stuck, not the music. We as a family thought vinyl was the best medium. My sister got one of the first cd players in the 80s, I thought that was very cool.

But we felt cassette tapes were garbage, they would never last. These records will last forever, they are made from oil. Of course they get scratched. My mom had one of those big record players that had built in cabinets.

I keep on wanting to find weirder and weirder music. If I had one influence like that I probably would have went off the rails.It wasn't until I was in high school and one of my friend's younger brothers, was listening to Sonic Youth. And I thought, this is so bizarre. When I went to college and met Leah she was listening to Beat Happening, Violent Femmes, Fugazi and stuff like that. Sonic Youth was everywhere when I got to college.

Everyone I met in college broadened my horizon. One of my roommates was into metal, he got me into Metallica and Rage Against the Machine, Biohazard and Pantera. I learned a lot from them. One of my good friends Gordon got me into pop music, stuff I liked but I was guarded against. He was into Michael Jackson and Prince. He said, "If you like it you like it." That really taught me a lot. Even though I don't collect that music I appreciate it.

 

What is your process of digging deeper? How do you find what you find on vinyl?

I am very process oriented. I got tired of selling my collection and getting into something new. Hobby wise I've always been really distracted, I just like a lot of things. But with music I try to separate what I might listen to streaming to what I might collect. I try and collect what I would consider to be music that was created because someone had an artistic vision and it needed to be produced. Rather than music that was created to fit in a genre.

My collection right now is all stuff that will be timeless. It's not linked to a fad or trend. That's purposeful because I don't want to be tired of it. I feel like I've developed a sense for what is being produced to be fashionable so my music isn't very fashionable but timeless. From a few solid years of listening intently I can easily draw that line.

I also collect a lot of stuff like smaller pressings that won't be around forever.

I love Radiohead but I'm probably not going to see them again. I'm not going to go to the United Center. A huge part of seeing live music is the venue, the experience of it. Same thing with my collection. It's not music that is really accessible in other forms. It's not on the radio. They might do a few pressings of something but most people wouldn't know what it is.

Another aspect of it is having a kid, and now thinking about this is something that will be I can give to him. That also changes and reinforces the idea of the collection being something that he can't just go buy and replace.

I don't go for stuff I could easily get a reissue of. It's not as worth as much as something m50 or Dreamlogicc made. I follow specific labels through instagram, bandcamp, or online. I keep dibs on certain labels.

 

Where there any albums that you thought would sound better on vinyl?

I liked the mystique of vinyl, I like to find something that when you listen to it I can't even believe this is pressed on vinyl. Especially something that is really electronic and it doesn't seem it's man made. It doesn't seem real. I feel like when you listen to really warm record you think, of course this is on vinyl.

I like when I find something that is really dissonant and interesting. You can't even really believe that someone would put this on vinyl.

It's fun to play records for people, it's more impactful for the needle to be on the record. There's an aspect to that I like. I like that dichotomy, like you just expect Bob Dylan or Neil Young that is so warm and analogue sounding. But then you get techno or Kraftwerk and you don't expect to hear that. Especially when it's old like in the 70s or 80s.

 

What is your favorite store to go to?

I definitely still enjoy going to a store and doing the impulse buy. But my method now is that I have a list where I want this record, where can I get it. I'll go online to see if one of the local shops have it. I'll look to see if I can buy it from the artist on Bandcamp. I'll go to Discogs and research. I try not to go and do a lot of impulse buying.

A lot of times I'm disappointed with what I get. A lot of times I just drank a bunch of coffee and I'm wondering if I'm buying because of an endorphin high.

But with that said, I'm really enjoying 606 Records in Pilsen. I like to go there for crate digging. I don't like to buy three dollar records. I'm not looking for deals or to bolster my collection. I'd rather have it smaller.

I like the idea that I can pull any record out and listen to it.

This collection doesn't span my entire mood spectrum,. It's more that I can pull any record and think this really means a lot to me. I like Jim's (MAGAS) weirdo section in Reckless Records. He's the pied piper in Chicago, a lot of people rely on him for stuff. I'll go in there and say what's weird and he'll pull out 10 records. I won't buy all of them but I will buy a lot of them.

 

What are a few of your favorite vinyls?

I bought these jazz, new age records. Benny Melvins, Jewel of a Lotus. A lot of the music you can compare to a landscape painting. It puts you in a place. I feel that I collect music that artists make to recreate a scene or place. I think that could be a common thread in the music I like. I can look at a record cover and know that I will like a record. I like records that are hard to find.

 

 

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