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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Last Collector Standing: DJ Power Couple Nick Openlander and Brittany Browers Talk Skinny Jeans, Vinyl Scores and If Gender Affects Their Craft

Posted By on Thu, Jul 15, 2010 at 4:22 PM

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What's the craziest request you've gotten? Browers: I had this very big masculine guy come up to me, and I really expected something completely different than what he requested. He requested the Waitresses "I Know What Boys Like." It blew my mind. It's one of my favorite songs; of course I have that.

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Later he requested the Cure and the Smiths. It really took me off guard. I probably expected hardcore music.

Openlander: I think the one that stands out to me the most recently was this one sketched-out looking dude wanted me to play Elton John ballads all night. That's so hard to mix into a set when you're like, "Hey, let's party! It's Saturday night!" and then you put on the theme to the Lion King. I did "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting," and that seem to work pretty well.

Do either of you think that the fashion element of music is losing a popular platform with the decline of album artwork and photography? Browers: Well, you don't even have music videos anymore, really. MTV and VH1 usee to play music videos all the time, and that's where I saw a lot of the performers I like and what they were wearing. You look at Michael Jackson in "Thriller" or "Beat It," with the motorcycle jacket and the cropped pants with the socks and the loafers. That was a big fashion statement for a while on the cover of albums and on the cover of magazines. For the most part you don't have that [anymore] unless you are interested in fashion. It's not in your face all the time like it once was.

Openlander: I don't know if the platform has suffered. I think it's certainly changed though. There is still an outlet for it through print magazines like AP, Spin, Rolling Stone , or even just going to shows. You still have that fashion element of the rock star image. The thing that I've found is that more and more people just seem to dress the way that their bands dress. It's become more commonplace now, and I don't think it stands out quite as much anymore. To go back to skinny jeans, you see everyone wearing them now. Even with tattoos, for a while it was only hardcore bands, but everybody has tattoos now. It has asserted itself onto society -- even though you're not necessarily seeing it on albums -- in a lot of ways society has become the album.

Do men and women collect music for different reasons? Browers: I don't think so. I think both men and women have sentimental attachments to certain songs. You hear a certain song and automatically go back to summer of junior year of high school. That's what you're thinking about when you listen to music. I feel that both men and women have that attachment to music, which inspires more collecting.

Openlander: I think it's universal, really. Basically, you listen to music because you see a part of yourself in it, or it's just catchy, and you have a good time. It's not really limited to men, women or age. One of my favorite albums is Weezer's Pinkerton. I listened to that non-stop because I felt like every song on there described a part of my life, no matter when I put that on. I think that's probably the same for both men and women.

Is there anything missing with the way we listen to music today? Openlander: I don't want to see record stores go out of business.

Browers: We already lost Tower Records.

Openlander: So that side of the industry seems to be hurting. On the flip side of it though, almost everybody has an iPod and can listen to whatever they want to, whenever they want to. That I think is certainly an asset and helps lots of bands grow. Even though a lot of bands have lost their exclusivity or what their fanbase is - it's not necessarily such a well-kept secret anymore - it is good to see more and more bands getting the exposure.

Browers: Success is a little bit easy to achieve now with the whole digital age. One thing about it though is you can download everything in singles now. You can just download one song off an album, and just listen to that one song and not know that there are any of the other pieces. Whereas when you are listening to vinyl, or even CD, those albums are composed in a way that artist wanted you to hear them. It's a whole experience, and they wanted you to experience it [that way].

It's kind of like looking at a painting. You don't just look at a corner of a painting and make your judgments on that, you look at a whole painting, and all the pieces that make up the one piece. It's a whole experience. The thing with vinyl, CDs, eight-tracks, whatever, you should look at all of the parts as a whole. Listen to it in the order that [the artist] wanted you to experience and hear the story that they are trying to tell, instead of looking at the corner of the painting and making your judgment off of that.

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