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Jack White: ‘The Whole Experience of Vinyl is What We’re After, the Romance of It’

Jack White
Ian Gavan, Getty Images

It’s probably no surprise that Jack White prefers vinyl to digital. In fact, the rocker just elaborated on his feelings about the very different music formats in a video interview with the BBC, in which he bemoaned the lack of “romance” with digital music.

“The whole experience of vinyl is what we’re after, the romance of it,” White said. “The smell of vinyl, the smell of a newly opened record. If we don’t see something moving, we lose romance. There’s no romance for me to sing to you about an iPod. But why? Because nothing’s moving. I think digital and invisible things, they make you feel like some other being is in charge of this somewhere else, ‘I’m just a witness to this and I’ll just sit here politely’.”

White’s Third Man Records frequently issues limited edition vinyl releases to satisfy demand for the classic format. We wonder, though – does that romance apply when the record is 3 RPM?

BBC North American editor Mark Mardell conducted the interview at Nashville’s legendary Ryman Auditorium, where White kicked off his latest tour. White also explained that his various color schemes, like the red and black of the White Stripes and the yellow and black of Third Man, have a lot of meaning behind them.

“I don’t like image for the sake of image. There has to be meaning underneath it,” says the singer. “There has to be a reason for what color is where and why it’s used. I hate when people think something just looks cool and they have no thought behind it. It drives me absolutely crazy. It has to come from a place that means something.”

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