Monthly Archives: December 2013

Week 52, 2013: Mike, Belgium

ImageWhat made you start collecting records?
Back when I was still in my crib, I was already listening to Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin… My father was an enthusiast of hard rock, and I grew up between his records. I was fascinated by the spinning vinyl as a toddler, and I constantly bugged my father to put on a record. So I was born and raised between classic rock records. When I was about 8 I got the Appetite For Destruction box set from my cousin. She outgrew her Guns ‘n’ Roses phase, and gave it to me. Back then I was a big fan, so I was truly over the moon. Also, it was a box set. So magical! I held on to that like it was a treasure (I also outgrew my Guns ‘n’ Roses phase quite quickly, but even to this day I still hold on to that box set. I think that box set sparked my collector’s soul). After that, I inherited the collection from some friends of my parents. There was much there I wasn’t particularly interested in back then (like The Cure and Depeche Mode), but there were some albums by AC/DC and Iron Maiden that grabbed my attention. Being really grateful, I held on to all those records (and I’m very happy I did, because in time really started to appreciate all those albums). This meant my pile of records was amassing, and I could start to talk about “a collection”. It also sparked my interest in metal. I raided our local libraries for metal music, and a whole new world opened up. And I was sold…

Do you remember your first purchase?
Yes, although my first purchase was a cd. I just got my first cd-player, and I was very eager to break it in. My first album was Morbid Angel’s Covenant. Plunged straight into the death metal pool! Got it when it was just released, and much to my surprise, this has been already 20 years ago! Time does fly…
I collected a lot of cd’s from then on. The Norwegian wave of black metal swept me away. But it didn’t take all too long before I returned to my trusted medium. With Satyricon’s Megiddo I rekindled my love for vinyl, and I started to buy a lot of vinyl too.

How long have you been collecting?
It depends on when you start to count. Back when I was 8? In that case, I’ve been collecting for some 25 years.
If you start counting from the moment I purchased the first album with my own allowance, it will be 20 years.

ImageWhat sort of music do you mainly focus on?
Well, that kinda came in waves. In the beginning I mainly listened to death metal. Then Mayhem came, and it pulled me under in the Norwegian frenzy. Then somehow I ended up – via speed and thrash metal – in traditional metal. Until some 12 years ago I grew really tired of metal. It all sounded the same to me. Nothing that really excited me anymore. I discovered bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky and the likes. I immersed myself completely in post rock. A friend of mine who liked post rock too said I should get into doom, because they kinda deal with the same atmosphere. I started to discover that end of the spectrum, and it felt like coming home. Bands like Isis, Cult of Luna and Pelican blended the post rock aesthetic seamlessly with doom metal, and I was excited all over. All of a sudden I got to know bands like Agalloch and rediscovered Enslaved, and saw that they too blended progressive and post rock elements with black metal. And all of the sudden, the circle was complete. Today I focus on a rather vast arrange of genres, but from my perspective it does make sense: post rock, post metal, doom, drone, ambient, black metal and progressive rock and metal. I occasionally take a jazzy side-step, but I still feel very much at home in my obsession for over 10 years now.

How do you discover new music?
I keep close watch to all kinds of blogs, Facebook accounts, and mailing lists like the Record Heaven Newsletter. Those channels usually keep me up to date with regards to the new and exciting albums and bands.
I also have a subscription to an experimental music zine (for those interested, it’s called Gonzo (Circus)), so if something might slip under my radar, I’m usually set straight by that zine.

ImagePlease let us know more about the Belgian situation. Many people who collect ? Many record stores left ?
Just like anywhere else in the world, Belgium too got hit hard by the crisis in the music business. A lot of record stores closed over the years, and it was really hard to get a hand of those underground releases. For years I mainly bought music online. There are a lot of collectors though. I have a lot of friends that share the passion for music collecting, so there was still a strong pulse. And as we grew older, we saw a lot of youngsters really getting into music. So there’s always been a real strong undercurrent for music in general and for collecting music specifically. And now the worst of the crisis seems to have been left behind us. The playing field kinda leveled out. Yes, downloading will be here to stay, but it also enabled the formation of music lovers who go to indie shops and buy the music almost as a kind of statement. In the last couple of years, a lot of young collectors joined our ranks. And it shows! Instead of closing down, in my city new record stores are opening up! So I’m very optimistic about the future.

You also run a label, Consouling Sounds, please let us know more about it !
Yes indeed, thanks. Well, that same friend who convinced me to listen to doom music also got me to join a black/doom metal band. Some 6 years ago, the group disbanded, and I had it with playing in live bands. All the trouble… It just wasn’t worth it. But I did want to keep on playing my part in the music scene. Almost by accident I spoke to Miguel who had a small label, but wanted to stop because he had had it with that dabbling in the margins. He wanted to stop and restart, and approach it seriously and with ambition. That sounded like music to my ears, and we teamed up to start consouling sounds. We both share a love for “post music” and all sorts of doom, so our focus was quickly found. We had the chance to release an album by Nadja early on, and that gave us a head-start. We managed to grow, and build a – if I say so myself – qualitative and respectable back catalogue. Some truly great bands, like Sweden’s Snailking for example, but also Amenra, The Black Heart Rebellion, or Gnaw Their Tongues and Alkerdeel have done some magnificent things on our label – and that’s just to name a few. I’m very grateful and feel truly blessed we’ve been able to work with these artists. And we keep our ambition going!

ImageWhere do you prefer to buy your records?
I prefer to by my records in brick and mortar shops. I like the crate digging, the personal contact with the salesman, and I just need to actually see and feel the records. Nothing more satisfying than coming home with some great finds. I visit my local record store nearly every week. I don’t even have to buy something. Just stop by and say hi. Have a little chat about what’s new and exciting… (Although I admit I usually do come home with a few records).
But I also buy online if a band I closely follow releases an album. I usually buy directly from the label or from the artists. Having a label myself, I feel compelled to support my colleagues. Also, buying directly from them mostly means you’ll be able to score some limited editions. I’m not completely hung up on colored vinyl and all, but there’s that collector in me that feels strangely attracted to anything “limited” 🙂
Only for out of print stuff, I resort to Discogs or eBay. And I rarely buy records for my own on Amazon or the likes.

Name three records that are special to you, and tell us the story of how you got hold of them.
Well, the first one would be that Guns ‘n’ Roses box set I mentioned earlier. I was only 8, but I have vivid memories of it. I can’t begin to describe the impact getting that box set had on me. I really think that’s where I turned into the collector I am now. Some 25 years older, but in the mean time having a collection of 5000 albums and counting…

The second album would be the Isis Shades of the Swarm box set. Yes, another box set, I can’t help it. This box set was due to be released back when I was really short on cash. Me being a major Isis fan was absolutely gutted. Unfortunately, the box set was too expensive for me to ever buy it. My mom overheard me, and she convinced my whole family to pitch in. On the date of the release, the Shades of the Swarm box set got delivered to me. I just couldn’t believe it. The feeling of pure happiness and bliss in that moment has only been surpassed by the birth of my children. So yes, that was a pretty special occasion. I will never ever forget what my mom (and the rest of my family) did for me.

The third one would be Mass II by Amenra. I had been a huge fan of Amenra for years. I was dreaming to collaborate with Amenra on some kind of project with our label. A few years ago, that all came true. We got to reissue Mass II for the first time on vinyl. So I was able to release a band I adored, and got to work with people I tremendously respect. Something I’m incredibly proud of!

ImageAnd finally: what do you see in the future of record collecting?
I’m actually pretty confident about the future. Of course, the vinyl renaissance will surely temper again. The hype is a bit too much right now. I think the current popularity of vinyl to be a bit suspicious. 🙂

But I do believe it has sparked the collecting bug in a lot of youngsters. People are starting to physically buy music again. And I do think that’s a trend that will perpetuate. After our darkest days, I’m pretty confident we’ve had the worst, and we will reach an equilibrium. This will probably weed out the common denominator, but it will give some more breathing room to specialized shops. To be more precise, I’m not sure Madonna will necessarily flourish on a physical medium. Why would you buy it? The radio plays it all the time! But more niche stuff – usually released with a lot of care – will remain sought after. Of this I’m really sure!

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Week 51, 2013: Jarne, Germany

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What made you start collecting records?
I was born in the GDR and back in 1987, when the border between east and west Germany was still tight, I got in touch with a guy which was living next door. Surprisingly he owned tons of hardrock and metal records, due to the fact that his family from the western part provided him with parcels every month. The cover artworks, the music and the smell of records(vinyls) got me into the whole circus of record collecting. I was about 10 years old and since that certain day I spend most of my money for records and music which I really like.

Do you remember your first purchase?
Absolutely. Back in January 1990 I traveled with my parents for the first time to the western part of Germany. We went to Hannover and I bounced into the first record store which I came across and bought SCORPIONS “Savage Amusement”, JUDAS PRIEST “Point Of Entry” and OZZY OSBOURNE “No Rest for The Wicked”. I was proud like hell.

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How long have you been collecting?
As I said: I´m collecting records since I´m 10 years old. I´m collecting vinyls, CD´s and demo tapes.

What sort of music do you mainly focus on?
Well, in the early days I was focusing on Metal of all kinds. Over the years I became more and more
receptive for other genres. Today I´m listen everything from Blues, Singer/-Songwriter, Punk, Ambient-Electro, Gothrock, Progressive-Rock, classic Hardrock, Heavy Metal to Death Metal, Black Metal and Hardcore.
ImageHow do you discover new music?
The internet is my main source but I also read a lot of printed magazines like German Rock Hard, Eclipsed Magazine, German Rocks and British Iron Fist Magazine. I do not like online magazines though.

As I know you were resident in Sweden for a while, working for a well known label, what did you think of Sweden?
Sweden for me is a inexplicable treasure box and I´m addicted to this country when it comes to music. People seem to be born with the right taste and feeling for music. The amount of great bands from pretty much all genres is so everwhelming that it makes it hard to find any other country with such an musical output. Most of my favourite bands are actually from Sweden. On the other side I can say that two of my best friends are Swedish… It´s an easy decision to give this country two thumbs up!

Please let us know more about the East German situation. Many people who collect ? Many record stores left?
In the early 90´s there have been alot of new records stores here but since approximate ten years they all have disappeared. I used to be in touch with alot of collectors in my area but most of them stopped buying music on a regular basis. Sad but true.

ImageYou also run a label, War Anthem Records, please let us know more about it!
War-Anthem Records is a small underground label focusing on death and black metal. Even I was the founder of this label back in 2007, I was not involved that much in it´s development. Anyway, since 2011 I´m back in the game. War-Anthem Records is about quality and not quantity. We love good looking vinyl and quality CD-releases. We recently signed bands like Spanish Graveyard and Swedish Bombs Of Hades…we are trying to keep the shit as old-school as possible.

I also know that you’re one of the main forces behind Party San Festival, could you tell us more about it?
PARTY.SAN OPEN AIR is my baby since 1999. The festival is existing since 1996 and started as a punk/crossover festival. When I got involved we changed the whole image and the festival became a path breaking death/black metal festival here in Germany. We wandered through hard times but over the years we acquired us a name which stands for high standards, loyalty and credibility. Mieze (production), our crew and me (booking) doing our very best to remain as an independent festival which stands for great music and visitor friendliness.

Where do you prefer to buy your records?
I buy my records mostly online and on festivals. I love to ransack seller stalls on festivals and look for nice collectors items and regular editions.

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Name three records that are special to you, and tell us the story of how you got hold of them.
BATHORY – Under The Sign Of The Black Mark.
This album means everything to me. I´m sure that the music of Quorthon will escort my entire life. When I was about 14 years old I bought it on vinyl in a record store here in my hometown Weimar. I went home and listened to it literally for a whole week constantly.  

BLACK SABBATH – Sabotage.
I have a huge weakness for 70s hard rock and there is no other album with a comparable impact then “Sabotage”. I bought this album in a record store in Jena in the early 90s. I never had such fun with an record which was close to 20 years old when I bought it.

METALLICA – Ride The Lightning.
Metallica made a huge impact on me when I heard this album for the very first time. I bought the original tape version back in 1990 and I was listening to it constantly. I really liked the outfit of the band and tried to dress myself like James Hetfield with skinny jeans, Nike sneakers and a band shirt. Despite the fact that the bands sucks these days, this is a fucking classic and I love every note of it.

And finally: what do you see in the future of record collecting?
I will always collect records! There is no better things in life then a good woman and quality music!

Week 50, 2013: Tobbe, Sweden

ImageWhat made you start collecting records?
Love of music, I suppose! I collected stamps, coins, hockey idol photos and similar when I was a little kid but by then
it was all about quantity, so those collections usually faded as fast as they grew. When I started to buy CD’s, I caught myself wanting to own it as much as listen to it. The four or five CD’s I had on the shelf in my room was a great pride and I could stand and look at them, feeling pretty proud as I (probably) had the best CD collection among my class mates.

Do you remember your first purchase?
My very first purchase (I think) must have been the Jenó Jandó CD recordings of Ludwig Van Beethoven’s piano sonatas.
I believe I bought this when I was about 9 years old, and it’s probably the one record from my childhood that I still carry around. Even though only 15 % of the album is playable due to scratches.. Still good album!

ImageHow long have you been collecting?
I bought a lot of CD’s in my early teens, or maybe even earlier…
I have bought records on a continuous basis since mid/late 2011, the most I own today is probably from then to now.

What sort of music do you mainly focus on?
That’s a pretty hard question – it depends on what state I am in. When I was a kid (or younger, at least) it would start out with classical music, then my father would show me his – heavily damaged -70’s colletion which mostly consisted of Black Sabbath, B.T.O and E.L.O. From there I went to some heavy metal, then some grunge, then skate punk, then indie pop & singer/songwriter music…
Right now I am focusing on punk & hardcore, mostly early 80’s stuff but also early & mid 90’s. Besides that I’m also into prog, psych, stoner, jazz, some space rock and folk music.

Image How do you discover new music?
Well, a few years ago a new world of music opened due to some new friendships, which allowed me to hear tunes I never even knew existed. And it was some sweet tunes as well! So back then my newest findings was mostly recommendations – and it still is, partially.
I’m also a pretty big fan of Discogs! I like to see an item I want from a seller, and go into the store and check out his whole stock. I would (and will) then spend hours making the order… I would check out the sleeves, look for music from interesting times, cool band names, interesting stories about the band etc. I made some really great findings that way, so it’s a nice way for me to find some music.
It might be pretty different for me as, I grew up in www times, but it’s still nice to do some detective work when discovering music; the Internet is a jungle…

Do you play any instruments yourself?
I play the piano and have done so since I was about six or seven years old, mostly classical and jazz. I did a DIY record and had some gigs when I was into being a singer/songwriter, but I have probably crossed too many genres over the years to acknowledge that record… I also like to think that I’m a decent guitarist, but I doubt it, as I am as impatient as a five year old kid when it comes to learning.. At least these days!

Where do you prefer to buy your records?
Preferably from web shops in Sweden, but also a lot from Discogs. When possible, directly from the bands. I bought a lot of jazz from Tradera (Swedish division of eBay) for a while but I got tired of being on my watch the last hour of an auction.
Whenever you go to bigger towns, it’s always nice to hit the pub and then head for the still existing record shops..

Name three records that are special to you, and tell us the story of how you got hold of them.
Well, November this year I was at Utrecht, Netherlands for the record fair.
The first stall I want to was heavily oriented in Italian music, so I went for the prog section and found Museo Rosenbach’s “Zarathustra” almost immediately. I was happier than a kid on Christmas Eve! As I got home I discovered it was not the 2009 Sony re-issue that I first thought it was. It claimed to be a Japanese re-issue from the Seven Seas label. There was only one known pressing on Zarathustra from Seven Seas (1981) and that should have been a gatefold… I still don’t know the origin of my pressing – the search continues!

Another nice one is half a year ago, when my cousin gave me a tip about his friend selling his record collection. So me and a friend went there and I found some DK and Butthole Surfers. Then my friend picked up Septic Death’s “Now That I Have The Attention…” and told me; “Hey, you went past this one!” I told my friend that the music “seems chaotic” and he said: “This is beyond chaos.” So I brought it home and listened to it, and I thought “This is Dante’s Inferno on wax. And it sounds like shit!” After a while a listened to it more frequently and nowadays, a week barely goes by without me listening to it. In the car of course, which probably makes me a irrational driver.

The last one is Carol Of Harvest‘s self-titled album from 1978. This is the first record I bought just because of the sleeve (and of course the fact that Guerssen has got a sweet catalogue!) So I listened to it a friday night on my own and was blown away by the dreamy melodies. I was also heavily impressed by singer Beate Krause, as she was only 16 years old when recording that album. The depth of her voice could have been sung by a 40 year old woman with the experience and insight of someone in their seventies..So that album kept me and the old gin bottle company for lots of fridays – something I still look forward to!

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How many records do you own?
Right now I own about a thousand records, mostly LP’s but CD’s and 45’s included.
I believe around 700 of these are from the latest two and a half years, and the rest are from my spectacular adolescent years..

And finally: what do you see in the future of record collecting?
Well, the latest years there have been a lot of really nice re-issues, especially of the early 70’s progressive and psychedelic scene. There should be a clear demand for those, as they are sold out before you can get hold of them…! So I doubt the general fighting spirit of record collectors will disappear. And as long as there is a demand, someone will always be the supplier.. At least I hope so!

Week 49, 2013: John, Sweden

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What made you start collecting records?
Well… Before that, I used to collect beer cans with different motives, and other things you collect as a child. I think it was mainly because my father had many records that I got into music so heavily at a very early age. The sleeves was fantastic, and the music was good. Nazareth, Steppenwolf, Slade, Sweet, Uriah Heep. At the age of around 9, I collected bottles that you got money from, from the loca l  winos, stealing the bottles from their hands before they were finished, or closely. Spent the money on records, could be 1 a week or so. As time went by, the more money you got, and in school, I could maybe buy 2-3 albums a month. That is the very early start. The more money you got, the more you purchased.

Do you remember your first purchase?
Yes, I remember the sleeve, but not the band. It was some kind of soul band from USA I think. Would really like to know the name. But I do remember other early records I bought in the late 70’s, like THIN LIZZY, PINK FLOYD and JUDAS PRIEST. The sleeves was very important, as I never heard the bands, but the musicians looked cool & dangerous to a youngster like me.
Image How long have you been collecting ?
Well, depends on what you consider collecting. I started in 1978 to buy records. I did spend most my money on records from that day. My most insane periode was probably in the early to mid 90’s, when I bought around 3 records a day. These days, I still get records every week, but it is getting harder to locate what you need, and miss in the collection…

What sort of music do you mainly focus on?
These days it is pretty much classic rock music, and bands inspired from the classic rock movement. In my record collection there are pretty much 3 different styles, 1-Punk & hardcore from the golden age, 2-Classic heavy metal style, and some thrash / speed metal as well, and the 3rd category is progressive, psychedelic and melancholic folk music. From punk, I have most items I want, metal – yes, still buy what I am missing, and in the 3rd category, it is a lot of re-pressings. I rather buy a re-issue that sounds good, than spending a lot of money on bad condition albums, just because they are rare. I’m mostly in it for the music, and not for the value of the records. But some are not re-pressed, and then, head for an original…

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How do you discover new music?
I try and follow internet sites. There are a lot of them. One thing that I really like is to click on collectors record collections on sites like Discogs if they have a similar collection like mine. I give YouTube a good try, but never be able to find someone that delivers good music there, and no time to search for a new song every 4th minute. So internet is my main source, but no internet magazines or so, just plain collector sites.

Do you play any instruments yourself?
Well, had a time in my life where I thought I could play the 4 string bass, and did some recordings, some tours, some records, but in the end, time was running out, and had no time for it anymore. I can imagine myself in 5-7 years sitting playing bluesy stuff on the local pub against a handful of beers.

Where do you prefer to buy your records?
Internet. I live far from a record store. The internet, you can locate everything, or mostly. It is mostly about what you are willing to pay for a record. I like Discogs, but also check out record sellers private stock, as there are mostly much more listed there, compared to their Discogs stock. I very rarely goes into the auction, as I am pretty tired of those who puts their bids in 3 seconds before it ends. Used to be heavily into eBay, but that site I have abandoned since long now.

Name three records that are special to you, and tell us the story of how you got hold of them.
Well…this is the hardest, but it will probably be THIN LIZZY – “Black Rose”, just because it was the second album I ever bought, and listened to this 1000 times. It is one of the few ones I will be buried with. Secondly, maybe the live album of MOTORHEAD “No sleep till Hammersmith”, as I was totally blown away when listening to this the first time. I could not believe anything could be that hard & intense, and it lead me into a completely new world of aggression in music. Third one…..hmmm…..maybe the 2066 AND THEN – “Reflections of the future” as it got me into a whole new world of progressive & psychedelic in the early 90’s.

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And finally: what do you see in the future of record collecting ?
Well, it will continue, but most records will be thrown away as they are pretty unsellable. There will always be a demand I suppose, and some records will skyrocket. It is getting pretty tough when one of my favourite bands, SAINT VITUS, releases a tour only M-LP, and you gotta pay 100 USD for it, when it’s brand new. In some way, I wish there would be larger editions of the records that are pressed these days, but also, understand the problems in todays record industry. On the other hand, how many records in the 80’s were made in 500 editions ?? Bummer…So I get it now, and not in 1 year – saves you a lot of bucks !