Week 2, 2015: Scott, Denmark

Scott record collection1What made you start collecting records?
I am not really sure exactly but when I was in High School in New Mexico, I had a group of friends that were all really into music and we had a fantastic store called Merlin’s Record Workshop. They stocked all the coolest music and had a small bathroom with a box of bootleg vinyls and that is where I started collecting Pink Floyd boots. Anyway, Gilbert, John and I were regulars in this store and we just got hooked. I was working at a pizza place and every other week when we got paid we would go buy records! In 1980, Doug, who took over Merlin’s Record workshop started to stock the NWOBHW singles from Neat, EMI, etc.. and we were totally hooked then.

Do you remember your first purchase?
The first record that I bought with my own money was Aerosmith’s debut album. Soon after I also bought the ELP-Brain Salad Surgery 7” at K-Mart as I loved the cover. I had a few records already from my dad at that time like Chuck Berry Golden Decade Vol 1 and 2, Creedence Clearwater Revivial- Greatest hits, Jerry Reid, Johnny Cash-Live at San Quentin..

darkside2What sort of music do you mainly focus on?
In the 80s I collected Pink Floyd and heavy metal records when I ran the fanzine Metal Madness but today I am mostly collecting space and psychedelic Rock albums.  I don’t buy heavy metal records anymore.

How do you discover new music?
I still read a lot about music and review music for my music blog (http://writingaboutmusic.blogspot.com) . I have a subscription to Classic Rock magazine for the last many years. The Obelisk (http://theobelisk.net) is a great music site where I also learn about a lot of new bands. I also go to a lot of music festivals (Roadburn, Sweden Rock, Heavy Days in Doomtown, Freak Valley, etc.. where I learn about new bands..

gas giant we2Where do you prefer to buy your records?
These days I almost only buy records on the internet. We have some pretty cool record stores in Copenhagen like Rock Uglen, Route 66, Skoven Kalder, Insula Music, etc.. but you can still get Danish records cheaper from Germany than buying them in the store here, which is a bit sad…  Kozmik Artifactz and Sapphire Records in Germany are two mail orders I use a lot.

For a long time, you have been heavily involved in the Scandinavian underground music scene. How did everything start out?
I did a lot of tape trading when I lived in the USA and people like Chris Snow in Idaho and Chuck Wax in Michigan turned me onto a lot of bands from Denmark and Sweden before I moved to Copenhagen in 1997.  I was also writing for Aural Innovations in the USA and doing interviews and record reviews.. This connected me with other underground places like the Freak Emporium and the Delerium record label, which then connected me with Chrohinga Well… I also had a subscription to Ptolamaic Terrascope Magazine since the early days and they were into these sort of bands. The real push came when I went to the Space and Rock Festival in Jonkoping, Sweden in Summer of 1998 and I met and saw Dark Sun (Finland), The Spacious Mind (Sweden), Pseudo Sun (Sweden), Darxtar (Sweden) and became friends (and still am) with all those bands.. In Denmark, I met Ralph Reijly (RIP) and he was managing and working with the bands On Trial and Gas Giant here in Denmark and I became good friends with all of those people and helped them out in many ways and played and managed Gas Giant from 2001-2004.. This gave me a strong connection to the Danish scene.

gas giant-WE1As a long-timed member, you’ve played live many times with ORESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE. Any particularly great memories from certain gigs?
We have had quite a few really cool and memorable gigs.. Playing the Burg Herzberg Festival in July 2014 was an amazing experience as there were 2000 people or something and they were totally into it and we played great. The gigs at the Psychedelic Network at Café Cairo in Würzburg set up by our friend Horst… We also played quite a few really memorable shows at our local underground club called Dragens Hule, which sadly is not around anymore.. A show with Damo Suzuki of CAN, a mushroom tea evening where the audience and the band were flying… and many more gigs..

You also run a record label, called Space Rock Productions. Could you tell us more about it?
Yes… I had another label with Ralph, Henrik and Lars from about 1999-2004 called Burnt Hippie Recordings and we released some cool bands like On Trial, Dark Sun, Gas Giant, Korai Öröm but we went under.. Space Rock Productions was originally created to release the music of the Univerzals (Nick Hill’s band) and Øresund Space Collective.  We have been expanding but still sticking with cool space rock bands from Scandinavia like Black Moon Circle, Deep Space Destructors, Tuliterä, and Third Ear Experience from California! The focus is space rock as the name implies.

IM singlesIn the 80’s you ran the heavy metal fanzine “Metal Madness”. Denmark had it’s fair share of great heavy metal bands in the 80’s (MERCYFUL FATE, WASTED, MALTESE FALCON, ARTILLERY etc.) Did you ever play in a heavy metal band? And if so, when did you realize you wanted to musically explore the field of space rock?
I had a blast putting out Metal Madness from 1984-1988 (12 issues) and I had some contact with a few of the underground Danish bands, Evil, Maltese Falcon and Artillery. I never played in a HM metal band but did manage one back in 1984 called Max Trixxie. IT was a bunch of young guys and we had a good time but due to internal conflicts the band only lasted about a year but they worked up a big enough following to make a demo and played a big concert opening for Lita Ford. She was a cool lady…

Scott record collection3Name three records that are special to you, and tell us the story of how you got hold of them.

Iron Maiden- Soundhouse Tapes
When I got the Running Free 7” in 1980, I was really into Iron Maiden. A few months later the debut album was released. I collected up all the singles through the mid 80s but in 1981 I read about the Soundhouse tapes and it was like the holy grail of Iron Maiden singles (Still is!) and one of my penpals (Deb Johnson, I think) found me a copy and sent it to me and then another penpal of mine also sent me one so for a while I had two copies! Stupidly, I sold one copy in the mid-80s for about 50 dollars…  Anyway, this still means a lot to me..

Gas Giant/WE- Riding the Redhorse to the Last Stronghold of the Freaks
This is a very special record for me as it was the first record that I ever played on, it is two of my favorite bands from Denmark and Norway and we released it on our own record label, Burnt Hippie recordings. IT was pressed in 500 copies with a cool insert and fold out sleeve. The cover was done by Henrik (Hobitten) from On Trial. I still think this is some of the best music that either band ever produced. This was never released in a digital format.

Pink Floyd- Dark Side of the Moon
In the 70s, I had only heard the radio songs by Pink Floyd but from Merlin’s Record Workshop, I got turned onto all their records and I would say until I discovered Motorhead, Pink Floyd was my favorite band for a time. I actively collected everything thing I could afford and this includes owning 8 copies of Dark side of the Moon. Quadraphonic, two different picture discs, one of which is very rare and only came in a special box set, the UK pressing, the US pressing, Dutch white vinyl, the mobile fidelity release, which was the best sound quality of all of them…  Plus it came with these postcard stickers, and two amazing posters… Still love the record.

soundhouseAnd finally: What do you see in the future of record collecting?
Well, I think the future looks bright. The older records as like collecting stamps, they will continue to be rare and people will still want them. I think in the next few years a new technology for making records will appear and this will close the bottleneck in production and a lot more records will get out there. I think as long as you keep buying the records produced in 300 or 500 copies, these will be rare and valuable in 10-20 years…… music lasts forever, when it is on a vinyl… the digital files can disappear but you can always find a magical record in a box somewhere that has a history, a special meaning…. It will continue to be fun and exciting…and also expensive…

Week 1, 2015: Danny, Ireland

dannyWhat made you start collecting records?
My initial exposure to vinyl came through my mother’s collection, which she amassed through her youth in the late ‘60s and ‘70s. Her favourite band was Queen and she bought albums or singles as they were released largely by mail order. The first vinyl I consciously remember hearing at home was her “War of the Worlds” DLP while following the story through the booklet as well as continually staring at the fantastic artwork on the gatefold sleeve! I was really besotted with the sound, feel and presentation.

Sometime later, she also introduced me to Alice Cooper “Alice Goes To Hell” and “Welcome To My Nightmare” LPs both of which combined that sense of narrative with creepy rocking music. All three records were essentially on permanent loan to me by the time I had my first record player around the age of 15 years old and remain in my collection today even though she is still alive!

dturntableDo you remember your first purchase?
Growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s, cassette was the format of choice. I began borrowing original copies from my older cousins and friends from school to feed my craving for more heavy music. My first purchase was Metallica “…And Justice For All”. Over the next twelve months, I continued buying original, albeit often second hand copies, of cassettes from friends. Iron Maiden, Motorhead and Slayer. I was reluctant to waste money on CDs as they tended to cost another 50% more than brand new original cassettes and without a part-time job in my early teens itcould have easily been a month between buying albums unless somebody else was culling their collection.

But it did mean that there was time to really absorb the music of each and every one. You know, playing them repeatedly on an old twin cassette deck by day as well as on a personal stereo when going to sleep at night for weeks and weeks at a time…Even without my own turntable, I began browsing the vinyl stands in a local independent record store that had been recently recommended to me. I was stunned at how much was available, boxes and boxes of second-hand titles in mint condition, the same price or often cheaper than the cassette albums I had been buying.

Comparing the detail of the artwork against small cassettes sleeves, large inserts with lyrics and my memories of those earlier experiences with the format, I thought it was time to take the plunge. Sepultura “Beneath The Remains” LP! Shortly thereafter, I was speaking to my cousin’s friend while waiting on the bus home from school. He told me he had two copies of Metallica “Garage Days Re-revisted” 12” so I promptly agreed to call round to buy that spare. As I gradually amassed more and more vinyl as my preferred medium for music my parents bought me a turntable for my bedroom…

How long have you been collecting?
Over twenty years now. My parents were genuinely surprised when I started buying LP’s just as they were making the transition to CD’s. They were even more surprised when I started ordering new albums in the post from overseas like my mother had done twenty years before me. Anyway, this pattern has continued throughout my twenties and thirties, as well as raiding local independent music shops, record fairs and mail order lists as often and as thoroughly as I could…

hawkwind

What sort of music do you mainly focus on?
My focus has always been based on Hard Rock and Heavy Metal although I have continuously had an experimental streak too. Back in my teens, whether we were buying albums locally or by mail my friends and I agreed to purchase different albums so that we could compare and share by way of blank C90 audio cassettes! Those albums that thoroughly impressed would obviously need to be bought as a personal copy further down the line. But again, it did make the most of our limited budgets. In this way, I took a punt on strange gems such as Paul Chain “Alkahest” LP or Ved Buens Ende “Written In Waters” DLP. Back then, the majority of my burgeoning vinyl stack would have been built around Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Venom LPs. You know, the classics. But there are always gaps though from that ‘70s and ‘80s period. In the past two or three years, I have made more of an effort tofill them in and was very pleased to source some of the old Atomkraft, Deathwish, Legend (Jersey), Raven, Satan, Tank and Warfare LPs I needed. For older original pressings, my difficulty is that there are not enough independent music stores still standing or regular record fairs locally. Sometimes whenever people have given up on the format and sell their whole collection, you can strike gold. Quite sporadic really because I prefer not to deal with unknown overseas sellers to avoid disappointment either in an inaccurate assessment of the vinyl or poor packaging for an item that cannot be replaced…

Original versions aside, my remaining efforts would be divided between sourcing new pressings for my personal collection and my mailorder. There is a certain overlap between the two although I know that not everything I like will sell. In the past few months, this has leant more towards stranger Dark Prog, Psych, Kraut and Space Rock by way of the back catalogues of Black Widow, Kommun2, and Sulatron. Some labels you can just trust as purveyors of good taste!

How do you discover new music?
My patterns have not really changed. It still comes down to word of mouth, reading zines or online blogs and scouring mail order lists for appealing descriptions. Gigs and festivals too. Of course it is now possible to stream so much music online although I rarely allow myself more than one song as a teaser. For me, an album should be experienced from start to finish on my stereo!

Where do you prefer to buy your records?
I prefer to buy albums in person at stores and fairs. But as previously explained, my collection would be infinitely diminished if it were not for mail order services and who can resist the excitement of 12” by 12” packages delivered to the front door?

paul chain collection

How is the Irish scene these days compared to the time you got into it?
In the early to mid ‘90s, I was too poor to travel to gigs in Belfast or Dublin. By the time I had my first job in ’97, there were no local gigs to speak of. The Troubles were raging on and foreign bands were too nervous to come here. But as I began to make contact with Irish underground bands by writing letters I discovered that there were smaller underground gigs scattered north and south if willing to travel. In April ’98, I helped Waylander run a bus from Portadown to an unlikely all-day event in the Folkhouse in Abbeyleix. Some seven or eight bands were on the bill and I still have the poster we used to encourage people to book a seat on it. Many of the friendships I made that day connected me to the heart of the underground and those faces remain active to the day as bands, promoters, distributors and labels.

From that point on, I travelled to as many gigs as I could and bought demos or albums available at them. The home-grown bands generally leant towards Death Metal although the lesser-known Graveyard Dirt, Thy Sinister Bloom, Arcane Sun and Scald forged a sound of their own. In the next couple of years, bands began to start travelling here again. Solstice,Waylander and Warning on the “New Dark Age” tour were all phenomenal. Cathedral hit the Rosetta Bar in Belfast a matter of weeks later and Anathema in the following spring. The same bills went to Dublin too although as a considerably larger city it would also have drawn larger bands such as Morbid Angel. Dublin always had more appetite for extreme sounds whereas Belfast has to this day more of a preference for Hard Rock.

There was a great network of records fairs around the country during that same period as well as a few independent shops in every town. Between Bangor and Belfast, I had more than enough opportunity to blow all of my pennies on old and new records. It is perhaps what I miss most from that era because of the range of titles concentrated in single shops or halls and at very affordable prices too. There was so much that was new or unfamiliar and it paid to take risks on covers that promised good music. By the guts of ten years ago, much of that infrastructure began to crumble and it was obvious how much less vinyl was circulating here hence the need to begin turning to overseas sellers for older titles. That lack of availability had a detrimental impact on the number of them I continued buying so the balance gradually shifted to newer albums or re-releases of classics almost all of which would have been sourced in England, France, Italy and Germany.

Any special relationship to Irish heroes Thin Lizzy? (one of my fave bands!)
Hmm, they were not one of my big bands when growing up and I still feel that many of my international friends love them more than me! Perhaps if I were ten years older it would have been different. “Vagabonds of the Western World” remains my favourite album and I would have loved seeing them on tour way back then. It’s always a blast when Slough Feg or Argus covers the band on their Irish tours too. From a local perspective, the Horslips possibly made as much of an impression on me because I loved that blend of traditional music and mythology with Hard Rock! Anybody out there still listen to “The Tain” or “The Book of Invasions” LPs?

paul chain test pressing

Name three records that are special to you, and tell us the story of how you got hold of them.
Looking back at my teens, I was knocked for six by a song called “Master of the Universe” by Hawkwind. I knew nothing of the band and had heard none of my friends enthusing about the music. So began my personal journey to hear more. Whilst their ’70s albums particularly struck a chord, it was the “Space Ritual” Volumes 1 & 2 that remain firm favourites. I bought the second vinyl first in a very small local record store in Bangor. I loved the colours, the artwork and the way the gatefold spine was at the bottom rather than the side. More importantly, the music was so damned raw, heavy and spaced out. It was years later before I found the companion DLP and cannot remember exactly where I purchased it. But as it was already part of my collection when I moved to my first house in Belfast, it must have been from a record fair or independent store thereabouts. Again, killer artwork, which was made all the more special by some very strange ink drawings on the inner sleeve. They must have been tripped out visions of the music and I have spent as much time lying on the carpet staring at them as I have the actual gatefold sleeve. Hawkwind’s performance here possibly edges it for me.

It is almost impossible to highlight the most special Paul Chain vinyl in my collection. My love affair began with the “Alkahest” LP, which I purchased directly from Rise Above when they ran a genuinely eclectic and affordable mail order. Thanks to a tip from a friend, I bought the “Ash” MLP (yellow logo with black vinyl) from I cannot remember where. By then, my thirst for Paul Chain was insatiable. I began blindly hunting for any other titles because without making a purchase I could not hear the songs. Do bear in mind the LPs were rare and the CDs often rarer still. Through Black Widow, I sourced quite a few more originals such as “Detaching From Satan” MLP and “Highway to Hell” Picture Disc. When I bought in bulk from Quasar Records at the time their shop was closing, they included a surprise signed test pressing of “Whited Sepulchres” LP! The remaining albums and singles were generally sourced from private collectors in Italy. The “Opera Decima” 3LP boxed set and “Violet Art of Improvisation” DLP in particular took quite some time. However, the “King of the Dream” 12″ with Sabotage on the reverse possibly provided the most elation because it was the very last one I needed and the building atmosphere on that song, the very first time I dropped the needle, reaffirmed the genius of Paul Chain and his cohorts throughout the collective’s many guises. Sanctis Ghoram RIP! As an aside, I am genuinely pleased that so much of the back catalogue has since been rereleased at affordable prices so anybody with a passing interest can now listen to Paul Chain. It is perhaps a pity though that so many came at once after being long out of print because it takes time to absorb and the demand seems to have been somewhat overestimated by labels. Very much a sign of the times. Not sure I understand the merit of expanding “Alkahest” to a DLP to mirror the CD edition with almost a fourth side of silence for the short hidden track. Or the artificial construct of “Vivid Eyes in the Dark” LP from the “Relative Tapes” boxed set. If anything, surely it should have been part of a bigger vinyl boxed set than the way it was presented without any explanation? But with Paul Chain no longer involved, of his volition, it should not be that surprising these imperfections have crept into being.

Lastly, it has to be Revelation “Salvation’s Answer” LP. As teenagers, a friend and I took a punt on a couple of albums from our local record store. He picked this one from the racks, I opted for Stillborn “Permanent Solution” LP and we made cassette copies of the other vinyl the following weekend. While I was enjoying mine I instantly preferred his find. The music was young and raw. Slow and heavy then prone to unexpected bursts of speed. But it was underpinned with melancholy. Honest and very human. In the midst of Death and Black melee of the early to mid ’90s, it was a breath of fresh air. Doom proclaimed the large round sticker! Doom that recalled the roots Heavy Metal and Thrash. Combined with that alternative pointy logo on the insert, photos of a very young band and the thoughtful lyrics it made a deep impression. Over the years, I tried to buy or trade it from my friend. He never would let it go. In fact, I’m not sure he actually ever said no. My request simply met with silence. Later still, if memory serves me correctly, Oli Richling, the Doom Dealer, bought old warehouse stock from Rise Above included this long sought for record. As I was flying to Doom Shall Rise that spring of 2004 and he agreed to keep a copy aside for me to purchase at the festival. Needless up say, I was very happy walking down the Chapel steps with it in my hands again. A formative album from my youth and a band whose sixth record (only their second on vinyl) I would release the following decade.

revelation LP

You have been running Pariah Child for a long time. Please tell us about your label!
Label? I still find it strange that some think of Pariah Child in that way. First and foremost, it remains a zine. It evolved from my previous publication, Abandon All Hope. My motivation had been to hold the breach where printed zines proudly stoodin the ‘90s. I missed Reflections of Doom, Isten, Fitted Kitchens of the Living Damned and Steel Conjuring. I missed the detail, the wit and the enthusiasm. With the turning tide of the internet, communication became much easier although nothing, to this day, really replaces holding a tome in your hands. My focus was my tastes and space was not for sale as many of those who asked at the time will recall. I printed two issues under both names and circulated 1,500 copies worldwide. But the weight of handling everything alone as Pariah Child took its toll in the wake of real life. In 2009, after a silence of three years, I penned another issue, which I considered to be my fourth, after an earlier version was partially shelved and printed elsewhere. Two or three attempts to have it designed by those more able than me came to nothing so it gathered dust. A lot of dust. Then eventually a newly-forged alliance with Hell Bent For Metal under the banner of Masters of the Pit resurrected that old ghost two years ago. Spurred on, we joined forces again and we printed a brand new issue in October. If you still crave real zines, it’s 80 A5 pages crammed with lively features on varied bands such as Queen Elephantine, The Hounds of Hasselvander, Rise And Shine, The Black, The Story of Death SS Part Two and Brad Moore (Argus artist) amongst much more.

In a bid to spread the zine further and to champion the bands included in its pages, a small mailorder evolved organically around it. Very limited copies of demos, singles and albums.Ten to twelve years ago, long before YouTube or Bandcamp was taken for granted, with all manner of music only a click away, I found the underground community very willing to try what was presented almost regardless of the format or style if quality was guaranteed.Then there have been a few bands for whom I have gone that extra mile again. Eight Hands For Kali, was the first. They gave me permission to press copies of their independent EPs, “Mount Meru” and “Himalayan Necromantia” in 2005 and 2007 respectively. I manufactured 200 copies each, both of which were well received, sold quickly and requests still come for them. In 2009, when I began writing the zine again, I finally took the plunge to press vinyl when Gnod welcomed the opportunity to co-release their debut album with Pariah Child. Since then, I have pressed another five vinyl, some as co-releases, some alone, with Oresund Space Collective, Heathendom, Argus, Revelation and Second Grave. My focus has always been living bands regardless of their style. Even on paper, they are quite an eclectic horde. Earlier in the winter, the Yoshiwara Collective and Pariah Child also sent the latest album by Ogre into production as a special LP and 7” single set. This is my boldest project to date and genuinely hope it will help earn the band the higher profile they deserve when released early February 2015. While I have always favoured print media and analogue pressings, earlier this year Pariah Child took its first step into the present! I have begun to compile an archive of my written material and releases via http://www.pariahchild.co.uk so those that missed the original issues can dip into what I hope remain intriguing historical testimonies. This is really only a hint of what will come as the vaults are deep and will be gradually supplemented with new features. Of course there are some choice items for sale too although I must stress that they are not always brand new. This is not motivated as a commercial venture and I have no interest in distributing all and sundry. Instead there is a small tried and tested selection that often goes back decades because those albums made an impression and remain vital. It may often follow that I have also already written about them or will do in future. So when you think of Pariah Child, please remember it is not just another label flooding the market with an endless string of re-releases or young hip hopefuls. It is a much more personal affair that moves at my own slow pace. There has been a small yet loyal following over the years, forever cyclic, as some fall off the edge of the world only to be replaced by new faces. But each and every letter and purchase has been greatly appreciated.

And finally, what do you see in the future of record collecting?
Given the vast number of new titles and rereleases currently being pressed, month on month, it will be very interesting to see what happens when demand takes a dip. And it will. There is no hope in trying to keep pace with the machine. I have already seen quite a few people building up collections only to give up and flog the lot for whatever reasons they might have! It will do no harm to see the death of a raft of greedy labels too. We all need a little time to step back and review what music really matters. Record collecting should be about cherishing the music you love. A collection should be living and breathing. Cut the dead wood. There is no point hogging unnecessary titles. As people move on or ultimately die, plenty of titles, good and bad, should come back into circulation for more reasonable prices as tastes of the time shift. But classics will remain classics, and sure, pockets of avid collectors will remain everywhere. What intrigues me is which albums will be considered classics in ten or twenty years from now.

Mega Record Collection!

Grand news!

Record Heaven just bought a magnificent record collection, consisting of 12.000 records!
It’s everything from coloured vinyls to japanese papersleeves to 300 limited runs of 7” boxes.

We will post a “video diary” of the collection, and the first clip you can find right here:

Week 14, 2014: Laszlo, Hungary

1

Hello Laszlo! Please introduce yourself, and tell us your musical history!
I am Laszlo Kovacs, I live in Hungary. I am a keen listener of music, which brought a huge fanaticism about collecting records and later also some activities in connection with it. Now I regret omitting learning and playing music myself.

Do you remember your first purchase?
Sure, that was back in June 1982, when I spent my small name day (27th June) present for a new local LP. It was Hobo Blues Band: Oly sokáig voltunk lenn (Been Down For A Long Time) and I was at a tender age of 11. I bought it in the main bookshop of my hometown in North, namely Salgótarján. It was usual to sell music in bookstores. The town had just two places selling music on records and tapes. The other selling point was a small division of a state department store. I was quite excited about buying more LPs, but could afford only three more albums that year… Singles were not interesting for me until next Spring.

SAMSUNG DIGIMAX A503The Hungarian rock scene was very big 40 years ago compared with other Easter European countries. Are you old enough to have experienced that time, and could you tell us about how it was back then?
Now I find that Eastern European countries were quite isolated from each other as well, not just tied together and took apart from the West by the Iron Curtain. Although we could travel freely throughout the Warsaw Pact countries (except for the Soviet Union) and had easy access to Yugoslavia as well, cultural and goods exchanges were relatively sporadic and at a small range. So here we saw only a few articles about exporting Hungarian rock music to the neighboring countries. This was going on particularly in the 70s when Hungarian rock products were generally above the other Communist countries’ output (both in quality and quantity means) and very few productions approached the leading world class acts as well.

I know you started early with your vinyl passion. How do you think the music progressed from the time you began to discover music to today’s style?
I can hardly answer this, since my taste and interest diverged from the trends since the early 1990. I guess Metallica and U2 were the last performers who became true first class rock actions. They were the last considerably innovative rock performers for me – but that was in the late 80s, a generation’s time earlier.

SAMSUNG DIGIMAX A503I know you run a label, Moiras Records, and you have released many Hungarian records on vinyl. Please tell us more about your label, and how you got the idea of starting it.
In the late 80s I started to discover the obscure world of unreleased material existing on copied compact cassettes. There were many great productions left unreleased even in Hungary, where release control was less strict than places like Czechoslovakia, Romania or Bulgaria. In fact most of the famous bands had some confrontation with the power. I managed to get a bunch of tapes then, so in the 90s I collected music in two main groups: released and unreleased. There were quite many collectors interested in these and it was relatively easy to find recordings. Many CDs were released with old material after the fall of Communism in 1989, but quite a few were still left hidden. I was thinking about releasing some favorite copied tapes back in the late 90s (the tapes shifted to CD-Rs from 1999-2000), but the chance of starting this came by founding a label only in 2005. Of course, I don’t make living of this, since I work as a lawyer.

My aim was to put light on such materials connected to Hungarian rock, jazz or folk music genres that 1) are remaining obscure due to being unreleased or very poorly managed for any reason and 2) are decent enough to be introduced to the foreign collectors as well. While designing, I tried to follow foreign release patterns like using gatefold sleeves, hand-numbering, inserts, liner notes etc. The first two releases were remakes of two Electrecord LPs from Romania with local ethnic Hungarian rock and folk artists from 1978, which were sold in 8.000-10.000 copies at their time. These LPs, namely Metropol: Égig érhetne az ének and Józsa Erika – Horváth Károly: Kettőspont never found their way to the public of Hungary, since they were not imported or licensed, even the artists were banned from touring in Hungary by the Romanian Communist authorities! The further releases were mostly my dig-outs, and some tapes were coming from the bands’ ex- members (like Scampolo and Bugocsiga). Of course, all releases are done with the consent of the artists or their representatives.

Many Western European find Eastern European music very exotic, it is the opposite in Hungary?
American and English stars were the etalon even in the times when Western rock artists were not let into the local media. You could receive records from abroad or buy them privately, but you could hardly enjoy any live performers or films or broadcasts until the early 60s. So anything coming through were taken as treasures. From a local’s point of view, I would rather call them as hardly accessible top products than exotic ones. The isolation was far from being total: radio and TV broadcasts became regular from the mid 60s, some rock movies were featured, very few licensed records were pressed at the state record company (with labels Qualiton and later Pepita and more) and even some gigs were held (like Spencer Davis Group, Nashville Teens and later Free). From the early 70s the state label (which had export-import activity as well) imported a limited rock catalogue form its Yugoslavian and Indian partners. These import LPs were sold at “just” 200-250% of the local pressing LP prices, which was still better than the private market prices of the Western pressings, going at 500-700%. The limits of accessibility were disappearing gradually in the 80s and the prices were somewhat dropped.

What sort of music do you mainly focus on, in your own collection?
Currently I listen mostly to classical music. I find those works very sophisticated and feel almost impossible to discover the pieces in their true depths. So a section of 200-300 LPs will do for me for a very long time. My main collection (put together in 20 years) includes beat, hard rock, Heavy Metal, prog rock and punk records, and a small section of folk as well.

How do you discover new music?
Any channel will do for me, but I find new favorites mostly via internet and via friends’ hints.

Please let us know more about the Hungarian vinyl collecting situation. Many people who collect?
I guess there are very few serious record collectors around, both in attitude and quantity means. Just two aspects to show: a collection of 10.000 LPs is taken almost unique in the country (well, mine is far from that…) and a 50 EURO local oldie is already considered a serious collectible item.

SAMSUNG DIGIMAX A503

Where do you prefer to buy your records?
In the last decade practically I stopped collecting. The last few ones were taken from you (!!!), back in May and from a small classical music shop in Budapest who had been just shifting to web shop and made a sellout due to this.

Name three records that are special to you, and will be buried with you. Please tell us the story of how you got hold of them.
I have many loved pieces but have very few that I have emotional ties with. Like all collectors, I had several purchases I felt very lucky about. The first two records are coming from such collectors’ successes.

The first one is Phoenix: Cei-ce ne-au dat nume (Those Who Gave Us A Name) first pressing LP. This is a foreign record from Romania, sung in native language which sounds at least so strange for me than for you. I got a great collection of Romanian rock LPs and singles in Arad, Romania in 1994 where I swapped them for a bunch of Hungarian oldies. The collection included several prog rock, beat and hard rock masterpieces (like Metropol, Progresiv TM, Sfinx, all three albums of Phoenix etc.), but this LP is the crown of all. The LP released in 1972 in a nice artwork gatefold sleeve as the debut LP of the doubtless no.1. Romanian rock band. Some prog rock and hard rock touches (like Jethro Tull and Deep Purple) are mixed with local folk music structures. The results is a very strong and unique sound, which remains basically rock. But take that the LPs greatest hit of the time (The Wedding) was recorded in ¾ rhythm!

I am the proud owner of the first Hungarian language beat EP from 1966 (Illés: Légy jó kicsit hozzám – Be Good To Me). The item is not particularly rare even in its original picture sleeve – but I got this copy in 1995 in unplayed, untouched condition! A doctor lady who had been buying records in the late 60s sold her collection to me – many in Mint or even fully unplayed condition. It was like attending a shop in 1966 or so. Well, I dared to play this EP 4 or 5 times since then…

The third one is the piece that had maybe the greatest impact on me in the 80s. It is Iron Maiden’s Live After Death, which I bought on 1st April, 1986, in the “Cinema Boutique” of my hometown. This was a small record shop inside the cinema’s building, near the cashiers. The LP was pressed by Jugoton, Zagreb in Yugoslavia and had all inserts and label artworks featured (unlike many other Eastern pressings…). This was my first Maiden album and in fact I met Maiden only then – and fell in love forever. I counted its listening in full until 70 or so times in the next 1-2 years, then omitted counting… Sincerely, I left regular listening to it some short time later and never pulled out for about 20 years. And then it was a revelation to discover again!

And finally: what do you see in the future of record collecting?
There will be a worldwide sect of vinyl lovers for many decades to come. In this new world of file music it is just a unique passion to make a ritual of listening. Keeping a record player, hunting some pressed music for it, putting on a record and finally listening to the contents of grooves: this is and will be a joy for many newcomers due to its passion style. But the number of followers will gradually decline and in 10-20 years this will be a very small market with the usual pains due to its size.

Week 13, 2014: Désirée, Netherlands

1Hello Désirée ! Please introduce yourself !
Well, my name is  Désirée Hanssen, I live in The Netherlands and I have a crush on vinyl!

You recently founded Lay Bare Recordings, which has a small but nice catalogue. What did you do before, and what made you take the step into the world of labels?
I run my label besides  my regular job. In my day to day job i help people who are going through a tough time. I show them that even if you have lost your job or if you have a lot of problems, there are still more options to get yourself back on track.  With my label i want to unveil great bands and their records, so that as many people as possible can discover and enjoy their great music. It’s about giving people a chance. With the same attitude in my regular job, I want to give unknown bands a push in the right direction.

The stoner / todays heavy psych scene is on the rise when bigger labels seem to sign these acts as well. How come it took the genre 15 years in the underground to get this break ?
Maybe because the other genres are getting smaller or just because there is not one scene anymore. A lot of music is divided in to sub-genres. To me the whole scene got fragmented.

2I read somewhere you’re a big fan of Frank Marino, a guitarist todays collectors are pretty unaware of. Please namedrop us another batch of great 70’s guitarist that surprisingly seem unknown these days.
That’s a tough one to namedrop unknown guitarists. My favs are well known, like Ted Nugent, Eddy Van Halen and The Allman Brothers.

When it comes to collecting, which music do you mainly focus on?
Actually I don’t focus on one particular genre. At the moment i concentrate on harsh noise, industrial rock, dark jazz and doom. Heavy 70s and some good old country are genres that always deliver a smile on my face.

3Sorry to be such a jerk, but few females seems to collect vinyl, but you seem to be very dedicated. How come the interest is so big compared to your fellow sisters around the world ??
Haha… Fellow sisters? Well, I don’t think you are aware how many women nowadays attend gigs and collect vinyl. If it comes to collecting i don’t think it has anything to do if you are a man or a woman. Its about passion and interest.

Since you come from Netherlands, I suppose you paid a visit or two to UTRECHT, one of the best record fairs in Europe. Have you got a special record you managed to pick up from there?
I help out the guys from the label Burning World Records. As their stall-ward, i sell their records on fairs or festivals. Since a couple of years i work on the record fair in Utrecht. So yeah, I am familiar with this fair. I found me some nice records of April Wine, Tangerine Dream, Budgie, Humble Pie and some nice jazz records. Dropped my eye on a record of Désirée, a German prog rock band from the 70s, lets see next time if I wanna pay €80,- for it…

4Please tell us about the collector scene in Netherlands these days!
I know there are a lot of collectors in The Netherlands and of course all over the world. But I am not really part of a scene or any scene at all. I buy records because i love the music and vinyl. And because i love to attend gigs i buy a lot of vinyl directly from the bands.

How many records do you own today?
Still not enough! LOL!

Please tell us the story about 3 of your all time favourite records that will follow you into your grave….
If I could take a record player into my grave I would definitely take the next records with me:
I AM THE COSMOS from CHRIS BELL, just a perfect little gem!!!
CORONER – no release in particular, to keep banging my head and
IRIS DEMENTINFAMOUS ANGEL, to shed a tear once in a while.

5So, finally, how do you see the future of record collecting ??
Well, first of all, thank you for spreading the word about this wonderful item and having me on your blog! There always have been record collectors and either way its popular to buy vinyl or not, there will always be a crazy bunch of people who keep collecting those shiny pieces of wax. At least I am, for sure!

Week 12, 2014: Peter, Sweden

1Hello Peter!  Please introduce yourself, and tell us your musical history!
Hybrid of hippie and hard rocker. Born in Karlskrona, Sweden 1961. For the last 30 years, I have worked, mainly as a photographer, for the Swedish motor magazine publisher Albinsson & Sjöberg, as well as having been the editor of several magazines. My interest in music seriously happened in the early Seventies. At my neighbour, who was a few years older, I got to hear The Beatles and Creedence Clearwater Revival, among other things. I was spellbound! Pretty soon, I was sucked in by hard rock, with bands like Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, Nazareth, Slade, Status Quo, and Thin Lizzy. Also progressive music, like Pink Floyd and Genesis! Around ten years later, I started to go back in time somewhat: a lot of Rolling Stones, The Doors, King Crimson, The Moody Blues, and more Creedence and The Beatles. My “decade of music” is definitely 1967-1977.

Do you remember your first purchase?
Absolutely! For money I had received as a birthday present when turning 12 in 1973, I bought “Made In Japan” by Deep Purple. I had recently heard the riff of “Smoke On the Water” at a friend’s place. The double album was pure dynamite, and marked the start of an intense interest in music that has grown over the years.

When meeting you, in person, I get the impression that you have been into the music for a long long time, and was a part of the 70’s and 80’s scene.  How do you think the music progressed from the time you began to discover music to today’s style?
Every generation has its music. For most people, it’s easier to go back in time, than go forward. I don’t know what’s today’s style in a mainstream context. I NEVER listen to the radio or streamed music.

2I know you’re also a vital part of one the best Swedish music magazines, Rock’n’Roll Magazine, please let us know how it came the magazine was born,
and how it have progressed from the start!

The publishing house had a magazine called “Nostalgia Special”, consisting of issues with different themes. The publisher asked me if I wanted to make a special issue. “Sure, and it will be about rock’n’roll”, I said. That’s how the fist issue came about in 2011. The following issue was about buses and trams… However, the response to the rock’n’roll issue was so good that we pretty soon established Rock’n’Roll Magazine, which is a bi-monthly, focusing on rock music from the Fifities through the Seventies. Our readership increases with each issue.

I see a thin common thread between Rock’n’Roll Magazine, and other magazines like Record Collector and Mojo, which mostly writes about 60’s and 70’s music. How hard is it to introduce new bands to the regular readers?
I like Record Collector and Mojo. I, however, wanted a magazine in Swedish that also writes from a Swedish point of view, including Swedish acts.

Most people want to read about bands and artists they are already familiar with. But there are also a lot of people who are open to hearing music they haven’t previously heard of. Speaking for myself, I have discovered several bands that I didn’t know much about since we launched the magazine.

3

Myself, I like the wide range of articles that you presents, from guitar builders, to jukebox collectors, old rock legends, record collectors, record reviews, which I do not see many other magazines have. What kind of articles do you get the most nice feedback on?
We have invented our own series called “The Record Bin”. We let well-known artists and musicians, like for example Ian Gillan, Slash, or Alice Cooper go through a pile of LP’s with other artists that we know that they are related to in one way or another, and have them tell anecdotes they have never told before. A lot of fun, and very appreciated by our readers!

What sort of music do you mainly focus on, in your own collection ? When did you start to collect, and how big is it these days?
I focus more on artists and bands I like, than musical styles. For example, I have all official LP releases by Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Camel, ZZ Top, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, and Frank Zappa.

I started buying records in the early Seventies. But the actual collecting started in the early 90’s, when I was obsessed with having complete LP collections by my favourite acts. It is when you get obsessed, and start filling the gaps, that you are considered a collector! I have an estimated 3000 albums by very few different acts.

I bet you’re one of those difficult Frank Zappa collectors … How come this genius didn’t reach out to more people than he did ?? Either you love, or hate him…(I am one of the admirers too…)
Frank Zappa is like olives, hard liquor and Motörhead. The first time you come in contact with any of these, it’s horrible. But, if you force yourself to keep exposing yourself to any of them, it gradually becomes extremely rewarding and, in many cases, addictive …

Regarding Frank Zappa, a lot of people may have listened to an album that didn’t suit them, and then formed an opinion … Zappa made albums that were very different from each other …
I have everything Zappa released until the time of his passing, and a few more… My favourite is “Hot Rats”.

4

How do you discover new music?
This is often liked to an artist or band I already like. For example, after having listened to Frank Zappa for decades, this led to all of Captain Beefheart’s albums, and Jean-Luc Pontý.

Please let us know more about the Swedish vinyl collecting situation. Many people who collect? And what kind of people do you get the impression who still keeps opening their wallets for that particular vinyl?
I don’t have any figures regarding the number of collectors in Sweden. It’s hard to make an estimation. A lot of them are probably anonymous. Regarding buying “holy grails”, it is collectors at the age of 50+, or 60+ who are willing to pay large amounts for Vertigo albums with the swirled label, or 10,000 Swedish kronor or more for a mint condition Jimi Hendrix release on the Track label.

Where do you prefer to buy your records?
In record stores. Nothing beats looking up record stores with a good selection while travelling.

5

Name three records that are special to you, and will be buried with you.
Made in Japan – Deep Purple.
Are You Experienced – Jimi Hendrix.
Weld – Neil Young.

And finally: what do you see in the future of record collecting?
I see young people who are interested in music and want to get away from the computers, and see the artistic values of album covers. Collecting is a rewarding hobby in itself. It’s impossible to collect digital music – it would be like collecting air, wouldn’t it?

Week 11, 2014: Bernard, France

ImageHello Bernard ! Please introduce yourself, and tell us your musical history.
My name is Bernard Gueffier. My interest for music started with the first Progressive releases back in the late 60’s with Moody Blues.
I was so impressed by this new creative style that I became rapidly a great fan of Prog, searching and buying vinyls throughout Europe. I was living in a small French town were it was not easy to find the latest LP released, so I used to buy though mail orders from UK and Germany. After a while, more and more friends asked me to import records for them and this became my first business in the musical field. Later in the 80’s, I observed that all record companies forgot about Progressive Rock and turned to more profitable styles such as Punk or New Wave. I found particularly inacceptable that any music style may be condamned only for profit reasons. This conclusion led to the creation of Musea Records in 1985 as a Non-Profit organization.

Do you remember your first purchase?
Absolutely ! During a stay in UK in 1969, I purchased “On the Threshold of a Dream” by Moody Blues which was my first ever LP. I was so impressed by the classical form of this album, by the use of Mellotron which gave a so strong symphonic touch to this work that I think that my taste for all Symphonic music comes from that time !

I think the French 70’s scene was different than the Italian, and UK for example, and French artists were far more inspired by bands like SOFT MACHINE, rather than YES and KING CRIMSON. Why was it like this ?? Or am I wrong ?
You are right ! One of the reasons for this is historical: in 1967 Soft Machine came to France to play their famous shows on the French Riviera, particularly in Saint Tropez. When they wanted to go back to London, Daevid Allen, an Australian citizen, was denied re-entry to the UK and forced to stay in Paris where he formed Gong. Starting from this time, this musical style later called “Canterbury scene” had two heads, one in UK, and a second one in France. Thus the influence of these groups became much important in France in the early seventies with bands like Moving Gelatine Plates, Contrepoint, Travelling etc.

ImageI know you started early with your vinyl passion. How do you think the music progressed from the time you begun to discover music to today’s style ?
Generally speaking, scientists know that any evolution is not a progressive process but rather a process evolving by irregular steps. And most observers of popular music evolution agree to consider that within de few years between 1969 and 1975, a peak of creativity happened. In a few years lots of new styles, new musical experiences, new fusions between various styles of music were invented, giving birth to the so-called Progressive Rock.
For me, most of the music released after 1975 is only the continuation and exploitation of the discoveries of the previous years, nothing quite new indeed !

Musea and it’s sublabels have been one of the most productive European progressive rock labels in the 90’s and to present time. I guess around 1000 releases, how did you manage all these releases ?
Actually we released over 1500 albums since 1985 !
After just a few years, we reached a release rhythm of one new CD every week, roughly 50 releases per year. In the first years, many of these releases were reissues of vinyls albums from the 70’s. But in the 90’s we saw lots of new Progressive bands emerging from all over the world and Musea wanted to open its catalogue to these young bands.
Musea team includes a Production Dept which handle the CD releases. Generally, we received from the bands the complete material ready for printing the CD’s, i.e audio master and graphic files for the booklet. Most of our work consists to include the legal and technical elements in these graphic files, such as bar code, logo etc. and make all legal declaration before pressing.

What sort of music do you mainly focus on?
All over the years, Musea opened several labels, each one devoted to a specific style of music: after Musea devoted to Progressive and Symphonic Rock, we lauched Musea Parallèle, with a more open musical field, Ethnea (Folk and World Music), Dreaming (Electronic Music and New Age), Great Winds (Jazz), Angular Records (Neo Prog), Bluesy Mind (Blues)…
All these different styles have their place in Musea and we do no focus on any specific style.

How do you discover new music?
After almost 30 years of existence and +1500 CD’s released, I think Musea is known in the whole world as a possibility of release for musicians creating in the above mentioned styles.
Every morning, I receive demos and albums submissions from all over the world, usually 3 to 5 each and every day of the year !!!
So it is very easy for me: i only have to listen to these submissions and decide which CD I want to release or distribute.

ImageMusea have been great to give new artists a chance to release their music, but you also did a lot of old French 70’s music. Was there a early plan to work this way ? Many labels either do new, or old music.
Our aim when starting Musea was only to promote Progressive Rock and allow this musical style to keep on existing. In the mid-80’s most available Prog albums were releases from the 70’s. This is why we started with a strong reissue collection, on vinyl at that time, with bands like Atoll, Pulsar, Sandrose, Zao, Asia Minor etc.
Then, when new artists started to compose again in this style, we opened our catalogue to their music (Jean Pascal Boffo, Minimum Vital, Halloween etc.)
Today, there are very few 70’s reissues still to be done and most of our releases are from new bands.

Please let us know more about the French vinyl collecting situation. Many
people who collect?

Yes, this is a new trend amongst French collectors: some new records stores opened, mainly devoted to vinyls, as well as new records labels reissuing albums on vinyls. But this new market is far from compensating the decrease of the CD market and remains limited to collectors.

Where do you prefer to buy your records?
Obviously, specialized record stores are the right place to buy music ! You can find rare records, and some useful advices from sellers. But of course, one can not forget the Internet stores which are sometimes the best place to find rare records.

Name three records that are special to you, and will be buried with you.
Please tell us the story of how you got hold of them.
SOFT MACHINE “Fourth”
GONG “Angels Egg”
KING CRIMSON “In the Court”

I discovered each of these albums at the time of their release when I was between 15 years old (KC) and 19 years old (GONG). I think that the first music you listen when you are an adolescent is marked forever in your memory and is the basis of your musical culture for the rest of your life. Furthermore, these albums were creative at a level that was never reached later.
At that time, my record collection was not huge as today and I could listen to the same album several hundred of times ! This is also a reason why I was so influenced by these early works.

And finally: what do you see in the future of record collecting?
Like any collection, records collection will go on for centuries, I am quite confident about this !!!