The Vinyl Revival | Interview with Director Pip Piper - Picturehouse Spotlight

The Vinyl Revival | Interview with Director Pip Piper

Felicity Beckett interviews Pip Piper director of The Vinyl Revival, a film about why the tables are turning again.

World Premiere screening with QA : Hackney Picture House July 17th 6.30pm.

The Vinyl Revival explores the renaissance in all things vinyl. Hearing from passionate new record shops owners as well the established die-hards still going and thriving; speaking with musicians and music industry pundits plus experts on culture and music history; the film discusses the importance of the record shop and vinyl as a whole. It answers the why’s of vinyl’s revival, the human need for belonging, the love of history and the stories of how the humble little record shop has shaped so many lives.

“It’s a Lazarus moment” Phil Barton of Sister Ray and ERA.

Contributors in the film include; Graham Jones – Proper music – Last Shop Standing author / Nick Mason – Pink Floyd / Ade Utley – Portishead (see below image)/ The Orielles / Natalie Judge – Owner, World of Echo / Phil Barton – ERA – Sister Ray / Dr Jen Otter Bikerdike – Author ‘Why Vinyl Matters’(see below image)/ Megan Page – Record Store Day UK – ERA  / CASSIA / Joel Gion – The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

Felicity Beckett (FB): Can you tell us the story behind the documentary and it being the natural follow up to “Last Shop Standing”?

Pip Piper (PP): Well, unbelievably it is 7 years since “Last Shop Standing” and with Graham Jones bringing out his latest book, “The Vinyl Revival And The Shops That Made It Happen”, it just seemed the perfect time to take to the road again and see just what was driving the whole vinyl renaissance. Despite thinking we were making a film about the slow disappearance of record shops with LSS we did see glimmers of hope but the last few years have been incredible in terms of growth and interest in vinyl and record shops.

FB: Can you talk to us about the importance of someone like Graham Jones and how one person can make such a difference?

PP: This man needs an OBE! Or maybe a knighthood! He has been a really significant factor in helping both maintain and help grow the whole indie record shop scene and of course vinyl. He has most likely visited more record shops than anyone alive. He knows so many people and is a massive font of knowledge on all things indie record shops, their people, stories and music. Seriously it cannot be underestimated just what an impact Graham has had. Make sure you get to meet him at some of the screenings.

FB: And also the genius of Record Store Day, who knew what a global phenomenom that would become?

PP: RSD is a huge influence and factor on both helping the whole indie record shop sector grow but also diversify, be innovative and of increasing relevance to music fans. Kim and Megan, who run RSD UK, both deserve medals.

FB: There are many who argue that vinyl is the best format for most closely reproducing the intended sound. Was this something that people new to vinyl were able to comment on or is it mainly the likes of elder states-musos like Elton John or Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason?

PP: Nope, it is definitely something young people were picking up on too. Of course it does depend on what your playing your vinyl on and what quality the record. I think for most younger people its all about a deeper connection to the actual music. This is true whether its second hand or new vinyl. They know there is a warmth to the music, natural processes not digital ones and zeros. It is also about ownership too.

FB: For many music is something incredibly sacred. People over 40 will have memories of limited access adding to the mystique. Would you say that was a part of the story?

PP: I think you lose something when you can get anything you want whenever you want, not just music but anything. You think its serving you but it can often feel less connected, more remote. Its not wrong but vinyl offers something far more tangible.

FB: There are some who thought the vinyl revival a hipster gimmick but the sales are way above and beyond a trend or one demographic, can you talk about the sheer range of people you met?

PP: It is everyone, honestly, the whole demographic, young, old, all genders and ethnicity… not that we spoke to everyone, that would be a long film! I can see how some think it’s just part of some transient hipster Shoreditch fad, but it is way beyond that for sure.

FB: How much of the trade is in re-issues and re-discovering old bands and old artwork and how much is brand new?

PP: In all honesty I cannot answer that factually but anecdotally it certainly is an element of re-issues of the bigger bands but it really is so much new stuff too. I don’t know any new bands who aren’t or desire to get their new stuff out on vinyl even if on limited runs.
All my new music I buy on vinyl.

FB: What and where was your first vinyl purchase?

PP:Ok, so this would be probably around 1973, I think it was called Discotrak in Kenilworth, the nearest record shop to where I lived, Balsall Common about 5 miles away. From blurred and abused memory I would say it was Elvis Presley, Easy Come and Easy Go, a statement I’ve tried to live upto ever since!
(FB: FYI Mine was Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds from Woolies on Sheen High St, I found it a bit scary which I quite liked).

FB: It is such a beautiful anomaly and no-one can really put their finger on the one reason for vinyl’s survival, what is your theory?

PP: I think it is so many different things many of which we explore in the film. Overall I think its partly a kick back at how digital has taken over, of course offering amazing convenience and access but with a sense of disconnect and lacking in soul. Buy hey, thats just my opinion. Come see the film and lets have a chat.

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