About a year ago, a group of my closest friends got together in a basement apartment in Queens. It was a Saturday night in the dead of winter, and most of us were broke (the economy was crashing) and lazy (we didn’t feel like trekking to a bar in the city). As we cracked open a bottle of wine and ate fresh-baked zucchini muffins, one of my friends decided to play us some records on the record player he had recently inherited from his parents. It turned out to be one of the best nights of our lives. In sharing great music, great food, and great fun, a tradition was born—Record Party. The New York Times is finally catching on to something my friends and I discovered that night; vinyl is back in a major way. The stats say that CDs are becoming just about as obsolete as cassettes and 8-tracks. Sure, iPods are fun if you’re on the go, but really the only way to devour your favorite music (other than to hear it live) is to listen to it on vinyl. It’s like hearing the music again for the first time—rich and layered. Mike Jbara, a bigwig at Warner Music Group, says, “It is absolutely easy to say vinyl doesn’t make sense when you look at convenience, portability, all those things. But all the really great stuff in our lives comes from a root of passion or love.” [New York Times]
That’s what Record Party is really all about. But don’t take my word for it. Experience Record Party for yourself. After the jump, five tips for throwing your own rocking Record Party.
- Yes, you need a record player. I know you’re thinking, “Where on Earth do I get a record player? The antique shop?” Try eBay or Craigslist. There are sooo many used record players that need a good home. From bottom of the line models to high-end turntables, you wouldn’t believe how many people have record players. If you’re an electronics idiot like me, you may want to consult a knowledgeable person. I always ask my super-geeky musician friends about makes, models, and features. If you don’t have a music nerd in your life, do a little research online or find a specialty store in your area. Also, don’t forget to get some great speakers so you can hear all the natural flava of your records.
- Starting a record collection isn’t as hard or as expensive as you think. It’s always fun to go to a local record store and pick out some delicious vinyl. Many record stores have used records, which can save you some money. Take the record out and make sure that it’s the right record—one time I got “A Chorus Line” record in a “Stevie Nicks” jacket. Also, make sure that the record is not terribly scratched. If you’re a bargain hunter like me, go to your local thrift store and pick through. You may have to search for a while, but it’s not uncommon to find some $1 gems. Also, flea markets are a great place to find some hot, cheap vinyl.
- Keep the guest list small. The best thing about Record Party is reveling in your favorite music and breaking out your finest dance moves. This is always most fun with close friends who have similar tastes in music. But part of the fun is also learning about new music, so you may want to require guests to bring some records of their own.
- Food and drinks are a must. It’s hard to throw a great record party without food and beverage. Have everyone contribute. Snacks and drinks will be much appreciated when guests step off the makeshift dance floor.
- Establish some rules and traditions. At our Record Party, we’ve established a couple of rules in order to keep the good times rolling: 1. Everyone must write all requests down on our request list. 2. No more than two songs played at one time per person. After everyone has put in a request, the cycle starts over. 3. Everyone gets one “Yoinx” per night. A “Yoinx” is when you have a great song that you feel like you need to push to the top of the list. Develop your own rules and traditions to ensure that everyone is able to share in the music.