Coming Home

At long last, the new OdDioFile site is up.  The content is still missing, but the broad strokes are all there, and I couldn’t be happier with the visual vibe that JSD (of Imaginaria Studio) has given things. Finally—a site design every bit as dusty and disorganized as the record room at my place!  It feels like home.

This is no coincidence.  Last year, while in Seville for a gig, JSD stopped by to do a little research and take some photos.  So not only does this mess look like the cluttered room where most of my sets come to life, it is like it; it shares its DNA, so to speak; all the sleeves, stickers, stubs, flyers, and photos used are all from the record room.  The top menu includes two of my very favorite records (Jordi’s choice, not mine, believe it or not).  The site even includes the price tag from what must’ve been one of the first records I ever bought (sometime in early 1998 at Gramaphone records–and again, I never asked him to do this).  You’ve got to love a designer with such attention to detail.  It’s been a long wait, but it was well worth it.

Thirty-three and a Third

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.