WORDS: JACK MOBLEY
Vinyl has been resuscitated over the past ten years with the art of collecting your favourite bands discography becoming more and more popular. The process of digging through independent shops to find that one diamond in the rough or scouring the wide breadths of the internet to find a legendary LP has captivated fans and bands alike. For the riff-master of Stray From The Path, Tom Williams embodies this love of vinyl and sits on both sides of the fence as a collector of niche records and variations as well as distributing Stray From The Path music in many different forms. Tom was able to give an insight as an admirer for this once forgotten hobby from discovering new artists to unveiling some of the gems in his own collection. Williams also details some of the thought processes of releasing and selling Stray From The Path music on vinyl format as well as a outlining his wider view on the comeback of vinyl.
“I honestly don’t remember.” States Tom when trying to recall how he first began collecting records, “I wish I had a cool story like “my dad played me records when I was a baby” or whatever, but truth is I just saw distro’s at shows and started buying my favourite albums on vinyl before I even had a record player.” Which snowballed into the obsession that has become collecting vinyl records. Tom then had a means to play the records, “My grandma gave me a piece of shit record player that had built in speakers and it was from the 30’s or 40’s and it sounded so bad.”
“Everything we do, we want to do, so any variations that are made is because its desired”
The rise and fall of record collecting has a certain ebb and flow with now being on the rise thanks to, what Williams believes, is due to the popularisation or streaming services globally and the void left from CD’s, “I think there’s a void left when CDs went their way out quietly and streaming took over.” The music can be much more than a song file which Tom outlines, “People still cherish artwork and I think with how creative you can get with vinyl colours, it enhances the way you can see the physical product of the music. Take a record like Agaetis Byrjun by Sigur Ros. They put out a breath taking reissue in this blue tweed box with a silver stamped type face and it enhances it more than it already was.”
For Tom and the band, the importance of having these options for their fans is imperative, “For Stray, Trade Wind, Other People Records, we want to make sure the physical is as quality as the audio.” Tom continues with the idea, “It depends on the band I guess and how much they care about their art. Some put minimal effort because they probably don’t care as much for their music as they should.” But Tom clarifies that any excess of merchandising items are justified by the band as a supply and demand model but most importantly, it’s what the band desires, “Everything we do, we want to do, so any variations that are made is because its desired. It’s not like we’re selling SFTP lunchboxes and Thermoses like we’re Kiss.” Finally Tom reveals the details some of his incredible collection, “Someone in Montreal, his name is Mike, gave me a 96 original pressing of Evil Empire by RATM and his complete 7” collection of RATM, for no reason. Only because I loved it so much. One of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me.”