• UO DIY: Valentine's Day Mixtape

    As we all know—whether you're already there or have still some work to do—the quickest way into someone’s heart is a sweet mixtape. And since we all have need a little help in the romance department sometimes, we're going to give you some tips on how to sonically swoon your potential partner with a mixtape they'll cherish well beyond the honeymoon period. Read our step-by-step guide to making the perfect Valentine's Day Mixtape below, and just remember to thank us on your 20th anniversary. 
    Words by Bryan Bierman

    First thing’s first: Make sure the subject of your adoration actually owns a cassette player, which is a crucial part in determining whether they'll ever even listen to it. The last thing you want to hear when you give him or her goods is, “Oh… thank you?” Or, if you really like this person, pick up a fresh one and pop the finished product in so that it's the first thing they hear. 

    Then, you'll want to think about who you’re making it for (which hopefully goes without saying). What do they like? What might they like that they maybe haven't heard yet? What is it that you're trying to tell them with this mix? You could play it cool, or you could go full-on Weeknd mode, depending on your comfortability. We suggest easing into it so as not to freak this person out. A little smooth jam goes a long way. 

    Now, you'll need to decide how you want to record the tape. You could do so off the radio, like the old days—but you're going to have the inevitable half song or radio announcer interrupt. If you want to add songs from your vinyl collection, you could use a USB record player to transfer to digital files or maybe you want to take your digital files from your laptop and drop them onto the mix using a USB and this super handy Radio + Cassette + MP3 Boombox. It's your call.

    Once you get around to picking the songs, remember the length of the tape may vary. Generally, you're working with 20 to 90 minutes on each side. We'd suggest going somewhere in the middle, say, 60—you don't want to overstay your welcome, after all.

    We don't know your crush (because you won't tell us!) so we can't pick out what they'll like or won't (unless you tell us.) However, you can use our favorite Valentine's Day tracks, featured on our UO Now Playing: #LoveUO playlist, for reference if you feel so inclined. 

    Then, the part that gets even the suavest sort into sweats: the naming. This will be dependent on the song selection, and how forward you want to be with your fling. May we suggest not using anything close to: PLEASE LOVE ME, VOLUME 1 or Sensuality: The Album, no matter the case. Whatever you do decide to name it, give it to your soon-to-be-loved one, and use its review as a pretty good reason for a second date. Love it or hate it, they're going to want to give you feedback.

    The last part is probably the most fun, so long as you're not arts and crafts challenged. All you'll need to finish your masterpiece is a blank cassette, paper and labels to make the art and write the track listing. Remember your handwriting lessons in grade school and write legibly—you don't want to leave the love of your life guessing what this or that song was called. Make sure the cover art comes from the heart. Honestly, making a mixtape without art or track listing is like going on a first date in sweatpants—it's lazy, and kind of defeats the purpose. 

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