We’ve said it before and it’s still true, we love to see people doing things to bring their communities together, in particular when it involves records. This week it’s not only something for a geographical or the vinyl community but it’s a safe space for the queer community, which is so important. Meet Dana Brown, Vinyl DJ and Founder of Queer Vinyl Collective (QVC) an Austin-based community of queer identifying folks, unified in a love of all things vinyl. Together QVC works to network, share their passion and ever growing collections, to empower others through the love of vinyl. Check out their events and ways to be involved. We look forward to seeing how we can be allies and support QVC, especially now being in the same city.
When not working or bringing the community together with QVC, Dana says, “I’m a big fan of all things quirk! I’m mildly obsessed with my avocado green Mercedes diesel, I enjoy a good cup of coffee (and a latte or two!), and hanging out with my old Jack Russell pup”.
How did you get into your industry / What motivated you?
As a trans woman that just came out in the early pandemic days, I found it hard to engage with a hobby I had a great fondness for once I began presenting as a woman. Walking in to a record shop or a music store prior to my transition was a smooth process, and a situation where I comfortably engaged with folks because I was a “male”. After presenting as my true self, I began to feel like my interest and expertise was not taken seriously. I began to feel what many femmes in the industry have dealt with forever, and it made me angry and sad. After lots of frustrated conversation with anyone that would listen and ideating on a better way, Queer Vinyl Collective started to take shape. QVC was created in direct response to this pervasive issue in the music industry. Girls, women, and frankly queer folks in general are not treated with the same level of respect that masc identifying folks are, and QVC was borne to help combat this and create a real sense of cohesion in the Austin vinyl scene, for all.
What is a day in the life like?
Every day is a bit different in our world, but the constant pursuit is to have enriching conversation and engagement about vinyl! Since QVC exists online and in real life via events and DJ performances, we really get to gab about what makes vinyl special pretty much all the time. Every day is a different kind of excitement, but it’s always revolving around some good wax.
In your opinion what has been your favorite / the coolest thing you’ve worked on?
Recently we did a Record Store Takeover with one of our favorite shops in town, BLK Vinyl. They let us essentially throw a queer vinyl party in their shop, and it was amazing. We got to go buck wild on their turntables, we brought in coffee service from our buds at Creature Coffee, and even a local queer tattoo artist (the amazing @worm_regards on IG!) came in to do hand poke vinyl tats. It was awesome, and such a fun way to engage with people beyond the norm. We’re pumped to do more!
What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?
By far the most challenging thing about growing QVC is dedicating the time to maintenance of our gear! The vinyl collection needs to stay nice and clean for everyone, our growing equipment stockpiles always need some tinkering, and like any collector knows, this can be so time consuming!
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?
Do it scared. Don’t talk yourself out of what is a good idea.
Other people wanna do that thing that you see as just a “silly idea”. Queer Vinyl Collective started with nothing more than a desire to engage and create community, and while it’s been a lot of hard work to get it off the ground, the reward has been worth it.
Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?
Like most folks, I grew a fondness for vinyl through a generous gifting of my parent’s old dusty collection. Of course, that quickly spawned into a NEED to collect records new and old. Over the years I’ve grown a real penchant for spending too much money on vinyl, especially the dreaded repress! Nothing better than a copy of a record you already own.
Now I collect for not only myself, but I keep my eyes open for records for the Collective. We’re also always accepting donations from local ATX vinyl folks, and have had angels like Gold Rush Vinyl grace us with countless amazing donations. We host lots of different types of events, including vinyl markets, so having a fresh and exciting collection is key.
What types of things are happening in your industry / with vinyl that you’re excited or worried about? i.e. innovation, or trends you’re seeing.
One of the more exciting things I’ve seen in the Austin vinyl seen since attending events representing QVC is that more and more folks are getting involved in Vinyl DJing! I’ve been so thrilled to see others just as excited to dive in to this super fun and challenging thing, and its been a real treat to give folks the boost and support they need to get started. We’ve helped a few folks get behind the decks, and its been so fun, we’re working on creating some more formalized DJ Training sessions!! The community makes ideating on new ideas so thrilling, and way more engaging than I ever anticipated.
Who has been influential to you and your growth as a professional in this industry?
Try Hard Coffee Roasters. Dang, this place is where it all began. It’s where I got over caffeinated and began daydreaming about QVC. It’s where I began to DJ. It was even the venue for our first ever QVC event! I owe it all to this establishment. It’s been a safe space for me as a trans woman to explore my craft, to engage with others in a holistic environment free from fear or worry. It’s a damn good cafe, but its so much more, and I can say without a doubt that QVC would not exist if it weren’t for this space.
Anything else you’d like to add; if not tell us what you’re listening to:
K-Pop has been this new auditory venture for me. Some time last year, I started getting introduced to the genre by several people in my family / friend group. Since then, its become this no-shame rabbit hole I’ve gone pretty far down. It’s fun, its bouncy, a lil chaotic; frankly it’s just a lil different from anything else out now in the pop game in America. I can get behind that. I especially admire their personalities as artists, their openness to be themselves, and the passion they all have to teach their fanbase they can do the same.