• UO Mixtape: Volume 11

    We love cassettes, and we’re not alone. There’s a reason why, nearly 50 years after their compact conception, we’re still swapping tapes at DIY basement shows and record shops and putting new releases on reels. So for this month’s UO Mixtape Volume 11, we asked Nadastrom, Larry Gus, Calan Mai and more of our featured bands what they remember about their first cassette tape experiences. 

    Read their sentimental answers, stream this month’s mixtape below, and don’t forget to pick up your own free copy—available in all US stores on Cassette Store Day October 17th.  

    Deafheaven — George Clarke
    What was the first cassette tape you owned?
    Boyz 2 Men - Cooleyhighharmony
    Tell us about the best mixtape you’ve ever made. What was the occasion and what were some of the songs you put on it?
    I haven't made an actual physical mixtape in probably over a decade, but I'm sure there were some embarrassing gems on [that one]. I did one a few years back for Actual Pain which I still listen to on occasion. It has Memoryhouse, Jeff Buckley, Morrissey, Mum, Chelsea Wolfe, and a few others on it.
    What’s the biggest difference between owning physical music versus digital?
    The album artwork and packaging—it's a full immersion. 

    Nadastrom – Dave Nada
    What was the first cassette tape you owned?
    Eazy-E’s Eazy-Duz-It and Ice-T’s Power. I was 10-years-old, I have no idea how I pulled that off.
    Tell us about the best mixtape you’ve ever made. What was the occasion and what were some of the songs you put on it?
    Man, we've made some pretty epic Nadastrom mixtapes. Besides Raphael De La Ghettó, I'd say one mixtape I'm most proud of is our Salad Days mixtape we made with our friend DJ Stereofaith. The focus was on D.C. hardcore and punk bands—from Government Issue to Nation Of Ulysses. We wanted it to flow like a live show set, so we even added a bunch of skits. That tape is still heavy after all these years!
    What’s the biggest difference between owning physical music versus digital?
    It's the best feeling, to actually hold a piece of vinyl or tape in your hands. Sometimes, I think it's just tight to have a case or a bag full of tapes to grab from—it can limit your selection, but I think that makes those listening experiences all the more special.

    Christian Rich
    What was the first cassette tape you owned?
    Black Moon’s Enta Da Stage.
    Tell us about the best mixtape you’ve ever made. What was the occasion and what were some of the songs you put on it?
    The best tape we ever made was in our junior year of college. We were getting ready for spring break in Atlanta and we needed road trip music. It was 2001, and we found a bunch of rare Neptunes produced music online and made a CD of that. It included everything from The Clipse’s original first album to Sade's "By Your Side" remix. 
    What’s the biggest difference between owning physical music versus digital?
    Physical music always has a better quality, because it’s coming straight from DAT or it’s the highest-level wave. It’s also limiting, because you have to wait for physical releases to be pressed in order to hear a new song.  By the time you hear it, it might not even be in style any more. 

    Larry Gus
    What was the first cassette tape you owned?
    The first tape I bought was Hooked on Classics, because my dear father forced it on me. But that was effective, because I was dancing a lot in the back seat of the car, and then I was sleeping happily—drooling and dreaming about Vivaldi and Bach. I really can’t forget the first tape I really felt close to, and that was a collection of R.E.M. songs by a very cool guy that was at the same class with me in middle school. All the great songs were there, “Radio Free Europe,” “Fall On Me,” “Can’t Get There From Here,” and also [some] super weird choices. This guy, Apostolis, owns a great bar in Thessaloniki right now—and he was one of the most handsome kids around. I mean, he definitely still is. He had an older brother and he was getting all his music creds from him, so it was super convenient. I think I was in love with him—Apostolis, not his brother.
    Tell us about the best mixtape you’ve ever made. What was the occasion and what were some of the songs you put on it?
    Well, considering that all mixtapes made for crushes and potential girlfriends should be eliminated from such a discussion, mostly because of their lame and predictable nature, I think that my favorite mixtape is one I made for a friend of mine who helped me a lot in various stages in my life. He is a researcher at Yale right now, and he’s the brightest person I’ve ever met. In any case, we were driving a lot back then, going to different beaches for swimming and hanging out. I made a mixtape for the car, it was a 90-minute one, one side was called “After the Rain Comes Sun” and the other side “After the Sun Comes Rain Again.” I cringe just by looking at this title right now. I [included] “Underwater Love” by Smoke City, and on top of that, songs like “Avenue” by Saint Etienne, “Winter Wine” by Caravan, “Appletree” by Erykah Badu, and “Beechwood Park” by The Zombies. I think I was also in love with him, maybe I still am.
    What’s the biggest difference between owning physical music versus digital?
    When I was 12-years-old, I would buy a tape or a CD and I would literally sleep with it next to my pillow, sometimes under my pillow. I would do the same with pictures of David Gilmour and Brian Wilson. I really felt extremely close to the music that way. I always loved the fact that I was saving my pocket change to buy a different record at the end of each week. Then I would sleep with them for the coming week, dreaming mostly of my friend Apostolis, or my other friend, George Losifidis (the Harvard guy).

    Naytronix
    What was the first cassette tape you owned?
    LL Cool J’s I Can't Live Without My Radio single.
    Tell us about the best mixtape you’ve ever made. What was the occasion and what were some of the songs you put on it?
    I made a sweet mixtape for a friend’s birthday party in sixth grade. I put on all the good stuff—Boys II Mens' “Motown Philly,” “Jump” by Kris Kross, some Right Said Fred, and of course, Michael Jackson… the King of Pop. 
    What’s the biggest difference between owning physical music versus digital?
    The whole experience of listening to physical music is more memorable—you're holding the artwork, taking in that sweet wax smell, reading the credits, and most likely listening to the whole album from start to finish. 

    Calan Mai
    What was the first cassette tape you owned?
    It was either Americana by Offspring or a Creed album. I hope it was Americana.
    Tell us about the best mixtape you’ve ever made. What was the occasion and what were some of the songs you put on it?
    It was a mix CD; I gave it to my first girlfriend and I think it consisted mostly of Blink 182 and Good Charlotte songs.
    What’s the biggest difference between owning physical music versus digital?
    For me, owning physical music encourages you to listen to the entirety of an album instead of cherry picking your favorite tracks from your iTunes library. I think the idea of the album has become a little archaic since music went digital—which is a shame.

    DJ Dodger Stadium – Jerome LOL & Samo Sound Boy
    What was the first cassette tape you owned?
    J: Enigma - The Cross of Changes.
    S: The Simpsons - The Simpsons Sing The Blues.
    Tell us about the best mixtape you’ve ever made. What was the occasion and what were some of the songs you put on it?
    J: I made my mom a Christmas-themed mixtape that I just rediscovered—it had two Weezer Christmas songs on it. 
    S: It wasn't really a mixtape, but in 5th grade I gave my girlfriend a home bootleg of Green Day's Dookie for her birthday. I just recorded my own copy on a blank tape for her.
    What’s the biggest difference between owning physical music versus digital?
    J: I love design and packaging, and you don't interact with the design in the same way when it's digital. 
    S: Cover art and inserts. I’d pour over that stuff for days when I was young, reading all the smallest liner notes. You definitely don't get that opportunity with digital.