When interviewing different members of the Macalester community, the radio DJs are never dull. However, a lot of the DJs I meet wear the same light blue 90s jeans, play the same “alternative” music and plug in their iPhones when their hour of fame comes up on the radio. This week, I sat down with Jacob Hill, a sophomore who makes the alternative his norm. As soon as you meet Jacob, you realize he isn’t trying to make a statement or dressing to impress. I walked into his room, which overflowed with classic rock mementos, and he instantly greeted me wearing basketball shorts and a hoodie. When we began the interview, he picked up his guitar and started strumming.
I don’t think one can understand Jacob unless they see a guy who just likes good music. He isn’t trying to listen to the newest music in order to find out about the next good band at local bars. Instead, Jacob can often be found in local vinyl stores, searching for the best deals on records to play on his radio show, “Vinyl Fridays.” When asked why he prefers vinyl, Jacob responded, “When you hear a song on vinyl versus Spotify, Pandora, etc., it requires you to have a deeper connection, because you hear all the songs on the album, and you hear the context around each song. You see the cover, you read the liner notes and instead of seeing figures in a picture, you see the entire landscape.” He recalled listening to his dad’s records, most notably Rubber Soul by the Beatles, as a child. Even though vinyl is becoming increasingly popular, Jacob plays records due to a strange nostalgia for a time he’s never lived in.
Since “Vinyl Fridays” is late at night (and notably also on a Friday), it’s hard for Jacob to get a lot of listeners. However, he doesn’t seem to be focused on the numbers. Jacob said, “It’s a time for me to self-discover. I don’t talk much between songs, so it’s a good thing to listen to if you’re hanging out or about to go to a party. Even if you are listening to the show in the background, the sound quality is so much better coming through vinyl, because if you have something playing on Spotify and then that goes through the radio transmitter, it’s going to devolve a lot. The actual analog signal with the vinyl gives much higher audio quality.”
Jacob aims to create a classic rock atmosphere on Friday nights accessible to all Macalester students. “Vinyl Fridays” allows people to experience music from vinyl and even create a social atmosphere that reflects our own parents’ experiences on Friday nights in college.
Tune into “Vinyl Fridays” at 10 p.m. on Fridays.