Picture this: an artist announcing his album, fans eagerly awaiting its release, finally buying the record and playing it on a vinyl player. Now compare that with today’s music which is available on all music apps in seconds across the world. What is the fun, say music lovers, who collect and play music on their vinyl players to this day. THIS speaks to Hyderabadis who continues to collect records while sharing his love for “unfiltered” music, the way they care for their records and players, and more.
Vararaj Ravula, a retired BSNL employee who has collected records for nearly five decades now, recounts how his love for collecting began in the early 1970s. “I was listening to this song especially on Radio Kuwait and I was wanted to listen to it repeatedly. I finally found the record in a small store in Nampally, bought a record player that cost me 100 rupees at the time, and haven’t stopped collecting ever since, ”says Vararaj, who is a collector of several vintage objects.
He, who once owned nearly 1,000 records, gave them as gifts to several of his friends. He cherishes the 300 or so records he has left, which he now plays occasionally when he’s in the mood to remember the good old days. Part of his invaluable collection includes Marty Robbins, Hank Locklin, Johnny cash, Mary Hopkin and Alabama, among others. “I play them once every two weeks, also because maintaining them is quite heavy,” he says.
But Tarun Oblum, a shoemaker and founder of Oblum which makes luxury, artisanal shoes, likes to go the extra mile to listen to what he calls “real music.” “I’ve always been a huge fan of music and love to collect old school items and give myself that nostalgic feeling. I like the idea of having something physical, something that I can touch. So when my wife gave me a vinyl player a year ago, I was fascinated by how it sounds different and real. I also love the artwork on these records, ”says Tarun, whose other hobbies include collecting watches, vintage artifacts and more.
Traun’s day begins and ends with listening to music on the vinyl player. He explains why he appreciates it so much: “No one listens to an entire album anymore and the hectic consumer life is to blame. Analog music made me appreciate not only the artist, but the whole process of creation. Artists make music to make you want to listen to their whole album at once, so I appreciate the satisfaction that comes with listening to it that way. Nothing beats the high you get from ordering a record, having it delivered and playing it for your friends over a good whiskey.
Tarun’s collection, he says, is still not big enough because it’s an expensive affair now, but his favorites include Pink floyd and the Beatles. Well, no one can go wrong with them!
Sanjay Khanna, an activist, started collecting records at a time when it was the only way to listen to music. “I also inherited part of my collection from my father. His collection was more of Western and Indian classical music. My collection dates back to records from the 60s and 70s, ”he says.
We ask him how he keeps these records and he shares: “I clean them regularly. Since most of them are very old they give off static electricity so I use my electrostatic gun to deal with the pops and crackles. I also make my own solution for washing them – it’s made of alcohol and a light detergent. I clean them with a good brush. Unfortunately some of them don’t play anymore, but I still keep them.