TDK’s Mixtape Love Letter

If you were one of mixtape cognoscenti growing up, undoubtedly you used a TDK tape at some point.  I was more of a Maxell person myself (and yes, I recognize how nerdy it sounds to debate the finer points of tape brands, but such is life), but that doesn’t mean I don’t love what TDK is doing with their Chronicles series.

It wasn’t easy, it could take way too long and it really wasn’t cool to see all your hard work resting on the long-term health of some magnetically coated plastic tape. But that was the beauty of it; it was a labor of love. The mixtape was an art and everyone knows good art never comes easy.

Each one contained a story, a struggle and captured a moment in time. Each song stood for something; it was there for a reason. The mixtape had mythical powers, it could: impress a girl, make you look cool, make you look weird, keep you up at night, and it could even keep you from going to the bathroom while you waited for that one song you needed to come on the radio. Not to mention, naming the thing – the perfect name, written with the perfect pen in your imperfect handwriting…

We asked some of today’s most influential artists to recount their experiences with making mixtapes and renowned photographer and director Jonathan Mannion captured it all on film. The result is the TDK Life on Record Chronicles film series that pays tribute to the days of cassette tapes and the anatomy of the mixtape. We kick off this exclusive film series with The Strokes, New York’s own Nas and indie rock stalwarts The Walkmen. The Chronicles film series provides a rare look into the lives of these artists that reveals their love of music through songs and stories from their pasts.

The company is recruiting some music heavy weights to discuss the love of mixtape making.  So far they have The Strokes, The Walkmen and NAS.  Here’s to hoping they release a video a week and continue recruiting the best musicians.

It makes me a little bit sad that kids no longer have this experience.  There’s something to be said about having to comb through vinyl or cds for that one song, or knowing you need one particular song in your pre-planned sequence and because you couldn’t afford the full album you would have to sit with the tape queued up (record and pause buttons pressed and ready for action) and sit for hours listening to the radio hoping they would play that one song so you could continue making your mix.  Would the DJs talk over the intro? Would you get the song on tape? Would they fade out the outro? There was so much that could go wrong when making a mixtape, which was half the fun of it.

Everything the Strokes talk about above is my childhood from fifth grade through college.

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