Playlist by Jeremy Powell
Blood for Vinyl is an Atlanta-based music blog with a simple premise––Jeremy Powell sells his plasma to buy records. He then reviews those records on Blood for Vinyl. Intimate interviewer Jared Andrews caught up with Jeremy via a futro-digivideo-chat to learn more.
Spark & Fizz: Did you just donate plasma?
Jeremy Powell: I did. Can you see? I got the wrap going on here.
S&F: I don’t really know anything about that process or even what it’s really for. Could you start by explaining that?
JP: The first time you go to donate they do a physical and check you out. They make sure you don’t have any diseases and what not. Then, they hook you up to a machine that pulls your blood out, it separates the plasma, which is the watery part of your blood, from the red blood cells. Then it puts your red blood cells back into you. Once it collects the plasma, they use it make vaccines and other medicines. They use it for burn victims, people who have compromised immune systems… lupus and things like that. So that’s why you get paid—they’re selling that product. It’s a good thing, you’re helping out people. I would be just sitting at home not doing anything during the time, so I might as well make a few dollars and give plasma.
S&F: Good strategy. Does it hurt?
JP: It’s like donating blood, that kind of needle stick. I go twice a week so I alternate arms, one on Monday, one on Friday. So now I have little marks on my arms where the needle goes in, but it’s whatever.
S&F: And they put the red blood cells back in?
JP: Yeah, that’s why you can go twice a week. It’s different from donating blood.
S&F: Do you feel it when they put the red blood cells back in?
JP: No, you don’t necessarily feel it. After you’re done they inject saline solution because they’ve taken all that fluid out of you. You can feel that because it’s cold. It’s kind of weird—you feel the cold going into you arm, then you feel yourself get cold all over.
S&F: I’ll have to try it sometime. I googled plasma around Boston before we started talking and I guess there’s a lot of places to do that.
JP: I did it when I was out of work one time when I lived in Minnesota. I donated plasma because I was broke. Now I’m doing it to buy records.
S&F: You’re in Atlanta. Once you get that blood money where do you take it to go buy records?
JP: I go to a place called Comeback Vinyl, it’s in Alpharetta, Georgia. It’s a smaller record store, a newer one. It’s owned by a guy and his mom. They’re really nice, super cool over there. I can send an e-mail and they’ll order something for me. They’re building a nice collection of used stuff I can go flip through. Atlanta’s got a lot of good places that have been around for a while, but Comeback’s my go-to.
S&F: When did you start this blog? It seems to go back quite a bit.
JP: I started doing it in January. It was based off the suggestion of a coworker. I had started donating the plasma and I thought to myself, “Hey this is a way to finance getting vinyl.” She had been telling me I should start a blog on the vinyl I was buying. I was like, “Dammit that’s a good idea.”
S&F: I tried to do a similar daily album review for a while and it was so hard to stay on top of it. It seems like you have a pretty good pace going.
JP: I’ve been doing one every couple days. I have a stack of albums that I’ve bought to-be-reviewed. Since the money is essentially free and I would just be at home, browsing reddit, dicking around anyways I’ll buy random stuff sometimes. Whether I like the album art or just because it’s random as hell I’ll pick it up and see what it’s like. Sometimes you’ll find something great.
S&F: What are some things that you’ve bought based on the art that you’ve just been like “Woah”
JP: The album by the band Useless ID. I had never heard of them before, knew nothing about them. I thought it was going to be a metal album since it has bones and shit on it. They weren’t like that all–it was very surprising. It’s really cool to find a band you don’t know at all and really enjoy it. Just the other day I bought an album by Darkthrone, a Norwegian black metal band and I don’t know that I’ll ever listen to it again. I just really wasn’t into it. BUT it’s kind of cool to have in my collection since maybe one day I might be in the mood. I don’t know.
S&F: I see you’ve got a couple colored discs and so forth. Any notably wacky record formats that you’ve run into doing this?
JP: No net yet, but I did buy the Rob Zombie single from Record Store Day. It’s called “Everybody’s Fucking on a UFO.” I bought it specifically because it has hardcore alien porn on the front of it. That’s a surprise for somebody flipping through my record collection.
S&F: I’ve read online pretty consistently that colored records don’t last as long or sound as good.
JP: I don’t have a big audiophile setup or anything. I work in radio for a living so I wear headphones all day long. I’ve noticed a decline in my hearing over the years, so I don’t think I could pick up the differences between colored vs black vinyl.
S&F: Same here.
JP: It’s probably a good thing. It means I don’t have to worry about it.
S&F: So you work in radio…
JP: I’m a morning show producer at a top-40 station here in Atlanta.
S&F: Are you into that sort of thing?
JP: No I don’t like the music we play at the radio station… we play Justin Bieber and Katy Perry. I mean I like Adele–I think she’s brilliant–but for the most part I don’t like the music we play.
S&F: There’s kind of an information overload online, where if I wanted to listen to new music constantly just based on /r/music or some list of blogs I could just keep doing that and doing that. But when you go to a record store, pick up the record, take it home, and put it on the turntable there’s kind of a tradition. Do you have any thoughts on that or have any pre-listening rituals?
JP: The reason I like vinyl is it’s an active activity. Usually if I’m listening to music on my phone it’s stuff I already know. I’m working out or doing something around the house–but if I’m listening to something on the shelf I have to take it out and put it on the turntable. And then it’s an active activity where I’m sitting down to enjoy it. I’m listening to the music and not doing anything else. That’s why I enjoy owning the vinyl, because it forces me to listen to the music the way it was intended.
S&F: Do you find writing the blog posts changes the way you listen to the music?
JP: I don’t think so. I like to listen to it twice–I sit down and listen to it, then I listen while I’m writing. I don’t write very long entries because I don’t think people want to read for a half hour what I thought of something track by track. They’re relatively short so people can read for two minutes and see my quick little impression of the album. But no, it doesn’t change the way I listen to it–it’s just what I want to get out from it and let people see.
S&F: I’m sure you’ve read that we’re experiencing a resurgence of interest in vinyl. Pressing plants don’t have the capacity to handle the demand that’s been created in the past two years. What do you think about that?
JP: It seems like it’s going to be a fad, but there’s such a great amount of interest in it that I think it will stick around because it never really went away. It died down but it never completely went away and I don’t think it will ever completely go away.
Mixtape track list, read about each album on Blood for Vinyl:
- “Since You Put Me Down” – Margo Price from Midwest Farmers Daughter
- “Gettin’ Hot” by the Runaways from Live in Japan
- “The Enforcer” by Monster Truck from Sittin’ Heavy
- “Night Stalker” by Useless ID from the Lost Broken Bones
- “Juniper” by Lucero from Women and Work
- “Deus in Absentia” by Ghost from Meliora
- “Feeling Fuzzy” by Black Stone Cherry from Kentucky
- “Mexico” by Hanni El Khatib from Moonlight
- “Sudden Death” by Holy Grail from Times of Pride and Peril
- “Wild Horses” by Buddy Miller from Cayamo: Sessions at Sea
- “She’s Out of My Life” by Willie Nelson from City of New Orleans
- “Try” by Jason Isbell from Sirens of the Ditch