Matthew Snyder, 21, is an Indiana, Pennsylvania, resident, currently enrolled in school as a communications major with a focus on audio recording. And while his main focus is his band, Coastal Remedy (great band name!), he also works in tech support at school and at an apartment complex. Matt also enjoys cooking and traveling. His collection currently sits at around 1,500 items.
What do you remember about the first piece of vinyl you were either given or purchased yourself?
The first record I ever heard on vinyl was a copy of Abbey Road that my grandmother gave to me. After hearing this album, I realized how much clearer and more dynamic music is on vinyl than any other format. That was the day I decided that vinyl is more than just a fad, but instead the preferred format for those who truly care about the quality of their listening experience. As a musician and someone who analyzes songs, vinyl provides me with a clearer picture of how each part is layered into the mix of the song, and allows me to hear parts I’ve never heard before.
Was there anyone in particular who introduced you to the world of vinyl?
I don’t think that any one person really introduced me to vinyl. I grew up with hundreds of records and 45s collecting dust in my basement from my dad’s collection. I think that as music became more prominent in my life, I decided that it would be cool to hear some of those records, but never had a turntable. Last year, about this time, I bought a Project Debut Carbon turntable and started collecting as many records as I could.
And what was that music you grew up with? The music that was passed down from siblings and parents? What were you listening to in the car on family trips?
I was born in 1993, so many of the artists I grew up with were products of the 90s, such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Stone Temple Pilots, Live, Rage Against the Machine and Nirvana. As far as family goes, my father was in a rock band and was a DJ in the early 80s. My dad influenced me to listen to bands like The Police, Rush, Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, etc. When we would take trips, we’d be listening to the classic rock station 102.5 DVE based out of Pittsburgh. It wasn’t until I decided to start playing in bands and hanging around musicians that I started to actively seek out new artists. Now I discover hundreds of new artists each week.
It seems like your base is classic rock. The Velvet Underground, Hendrix, Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. Is that still the dominant portion of your collection? What’s the genre breakdown?
I would say that the majority of my collection is classic rock. It’s not that I like classic rock more than I do any of the newer music that I listen to, it’s just that I mostly buy old used vinyl. Part of the thrill of buying vinyl for me is avoiding record stores altogether, and buying from alternative sources such as thrift stores, garage sales, flea markets, estate sales, etc. I do listen to mainly modern music, but since I just started collecting one year ago, I don’t have enough money to buy all the newer albums that I listen to since they are usually $20-$30 a piece. I can buy 50 older records for the same price. Most of the newer music that I buy on vinyl consists of limited releases, harder to find records, or colored vinyl.
As far as genres go, I listen to pretty much every style of music except for modern country, metal, and pop. My favorite genres are jazz-fusion, math rock, progressive rock, and experimental/ambient music. I tend to like music that focuses more on the instrumentals than the vocals. I also have a couple hundred classical records. I’ve found that classical music on London and Deutsche Grammaphon labels are some of the best sounding records in my entire collection.
My latest venture is collecting 45s, especially pre-80s. I’ve bought approximately 1,000 45s in the past few months, which included hundreds of awesome soul and psychedelic artists from the 60s and early 70s.
You list a Velvet Underground and Nico record as your most prized possession. What’s the story behind that acquisition?
I actually discovered this record just 2 weeks after I officially started collecting. I wandered into my local Goodwill store and started digging through the record bins. I picked up this record for 50 cents just because of how the cover looked. When I got home, I looked up this record and was shocked to see the pressing that I bought had sold for hundreds of dollars online. It turns out that I bought an original pressing of The Velvet Underground and Nico with the “Torso” image on the back cover that was removed from other pressings shortly after its release. Not only is it pretty rare, but the media looks like it was never played. There wasn’t even a speck of dust on it. The only problem with it is that someone removed the Banana sticker from the front cover, but otherwise, it’s in great condition. Finding this record really got me into the spirit of going out and looking for records outside of the record stores.
Ok…there’s a fire and you’re allowed to grab 5 records to save, what are you taking and why?
I would grab my The Velvet Underground and Nico obviously just because it is one of the more valuable records in my collection and is irreplaceable. The next record would have to be my copy of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Stadium Arcadium. I paid $150 to track down a copy of this record, and it ended up being the best sounding record that I own. I highly encourage everyone to spend the money and buy a copy of this record if they get the opportunity! I would also grab my copy of Ryan Adams’ Heartbreaker (Original Cooking Press) because this is a classic record that has influenced my own personal music quite a bit lately. The last two records I would grab would be my copy of Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell (translucent blue vinyl) and Polyenso’s One Big Particular Loop (green and orange vinyl). The Division Bell is probably my favorite album to just space out to. Polyenso is my new favorite band that I discovered just a few months ago. They sound very similar to Radiohead, but in my opinion the songwriting is even better. Their first album is one of the best-produced albums I’ve heard in awhile!
Let’s ramp down the intensity on the questions. What’s the “white whales” you’re still on the search for?
I am looking for an original copy of 13th floor elevators, but I refuse to pay $500 for it. I would love to own a copy of Pearl Jam’s Lost Dogs. My next big purchase will be My Morning Jacket’s Okonokos on vinyl [4xLP set]. Also, I really would like to have Mutemath’s self-titled record.
What kind of sound system are you working with? Do you consider yourself more of an audiophile…collector…or something in between?
I would consider myself somewhere in between. Someday I will be upgrading my system once I slow down on buying records. As of right now I’m using a Project Debut Carbon turntable with an old JVC amp paired with Polk Audio speakers. I know this isn’t what most people would consider to be a nice setup, but the reason why I like it is because of the clarity and the fact that it doesn’t add much color to the music. It allows me to focus on how the record itself sounds and not what my gear sounds like.
Now, you’re from Pittsburgh, which is about an hour and a half from where I’m at. So give me the visitor’s guide to the next time I’m down there. What record shops should I be hitting up? And more importantly……where should I be eating!
I’m actually from the town Indiana that is a little outside of Pittsburgh. I hate to admit this but I don’t know what the record shops are like in Pittsburgh since I try to stay away from record shops. I can tell you that Pittsburgh and the surrounding area is a great place for finding hidden vinyl gems at garage sales and flea markets though!
Since Pittsburgh is experiencing a revitalization of the city, there is an influx of new restaurants! Recently, I was impressed by the food at the Church Brew Works on Liberty Ave. But if I were to recommend a place to someone wanting to get the Pittsburgh culinary experience, I would send him or her to Primanti Brothers for a strip district sandwich. That is as Pittsburgh as it gets!
And in your submission, you did mention a band by the name of Coastal Remedy. So I have to let you promote! Where can we find your tunes and is anything on vinyl?
Coastal Remedy is an alt rock band that formed in late 2011. In that time, we released 2 full-length albums! Both albums can be found on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to press either of the albums yet, but I would love to hear my own music on vinyl. I’m hoping that someday a label will be willing to rerelease our second album, To The World, on vinyl. We are currently working on new material that we hope to demo this summer.
From our last COTM, Michael Johnson: What can vinyl enthusiasts do to both spread the gospel of the format, and also ensure its safe expansion to more and more listeners?
I think that vinyl appeals to those who really value their listening experience, and people who are tactile and appreciate the packaging and the process of operating the turntable. If someone is going to get into it, all they need is the initial push. They might just need a turntable, or a listening session to open their eyes to the better sound quality that vinyl can offer. I think that the best way for vinyl to expand is via person to person, with friends assisting friends in getting started to create lifelong collectors. Lately, the media has been using images of turntables in vinyl in tons of commercials in an effort to play off the recent increase in vinyl’s popularity. My only concern is that people treat it as a fad and start buying vinyl when they have no personal interest in it. I would like to see vinyl’s popularity grow slowly and steadily among those who actually appreciate it, rather than become a fad and burn out after a couple years.
If you could ask our next COTM one question, what would it be?
What factors do you think contributed in helping revive the popularity of vinyl?
A big thanks to Matthew for participating! You can apply to be our Collector Of The Month, below. As you can see, we’re a couple months behind. We’ll be catching up here in the following weeks.