“Scott and I still sit and listen to records all the time.”
The professional and personal collaboration that is Wrensilva audio began at a Supersuckers show at the Casbah. Debra Salyer didn’t know the band, and found herself stranded in a mosh pit during a cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Cowboy Song.” “There were all these huge guys around me, and this girl comes up behind me and pulls me off the dance floor and says, ‘You know, my friend has been trying to talk to you all night.’” That friend was Scott Salyer.
The two started up a custom furniture company called Limelight in 2003, learning as they went. Early on, “we got asked to build a dresser,” says Scott, “and so we went down to Barnes & Noble and got a book on how to build dressers. It was completely overbuilt — all solid wood, mortise and tenon, with a TV that came out of the back of the cabinet — but it was awesome.”
Debra recalls, “We’d be in our shop at the end of the day and be talking about how awesome it would be to have our own really, really good stereo console” — the sort with the record player and speakers built right in. “They were magical pieces. I can’t remember a single piece of furniture that my parents had, but I remember the record player. And I remember my grandmother’s console,” even if it wasn’t “built to last forever” from slabs of grain-matched hardwood and locally sourced veneer from Hesser Handcrafted, with yacht hardware helping to manage the lid.
“Scott and I still sit and listen to records all the time.” (Just now, Steve Earle’s “Guitar Town” is pouring out over the late afternoon lull.) “You pull out your old AC/DC that you own but don’t really listen to, and you hear it again and it’s cool. And because you have to physically move the needle, you find yourself listening from front to back. You get to know the artist more intimately, discover songs you might have skipped over.”
It’s not that they’re vinyl snobs. Besides turntables, the consoles boast a broad array of digital inputs, including Sonos technology for remote wireless play.
“People are going to listen to records one percent of the time, and that’s cool,” says Scott. Still, they find there is surprising value in stepping away from the infinite digital smorgasbord for the sake of more limited (and better-sounding) fare. They own only a few hundred LPs, including the six Debra just found at Fry’s. “Taylor Swift, Kings of Leon, Broken Bells…”
“And the Trainspotting soundtrack,” adds Scott, “which was amazing, but we left it at Wonder Woman’s house.”
Debra winces, hesitant to name-drop a celebrity client, but Scott shrugs and she relents. It’s good news, of a piece with a new business partner (late of Microsoft and Sonos) and the prospect of a factory/showroom in Little Italy. “Did we expect it to take off like this? No. We built the first one because we loved it, and it went from there.”