Not many of us have the foresight to collect, catalog, seal, and store (for multiple decades) the most significant cultural hallmarks of an era. Thirteen-year-old Randi Bergman did however. In the midst of the early aughts, when Spice Girls were at the zenith of their careers and butterfly clips held everything together, Bergman sat in her poster-plastered room creating mixtapes and placing her braces elastics in tiny ziplock bags with date-stamped notes and sealed them in a box.
You’d think such meticulous documentation would be hard to forget, but it wasn’t until Bergman was in her late 20s and digging through her childhood bedroom that she uncovered her time capsule. True to form, she digi-documented it on Instagram @capsule98, which quickly went viral. Eventually, it evolved into a podcast, featuring guests including Dan Levy and Ralph, and most recently into a nostalgia-filled website. She even launched a capsule (get it?) collection of rhinestone cropped halters, tiger cowboy hats, and sparkle jelly sunglasses with Hudson’s Bay earlier this year.
We FaceTimed to talk all things 90s nostalgia, and had her uncover some of the most iconic but forgotten music moments on YouTube.
Why did you start the time capsule in ’98?
I loved documentation. I love anything that has obsessive documentation. I love my movie tickets [collection]. I had every single movie that I saw that year with the name of the movie. And if I snuck into a movie, it was the name crossed off with the real movie [written in]. And there was a rating on the back out of five, commentary and who I saw it with [laughs]. It’s just funny to see that because I could tell that I was doing it with an audience in mind.
Who are the music icons that define the 90s for you?
The 90s that I experienced myself—what I was into—were the Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, Hanson, anything super teenybopper. But now, as I’ve gotten older, I’m obsessed with Madonna. She’s pretty much my favourite artist.
How would you describe the feeling of nostalgia?
I looked up the meaning a couple of months ago: The pain for home. That’s really interesting because there is something bittersweet about it. It’s such a pure, happy feeling, but at the same time, it’s sad because you can’t have that thing anymore.
Have you considered creating another time capsule now?
My friend suggested making a time capsule for quarantine times, and I was like, it just seems so depressing. I was so obsessed with documentation as a kid. And now it seems there’s too much self-awareness in our social media era. I don’t want to see the purity in it. As a kid, putting braces in there is funny. But as an adult, I feel like I’d want to include this perfect photo of me.
What’s been a career highlight?
Being able to see my vision executed on the website. And interviewing Fran Drescher! Icon. The clothing collection [with Hudson’s Bay] was pretty cool and totally came out of left field. So that was super fun too.
What’s the first concert you went to?
Pearl Jam. My sister is 10 years older than me, and my brother is five years older than me, and they both were obsessed with grunge and all that. They both went to the concert and my dad was like, “I want to go.” So we scalped some tickets.
My first concert with friends was Backstreet Boys. It wasn’t exactly a concert, it was Intimate and Interactive. I went with my closest friend and we waited on the street.
If you were to get a tattoo of any lyric, what would it be?
Express yourself, don’t repress yourself.
Your 90s style icon?
There are a few. Fran Drescher, Nomi Malone from Showgirls—that movie has my favourite style ever.
90s icons you’d want to be in a group chat with:
Madonna, Britney and Xtina before they did the VMAs
Best Music Moments of the 90s
Courtney Love Crashes Madonna Interview (1995)
Backstreet Boys at MuchMusic Intimate and Interactive (1998)
Aqua on MuchMusic Electric Circus (1997)
No Doubt Perform ‘Just a Girl’ at Spring Break (1996)