Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this Love Letter To A Record series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Joe Seaward, Glass Animals – Tom Vek, ‘We Have Sound’ (2005)
It felt like a chance encounter, the day we met… HMV, Cornmarket Street, Oxford, spring of 2005. I left the shop that day with two CDs; Silent Alarm which is what I’d gone in for, and you. I was as surprised as you that we left together. If it hadn’t been for the fact that I’d seen you rollerskating around that velodrome on MTV the week before, or that there were posters of you plastered on all of the walls on my walk to the record shop, and then that you’d ended up filed under the wrong letter right next to Bloc Party, it might never have been. I mean what are the chances? It’s almost as if I was the susceptible 15-year-old your record label had desperately been aiming their marketing campaign at. My god am I glad things turned out the way they did though.
I can remember hitting play, when I got home, for the first time, sitting cross-legged in front of my Dad’s old wooden speakers and closing my eyes… You were angular, rhythmic, fuzzy, powerful, beautiful, menacing and melodic in the most amazing ways… Everything that 15-year-old me hadn’t known I’d needed… But most importantly you were mine. My Remain in Light, my This is Happening. Admittedly the record company had done a great job planting the seed, then ramming it home with the posters, but I felt like I’d found you myself.
Every piece of music I had known before had come as hand-me-downs from my parents, a tip from my friends, a hit on the radio, or from a festival line up. You felt like you belonged to me, which is a potent feeling for a kid growing up. You were mine to pass on, and I could choose when and how to do that. And for a while, I didn’t. I wanted to keep you to myself. But when I did, my stock at school skyrocketed. And the story I told people about you made it even more special… The story about how and where you’d been created. The idea that an entire record, and not just any record, could be made by one person, alone, in their dad’s garage… Every instrument’s every note, the artwork, the lyrics, the lot, by a solitary soul was astonishing to us all.
You changed the rules of the game, the goalposts had been moved. I was a passenger before I met you, I was passive in the way that I thought about and felt about music. I left that first listen changed, the possibilities were endless.
Of course, it took 7 or 8 years and three other people for me to do anything about it, but it fucking did happen eventually. And no one could have known that after that ‘chance’ encounter in that record shop in 2005, all these years later I’d be a musician myself writing an open love letter to you. Quite a turn up for the books I think you’ll agree. All this, and I think about this often, begs the question; if I had changed my mind (that day and left only with what I went in for) would I be here? The answer is I’m not sure I would. So thank you. Thank you for it all.