Fabulous Sounds of the Pacific Northwest: How to Make a Record

The 1947 Presto 8D

I’ve been collecting vinyl records most of my life (and, I’ve got a pretty respectable collection.) There’s something so satisfying about vinyl. There’s the artwork. There’s the hiss and pop of analog sound. There’s the thrill of the chase, a particular delight that comes from unearthing old recordings and digging up treasures that have been gathering dust in attics and basements.

I’m not alone in my love of vinyl. A KEXP DJ (who shall remain nameless) told me that he once had to move because the floors of his house were actually starting to buckle from the weight of his massive record collection.

But, recently, I realized that I had no idea how records are actually made. And, you might be surprised to know that most of the music fiends at KEXP didn’t know either. I had some basic questions. How does music get from a band and into a piece of vinyl?  What is a groove, exactly?

It seemed like the perfect assignment for my treasure hunt, so I went to visit Charles Bork and Kris Dorr at Groove-O-Matic to find out more…

Listen now:

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Watch a video:

The first music I ever bought was a 1972 Al Green record, used, that I found in a thrift store for 67 cents.  I had no idea who Al Green was at the time, but the cover art on the record jacket told me that I would probably love the record. And I did.

What was the first record you ever bought? KEXP wants to know! Please tell us about it in the comments section below.

Produced by Julie Caine, 2001 AIR Live Interactive Resident. Editorial oversight by Kevin Cole. Engineering assistance by Matt Ogaz. Video production by Brad Curran. Music by Slow Skate. Live Interactive is a collaboration of KEXP and AIR, the Association of Independents in Radio with financial support from AIR members worldwide, Recovery.gov, and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.

This entry was posted in AIR Residency Series, Fabulous Sounds of the Pacific Northwest, KEXP. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Honna
    Posted May 25, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    What a great story. I loved all the details and the “ingredients” of making a record. The first record I bought, incidentally, was Thriller.

  2. Philip
    Posted May 25, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    The first record I bought was ‘One Step Beyond’ by Madness. This was the SKA revival of the late 70’s. Played it a lot of course. 1979; must have been thirteen…

  3. Fred Strong
    Posted May 25, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Hey Joe, Wilson Pickett version. And right around that same time, my cousin tried to get me to trade “Eleanor Rigby/Yellow Submarine” for “King Tut” at his birthday party. Still got the 45.

  4. Kelley McKenzie
    Posted May 25, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    I think the first record I bought may have been Joni Mitchell’s “Court and Spark.” Fantastic!

  5. Richard
    Posted May 25, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Really impeccable story, and a stunning act to boot. Perfect combo and something I needed to know.

  6. Alberto Boschini
    Posted May 25, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    I remembre the first one I ever bought was A Hard Days Night, by the Beatles. It was on my 6th or 5th birthday, I believe.

    And I still have it.

  7. Bart
    Posted May 25, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the piece. I’ve been lucky enough to get to assist on sessions for Groove-o-matic. You perfectly captured the spirit of what goes on there.

    First record I bought– John Prine.

  8. Anna
    Posted May 25, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    I love it!

  9. David
    Posted May 25, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Great story and music! My first record was the Kingsmen – “Louie, Louie,” a classic northwest vinyl if there ever was one.

  10. Holly Alonso
    Posted May 25, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    For most of my first forty years, there weren’t nothing BUT vinyl! I got those little yellow nursery records which I played 500 times with songs like the Big Rock Candy Mountain. The 45 I first remember was Daddy Kaye singing Hot Diggity, Dog Diggity, Boom What You Do to Me. And then the first LP I loved was called Teenage Party Dances! How low can you sink in not sounding cool! I guess I am used to CDs now….Julie, thanks for this, and the beautiful singing and guitar playing by Slow Skate.

  11. Rachel
    Posted May 26, 2011 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Fiddler on the roof!

    Wonderful piece, thanks.

  12. Giada
    Posted May 26, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    groove-o-matic is the place to record with soul.

    my first vinyl was cat scratch fever.

  13. Peter Kendell
    Posted May 27, 2011 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    My first vinyl record? Needles and Pins, a 45 rpm single by The Searchers, in 1963, from the Voltic Record Shop in Wolverhampton, Staffs. It cost me 6/8d which is six shillings and eight pence in old money, or 33 pence in new. Call it fifty cents, if you like.

  14. Ben Trefny
    Posted May 27, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    I really, really appreciated this story. Had some of the greatest sounds I’ve heard in a radio story in a long time. The rewind function is just awesome. I love the electric guitar sound – so raw, here. And the singer’s voice. Lovely piece.

    My first record was probably Hooked On Classics. You know, like Beethoven to a beat. Yikes.

  15. Ms. Max Schroder
    Posted May 31, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Wow! That was so interesting! Keep them coming- I love being a part of this process of finding out!

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