BYOV was the love child of Suzanne Miranda and Chloe Riley, two record-loving friends that grew up surrounded by music. Chloe was working for Suzanne’s shop, Nomadic Ant when the idea struck them one night after a delicious meal at a nearby Mexican restaurant. They would host a record night at the jewelry shop where people could show up with a record to play and meet other music lovers. Play records, build community. Maybe buy some jewelry?
They sat on the floor at Nomadic Ant and cut out the first handmade paper flyers in the shape of, you guessed it, records! Much like how Nomadic Ant’s first business cards were made by hand, these little BYOV flyers pretty much sum up the motto of everything that transpires in Nomadic Ant and Esquina, the sister space next door: DIY!
The first BYOV was the 3rd Thursday in September of 20??? People showed up. And they brought records. Sometimes we played a single song from everyone’s record, other times we played an entire side! There were 45’s, new and old albums, every genre from classic rock, to spoken word, a record of bird songs, hip hop, obscure jazz compilations and lots of local Chicago bands. It all got played.
We eventually moved BYOV from Nomadic Ant to the next door space because there was more room and a better sound system. Then the pandemic happened and a 2 year hiatus from all indoor gathering. There were (for those in the know) some virtual dance parties led by DJ SZR from her Albany Park home, but BYOV as we’d once known it was no longer on the books.
Fast forward the tape (yeah, we like cassettes too) to late 2022 and a city emerging from the darkness of solitude, and life without live music or public gatherings…should we start our 3rd Thursday nights again? Was it the right moment? We opted for something a bit different, feeling that evolution would be a good thing. Instead of everyone bringing records and signing up to play them, we’d find a few friends and ask them to DJ the night with their own record collections. Record collectors, music lovers, knowledge nerds and everyone in between would have a space to meet up and just listen to music.
Records with Friends (RWF) happens every 3rd Thursday at Esquina. It is free. Everyone is welcome. We don’t usually have a musical genre at this monthly event although we do specific music nights during the month like a Goth New Wave Night the last Friday of the month. If you want to know what a room of music-loving, kind, welcoming, genuine humans connected by a love of vinyl feels like when you step inside it, this is your place.