Today is my 33 1/3 birthday. It also marks (roughly) 15 years spent behind the decks.
Though the new ODDIOFILE site isn’t quite ready, it’s hard to imagine a more appropriate moment to launch Crativity.
In September 1997 I set off for Chicago, for college, about as excited as I’d ever been in my life. There are times when you can want something completely without fully understanding what it is, and this was one of them; I knew I would host a dance music radio show on WNUR 89.3, the college radio station a five-minute walk from my dorm—though I had no idea what that would mean. I imagined playing songs from my mostly-mainstream CD collection, taking phone calls, and becoming some sort of campus celebrity.
Among the biggest challenges to hosting a dance music radio show, I would soon learn, were my almost complete ignorance of dance music and my generally poor tastes in it. I won’t go into detail about what I considered dance-worthy at the time; let’s just say I was lucky to find people who were willing to show me the way: Sir K (Steve Knoll) and Dave Siska.
Thanks to their guidance, within a few months I had two used Technics 1200s, a hand-me-down Radio Shack mixer, a dozen decent 12” singles, and the first of what would become a collection of maxed-out credit cards. Like so many others, I found mixing records exhilarating; vinyl, addicting; and my mentors, tireless sources of knowledge and inspiration.
They taught me the basics, took me on my first trips to Gramaphone, put me on to quality deep house, even helped me carry my first set of turntables back to the dorm. Without them I might not have discovered the music (and art form) that has been a source of joy to me over the years, bringing so many creative people into my life and cementing so many important friendships, so it is with Dave and Steve in mind, and their patient efforts to teach me, that I start this new project.
So, what is Crativity? The name, I hope, says it all: it’s about creativity and record crates. Initially, the blog will serve as a space for reflection on great music, but I hope to see it expand to include a mix series and collaborations from artists who do other creative things with records (though I must admit, I’m not quite sure what those things might be). In short, it’s a testament and homage to vinyl culture.
Even 15 years after buying my first records, in many ways I’m still just scratching the surface (yes, pun intended)—so I will probably have far more questions than answers. I hope you’ll join in the conversation when you have something to add and correct me when I’m wrong.
These days we spend far too much time posting song links and clicking “like”—and not nearly enough time talking about the who, the what, the why, and the how of great records. Let’s get back to sharing music, in the original sense of the word.