An Interview with Jarrett New of Vinyl Eyezz

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MY VINYL AUDIO SETUP - YouTube

If you consider yourself a part of the Vinyl Community, then you probably watch vinyl-related videos on YouTube. Now, if you’ve been watching those videos for the last 6 or so years, then I am more than certain you’ve had the pleasure of checking out Jarret New’s Vinyl Eyezz channel. Truthfully, the channel is pretty hard to miss, and with 196,000 subscribers at the time of this writing, it is bar none, the largest channel of its kind, and with good reason- Jarrett is simply a nice guy, and his videos are informative, interesting and well put together. When I first got back into vinyl, I learned a ton of basic information from Jarrett in one video and then a whole bunch of new music in the next. So, if you’re just getting into the hobby, check out Jarret’s channel here, or his website here. In the meantime, check out this interview. Cheers.

Andrew:
Jarrett, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. Tell us about your back story. How did you get into records?

Jarrett:
Thank you for reaching out! Actually, it all started with a Super Nintendo…I was bored one day and decided to look through old boxes in the closet. I discovered my old Super Nintendo that I hadn’t seen in forever. So I hooked it up to my vintage 19” Broksonic CRT Television, with the VCR and DVD player combo (which still works great and I’ll never get rid of!), and thankfully the SNES started up perfectly! Soon after, I was playing Super Mario All Stars and Biker Mice from Mars, and all my old favorites. I invited my sister to join me and we spent the rest of the afternoon laughing and playing all the games we grew up with. That day made me realize that nostalgia can be really fun. It makes us appreciate the simpler things in life, like before the Internet and smartphones…before life got too noisy. I was wondering to myself, “What other technology or hobby could evoke this same sense of nostalgia?” And so I thought…what about records? And that sent me down the rabbit hole!

Andrew:
This is such a weird era we find ourselves in. What have you been doing to pass the time? You’ve moved a few times in the last year or two, right? What was the experience like moving with all those records?

Jarrett:
2020 was definitely the strangest and scariest year that most of us have ever seen. It was a time that made us all truly appreciate what we have and cherish the simpler things, like health and family. So, since I’ve always been kind of an introvert and an “indoors person,” I’ve been passing the time by playing my favorite Sade records, listening to random cassettes I bought online (most recently the Brainscan Soundtrack), watching a lot of movies, making more videos for the channel, and attempting to finish reading Hustle by Neil Patel, that I started a while back but haven’t finished yet. As far as moving goes, yes, I’m originally from Texas but I moved to California many years ago, and in 2018, I decided to move to Arizona, but then realized the desert wasn’t for me, and then moved again in 2019, back to Texas (and I plan on staying put!) Moving with records can be tricky. Cardboard boxes are your friends; you can load them to the brim with 12 inch vinyl albums, but you MUST tape them up correctly so they don’t fall apart when you’re transporting them. My collection is sitting at about 350 records right now, and even though we rented a moving truck, I didn’t want to risk them getting warped in the heat, so I kept them in my car with the A/C blasting the whole drive. Every night I would lug them from the car to the air conditioned comfort of the hotel room. I treat them like my babies and because of that, they’re all still in great condition!

Andrew:
You’ve been running the Vinyl Eyezz channel for some time now, right? Tell us how that started. What gave you the idea, and how did it become what it is today?

Jarrett:
Yes, I started the channel in July 2015 after I graduated from Film School and I really wanted to be a resource for people that were getting into records. When I first got started, I had a million questions, so I’d go online to try to find the answers; but I soon found out the info I was looking for was in a million places. So I started Vinyl Eyezz with the goal of putting everything vinyl-related in one place. This would be a community where we could all dive deep into the hobby and basically nerd out about records and record culture together. Also, it’s become my outlet to talk about the music that I love, all day long, and share those bands/albums with viewers. I also get recommendations every day in the comments of videos of what other collectors are listening to as well, and those help me discover even more great music. Overall, I’m amazed by how much the channel has grown over the years and as a big thank you to my viewers, I want to keep bringing them the best content possible.

TOP 5 ALBUMS I WANT ON VINYL! - YouTube

Andrew:
I’ve discovered a lot of cool music through your channel. How has your musical taste evolved over the years to where it is today?

Jarrett:
I’m glad you like my recommendations! It’s cool when you find the music that you just instantly connect with, right? Well, when I was growing up, I was kinda angsty and I listened to a lot of stuff like Staind, Linkin Park, System of a Down, Limp Bizkit, Papa Roach, and other random stuff. One of my first memories of really connecting with music was when I was in middle school and I would fall asleep on my bed listening to Staind’s “Break the Cycle” on my Portable CD player with cheapie foam headphones. That music was so powerful to me at the time, and I remember how much of an impression it made on me. Maybe if I was cooler, I would’ve been listening to Nine Inch Nails and Tool, but oh well…I discovered that stuff later on and now as I’ve gotten older, I really appreciate it.

My musical taste in the beginning was very much mainstream. I’d usually listen to what everyone else is listening to, or whatever I heard on the radio or TV. But now I find myself going out of my way to discover more rare/obscure stuff that no one else knows about. Maybe it’s the hipster in me trying to be different or something, but it’s really fun to find a gem of an album at the record shop or a YouTube sidebar recommendation, and fall in love with it. I’m always playing music and trying to discover the next new thing that I can recommend to people. Also, in addition to searching for the new stuff, I probably spend an equal amount of time playing the same old albums over and over again. I never get tired of good music, you know?

Andrew:
In watching your channel over the years, I’ve come to learn that you’re very honest when it comes to the state of the industry. Whether it’s pressing quality, RSD issues, or price gouging, you’re always very informative and honest. Why do you feel that’s important?

Jarrett:
I feel it’s important to be honest in general, and if I have viewers that trust my opinions, I’d never want to betray their trust by telling them something I knew wasn’t true. I want to be real with people. If a record release didn’t have the best quality control at the factory, I’ll point it out, because I think it’s important for people to know that if they’re considering picking up that same record and adding to their collection.

Andrew:
Is there anything within the industry that you would like to see change for the better? What improvements would you like to see that you feel would be beneficial to us all within the vinyl community?

Jarrett:
As I just pointed out in the previous question, I think good quality control measures across all record pressing plants would be great for collectors. So many times I read Amazon reviews of records and people are saying that it was badly warped, or the label was stamped off center, or it skips, etc. And it would be nice if every factory and brand cared as much about their releases as Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, for example. Their releases are flawless because they’re meticulous about every step…and it shows.

Andrew:
I’d like your opinion on this: There are a lot of artists out there who are fantastic, but get stuck in the underground, while others go on to great success. What is it about our culture that causes this to happen? Do you think the general public is truly listening?

Jarrett:
I think it all boils down to “fitting the mold,” so to speak. In order to be radio friendly, your songs have to be three-and-a-half minutes long, they need to have a beat for people to dance to, and they need to have repetitive lyrics so they get stuck in people’s heads, etc. etc. And when you discover stuff like Tool, for example, they don’t fit ANY of those criteria. Many of their songs are like 12 mins long! And the lyrics are actually deep and thought-provoking. Now, they’re actually very popular too, but you get my point here. If you don’t fit the mold, you’re not as widely acceptable to mainstream audiences. Robert Rich, for example, is one of my favorite musicians of the last 5 years. He’s in the Ambient genre, which has never been mass appealing, but his music has moved me in indescribable ways. He’s got Somnium a 7 hour album, and Perpetual an 8 hour album, both of which you can play on low volume while sleeping, and they will guide your dreams. He’s an incredibly talented artist that not too many people know about, yet again, because he doesn’t fit the mold. I think the general public won’t come across this kind of music on TV or radio, so it’s up to blogs like ours to get the word out and spread the “Gospel” of good music/artists whenever we can.

Andrew:
In the world we live in today, we are more or less dominated by capitalism and the never-ending barrage of social media. How has this affected music as an art form? Is an artist’s ability to get their music out there hindered by all this, or helped?

Jarrett:
I think smartphones have made us all pretty anxious. Every day we’re bombarded with ads, news (mostly bad), and random stimuli that all gets stored in our subconscious…that’s why we’re stressed and can’t get to sleep. However, on the flip side of the coin, smartphones have allowed us to have more access to music than at any other time in history. It’s a double edged sword. I think social media can be a blessing or a curse, depending on what content you’re consuming. As far as music is concerned, listen to the stuff you like and lose yourself in that world. Focus your mind and let it be an escape. Yet again, Robert Rich’s Ambient music does that for me. I put on a good pair of headphones and forget about all the craziness and noise out there. I’m in my own world, and it’s amazing. I think the most important thing for an artist to do is to spend most of their time making music, getting better and better, and then regardless of everything else, the word will get out, and people will flock to them. There’s a lot of noise out there, but if your sound is good enough, you’ll rise above it.

Andrew:
I know this is a broad question, and many of us who watch your videos will know this, but for those who might be new, who are some of your favorite artists? What’s your favorite genre, and why?

Jarrett:
As I mentioned, I’m a fan of Robert Rich, Brian Eno, Steve Roach, Anugama, and Ambient music in general because it’s so calming. But I also listen to all kinds of genres. Lately, I’ve been listening to Bohren und der Club of Gore, Caroline Polachek, Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, Bülow, Sabrina Claudio, Alina Baraz, KEM, Tool, and of course Sade. I pretty much listen to everything under the sun except Country, Rap, and Death Metal.

Andrew:
We know you collect records, but beyond the collecting, what do records mean to you? More so, what does music mean to you in general?

Jarrett:
Music is an escape from the monotony of life, similar to a movie or a book; it’s entertainment, but also a way to connect with yourself and others. When you hear a really good song/album, it speaks to you in a way that nothing else can. I think our ancestors were probably pounding drums crafted from animal skins and making grunting noises with their mouths, and those were the first “songs.” The tribe could only make this primitive “music” after their base needs were met, like knowing they had water, food in their bellies, and were safe..so music is like a celebration of sorts. Music is primal, it’s ancient, it’s been with us as long as we’ve have been around, and it speaks to us on a deeper level. Records especially are great because in this age of streaming, where nothing is tangible, they allow us to actually touch the music, hold the jacket, and see the beautiful artwork…it’s a more engaging experience. And, when you play a record, you actually OWN the music, instead of just renting it. Also, no ads or buffering!

Andrew:
Quality control is a huge issue within the industry today. What are you thoughts on the state of QC these days? What needs to change?

Jarrett:
I think record pressing plants and labels need to be careful about what they put out there. Quality control is important because nobody wants to receive a warped record, or a scratched record, or a record where the artwork is lacking. Taking extra care at every step will fix most of these issues.

Andrew:
Record Store Day is a sort of hot button issue within the community. Attitudes are all over the place regarding it. What are your honest thoughts and opinions on RSD?

Jarrett:
I think Record Store Day is good, because it gets the word out there that physical vinyl records are still around and they’re a great way to experience music. However, that being said, I personally wouldn’t want to sleep outside the shop for 12 hours, just to get the first copy of a rare pressing. I love music, but I think that’s a bit extreme. I think if RSD stays true to it’s original goal of spreading the gospel of vinyl, I’m cool with it…but if it turns into a pseudo-Black Friday-esque brawl/circus…then I’ll pass.

Andrew:
What are some albums you don’t have, but hope to find one day? Are there any albums you’ve given up that you wish you hadn’t? Are you like some of us who purge records only to rebuy them again?

Jarrett:
I’d love to get a copy of Low’s I Could Live in Hope on vinyl, but that’s pretty rare. I’d also like for them to release all of Hiroshi Yoshimura’s work on vinyl. I own Green and Music for Nine Postcards and they’re masterpieces, but I’d love to own more of his music. I’ve pretty much kept all my best records, and have only sold off the stuff that I couldn’t find myself playing more than a few times. So, my collection at the moment is manageable, but if it ever gets to the point where I have to sell off a few good records, then I’ll be a little heartbroken, yes, but when that happens, it’ll be nice to know that other people will enjoy them as much as I had.

Andrew:
Once COVID-19 calms down, what does the future hold for Vinyl Eyezz? What’s next? What drives you? What inspires you most?

Jarrett:
This whole pandemic has been pretty scary, but I basically continued to do what I had been doing Pre-COVID, which was to make videos in my little studio about my thoughts on music and vinyl in general. In the near future, I’d like to upgrade my camera gear, lighting, etc. so I can keep bringing my viewers the best production quality possible, and essentially keep making videos about music-related things that I think are fun and interesting! The quote that inspires me most is, “Don’t compare yourself to others. Compare yourself to YOU yesterday.” I always want to challenge myself to make great content that people can connect with.

Andrew:
Even though 2020 was pretty awful, we still saw a ton of great music released. What are some of your “must haves” of 2020?

Jarrett:
Well, it’s funny, I don’t keep up on all the newest albums but I’m always discovering music regardless. If I discover a new album today, which was released in 1996, I still consider that a new discovery for me! As far as music that was released/rereleased in 2020 proper, I’d say Caroline Polachek’s PANG, The Verve Acoustic Sounds Series release of Getz/Gilberto (which sounds excellent), Bohren und Der Club of Gore’s Patchouli Blue, Sade’s This Far Vinyl Boxed Set (which includes all 6 of her albums), and Hiroshi Yoshimura’s Green and Music for Nine Post Cards both of which Light in the Attic released in 2020. Those are all great albums.

Andrew:
Last question. As a YouTuber, you’ve obviously embraced the DIY mentality and ethos, which is awesome! What advice would you have for anyone that wants to give it a go?

Jarrett:
I think the most important thing is to know what value you are going to bring to your audience. Are you going to make them laugh? Teach them something? Make them ponder something deep? Know what your channel is about and how your viewers can benefit. After you’ve got that basic foundation, get started! Don’t worry about being perfect! As someone wise once said, “Your first videos are your worst videos”. So just start uploading and you’ll figure it out as you go! Make stuff you care about, help people, and have fun!

Interested in checking out Jarrett via his Vinyl Eyezz YouTube channel? Check out the link below:

Dig this interview? Check out the full archives of Vinyl Writer Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interview

Published by Andrew Daly

Since he was a young child growing up on Long Island, NY, Andrew has always loved writing and collecting physical music. Present-day, Andrew is proud to share his love of music with the world through his writing, and the result is nothing short of beautiful: articles and interviews written by a music addict for fellow music addicts. Andrew lives on Long Island and works as a Horticultural Operations Manager by day and runs the Vinyl Writer Music website by night.

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