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Memories - Michael Thies (Sales Manager)

Champaign-Urbana always seemed like a good place to grow up to me. There was always plenty to do and, if you wanted to, you could start a band and play shows. By the time I reached high school I had discovered punk rock and taken to heart the DIY mentality of bands like The Clash and Minor Threat, something that ultimately led me to figure out what types of bands were playing in my own town. One of the very first local shows that I attended was the Red Hot Valentines at the IMC in Urbana. The Plain White T’s opened up, which feels a bit odd looking back, because what seemed important that night was that there was a whole music scene happening in my town. I didn’t need to travel to Chicago to see live music and I didn’t need the radio or MTV to tell me what to listen to.
I didn’t know it when I was 15, but I would eventually discover that CU was home to an independent record label called Polyvinyl. Though I had missed the early days of the label, it seemed to fit right in with my experiences growing up here. Matt and Darcie had started off running a zine and setting up a distro at the back of shows held in basements, VFW halls, and other DIY spaces and these are the same types of shows that made it possible for me and my friends to start bands. 
Being open to trying something new and having the vision to see it through is largely what punk rock has come to mean to me and I feel like this is precisely what Polyvinyl has continued to do throughout its 15 years of existence. Though the label has come a long way since the days of basement shows, the DIY spirit has remained a consistent part of everything that we do. It seems fitting to me now that the Red Hot Valentines were in fact signed to Polyvinyl, and one of my closest friends, Ryan McCoy, who plays in the band Midstress (check them out on our benefit comp for Japan!) and helps pack mail order at PV, was also at that show. Polyvinyl has played a huge role in the development of the Champaign-Urbana music scene, and consequently, Polyvinyl has played a huge role in my life. Being able to work here is a real privilege and I can’t wait to see what the next 15 years will bring.

Memories - Patricia Wysopal (In House Publicist)

Patricia is our new in house publicist! She holds the record of the longest commute of any PV’er each day. She’s also addicted to Nutella…and any other sweet thing. Here’s her entry!

"Although my employment history with Polyvinyl Records only stretches as far back as August 2011, my relationship with the label started long before. I was introduced to Polyvinyl artists through a friend in my Spanish class who was more interested in sharing new music than learning the language (and I was more than OK with this).

One day he brought me a Polyvinyl (Kinsella-themed) mix CD feat. Owen, Joan of Arc and Owls. After listening to his compilation, I started sampling other Polyvinyl artists on the old Epitonic site. Polyvinyl’s music quickly developed into my high school soundtrack; listening to Volcano, I’m Still Excited while driving to all-ages shows, an ex-boyfriend sending me lyrics to “Never Meant” through AOL Instant Messenger, etc. I can’t remember why I kept the track listing (seen in photo), but it resurfaced when I was packing to move out of my parents house and brought back all sorts of memories.

Fast forward to my college years. I bump into Andy in the hallway in the Creative Arts building and he tells me that he’s interning for Polyvinyl. We high-five each other and share a ‘holy shit’ moment. Yeah, it was completely left field that someone, anyone from our neck of the woods, would get to intern for a record label, especially Polyvinyl. I congratulated him and we parted ways.

Fast forward once more, one year later. I bump into Andy in the hallway again, only this time he tells me that he’s been hired by Polyvinyl. I ask a million questions, congratulate and high-five him while thinking to myself how awesome that is. It was probably the biggest thing to happen to anyone in our circle of friends, ever, and there was no disputing that Andy most definitely had the coolest job out of anyone we knew.

I’d run into Andy frequently over the course of the next few years and he’d update me on his job, all the interesting things he was doing and all the cool people he’d been meeting. My job at the time was very uncool and so it was nice to learn that at least others were contributing to society.

I guess it goes without saying that I never imagined that I’d be here, sitting in this chair behind my desk in PV’s San Francisco office. It’s surreal to think that a few years ago I wondered just how great it must be to work for a record label and that now I know firsthand. It’s nice to know that however small, I’m contributing to a pretty fantastic cause, indie music. Now, I’ve already started accumulating new Polyvinyl memories, only this time as an employee. From meeting the rest of the team in Champaign to learning just how intense an of Montreal album release is, it’s been a pleasure to work for (and with) such talented individuals. And no, not even my 2-hour commute each way can change that.”

Memories - Mark Jiggsaw (European Label Manager)

Mark rules. He handles everything for Polyvinyl in Europe, so he’s always busy with something! If you live in Europe and make it out to one of our band’s shows, or buy one of their records, it was probably coordinated by Mark. You know those people who can get away with calling people “brother” without it sounding weird? You know, when it makes you feel kinda cool? That’s Mark. Here’s his story…

"In the year 2000, I had no cell phone, iPods didn’t exist yet, and the World Trade Center was still standing.  I was on a train in Chicago blasting Braid’s “Frame and Canvas” on my headphones through a mini-disc player and studying for a philosophy test.  In case you missed the 6 months when mini-discs were cool, these ‘futuristic’ devices played what looked like small floppy discs.  You could skip songs and even record your own ‘CD quality’ playlists.  This made a lot of sense to me at the time because a traditional disc-man (portable CD player) tended to skip on the train (even with skip protection engaged).

One year later, I was bumming around the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, sleeping in hostels and parks and sneaking into bars that didn’t check IDs.  My friend had made me a mix tape (an actual cassette) before I left Chicago and labeled it “Mark’s Dream Tape”.  The Dream Tape included songs from Braid and Rainer Maria.

One year later, I had found myself living in a town called Champaign.  After exploring various job opportunities in the food service industry, telemarketing services, college-town cafes and corporate bookstores, I began as an intern at Polyvinyl in 2004.  I loved working there.  I packed mail orders all day and helped put postage on envelopes.  After a few months of interning, I was offered a part-time job and was even invited to CMJ later in the year.

I sat on an airplane (the first airplane I’ve ever been on) on my way to CMJ in New York.  Across from me sat Matt (the owner of Polyvinyl) and Seth (the in-house publicist at the time and now label manager).  I had a device in my pocket that I considered truly state-of-the art.  It was called an “iPod” (an entire library of music, thousands and thousands of songs right in my pocket).  I was nervous about the flight and played of Montreal’s “Satanic Panic in The Attic” to calm down as the plane shook violently in the clouds.

I remember Seth asking me if I had been to New York before.  “Yeah, I’ve been there a few times.  It’s one of my favorite cities.”  I had been there before September 11th, I had been there many times afterwards, trying to sneak into CBGB’s, drinking Champagne in the streets on New Years and sleeping in a van parked in Queens.  And I’ll never forget what Seth said, “Oh yeah?  You gonna start the Polyvinyl New York office one day?”  I laughed at the time.  I was just excited and happy to be visiting my favorite city.

Life is pretty amazing sometimes and my work at Polyvinyl has been no exception.  I’m thankful for all the incredible Polyvinyl memories over the years and look forward to many more (including new memories from my home office in New York).  I’m also thankful for one more thing; this year I bought an iPhone and discovered the art of streaming music.  A person can now listen to (literally) millions of songs instantly and they don’t even have to burn them to a mini-disc!

After being here for a while and watching the industry change, I guess I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t matter if you’re sleeping on a park bench in San Francisco, or huddled under a blanket in a van in Queens.  The music will find you somehow; as long as you’ve got your ears open and batteries charged.”

A Brief History in Moving Pictures

On Dec. 6th, we’ll be releasing our first ever video collection on DVD - A Brief History in Moving Pictures. This bad boy features 60 videos from artist that span our entire roster (of Montreal, Volcano, I’m Still Excited!!, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Rainer Maria, + tons more) and also comes with a download code good for all 60 MP3s!

The best part? It’s only $10!

You can pre-order the DVD right here - http://www.polyvinylrecords.com/pvdvd