Week 7, 2014: Spyros (Space Freak), Greece

ImageWhat made you start collecting records?
I started randomly purchasing records in 1977. On and off, 2 to 3 records per week, whatever caught my fancy. Somewhere in mid-1978, a friend of mine we went to french class together, was talking to me about all this weird british progressive scene we knew very little about at the times. He lent me two records his older brother had bought from a trip to London: VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR’s “The Least We Can Do” –you know, the pink Charisma pressing with the poster and QUINTESSENCE’s “Quintessence”, with the door gatefold cover. I was hooked! Mesmerised by the magic of it all. From that day, music had been non-stop. And I never looked back.

However, I’m not considering myself a typical record collector, in the way most people think; buying expensive originals and specialize on a musical genre. I prefer instead of spending 200 euros on one album, spend 200 euros on 15. The aim is to listen to as many music as possible. I like to emotionally invest on the content, which is the music of course. With the cover as a dear companion to the aural experience. Listening to an album was, is and will always be a ritual for me.

Do you remember your first purchase?
How couldn’t? It was 1977 and I’ve been saving my allowance for three months… It was a bunch of five, all greek pressings. STATUS QUO “Blue For You”, NAZARETH “Expect No Mercy”, ROLLING STONES “Love You Live”, SEX PISTOLS “Never Mind the Bollocks” and GENESIS “Wind and Wuthering “.
ImageYou seem to have a broad taste, and not one of these who only listens to old music. Would you agree with me that people who thinks all music after 1978 is bad are missing out a lot of quality music ?
Absolutely. I think that the amount of great music recorded nowadays is astonishing. Many records that are overlooked by most oldest collectors, had they been released in the 70s they would have been holy grails. ESPERS debut for example or JOSHUA’s “Gold Cosmos”. I remember myself following all these wonderful scenes first hand: NWoBHM, punk, hardcore, industrial, post-punk/new wave, avant electronics, festival psych, spacerock, thrash/death/black/doom metal, grindcore, post-rock, paisley underground, free folk, new weird America… I would have missed so much if stuck in the 60s-70s. It’s a crime to dismiss the artists of today as being the yesterday’s clones. Can one put a time stamp to creativity? It’s pure narrow-mindedness to me.

I 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 ?
Well, I think that rock based music, really progressed up to the early 90s. Then there was no substantial evolution in sound, it just begun to fuse. Which is equally interesting to the hungry listener, because for example you couldn’t listen to a heavy metal band with acid guitar leads or to a doom metal with sitars back in the 80s. For me, that have been heavily in krautrock in the 80s, listening to post rock, especially the european scene, was something revisited yet challenging, because it got all these new electronics, static noises, glitches, studio trickery etc. You can’t call it progress what happened after 1995, as it is not something that hasn’t been done before but it is definitely an enrichement. And my ears are all wide open for it.
ImageWhat sort of music do you mainly focus on?
To keep it short, better to tell you what I’m NOT focused on: alternative/indie rock and progressive metal. Nowadays I have a soft spot for doom metal with a psychedelic edge, spacerock, retro prog, psybient with ethnic elements and avant progressive/experimental.

I am especially very much into a few Greek groups like PLJ Band, Nostradamous, Socrates. The Greek band have special sound I think. How do you look at native Greek music ?
I’m not that big fan of 60s/70s greek rock, as I think it was rather derivative and poorly influenced. Due to the military junta mostly, that persecuted the local underground (we lost that 1967-1973 european peak). However, a few bands in the 70s had this special influence from greek dimotiko songs (our ethnic traditional music), which is very evident in some local progressive rock albums like APHRODITES CHILD “666”, SOCRATES “Phos”, PLJ BAND “Armageddon”, IRAKLIS or early Dionysis SAVOPOULOS. For the record, I’ll give you my top 5 of the local 70s stuff:

APHRODITES CHILD666
Dionysis SAVOPOULOSBallos
Dimitris POULIKAKOSMetaforai Ekdromai
PETE & ROYCESuffering of Tomorrow
AXISAxis” (the 2nd album from 1973)
ImageHow do you discover new music?
Reading, reading and more reading. Long gone are the days we used to gather together at friends for listening marathons. Nowadays it is mostly internet and newsletters by e-mail. Something like Record Heaven’s weekly list is always what I’m after, these days. A brief, accurate description plus a cover pic and a sound sample always does the trick to initiate a new purchase. And thanks God, we still have record stores in Athens!

I have heard this crazy rumor at a time, but never got it confirmed, so I ask you : I heard that when Manowar was releasing a new album, a Greek store had not enough copes for sale, so the buyers got angry and burned down the store. Sounds crazy, but “understandable”. Is this something you’re familiar with ??
Never heard it, so it’s unlikely to have happened. However, the first time the band came to play in Athens, they had Joey DeMaio sign some autographs at a metal record store. The cue was so big, you had some fans waiting since 3 in the morning to be the first ones in the row… MANOWAR were (and I believe still are) really huge here. And guess what? I’ve been the first that ever got a MANOWAR album in Greece; “Battle Hymns” which I got from a trip to France (with MERCYFUL FATE’s debut miniLP on Rave On). Nobody was listening to that stuff here, it was all about IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, SAXON, SCORPIONS and AC-DC. We used to hand out to a rock club named “Rainbow”, the DJ was my mentor in krautrock and french prog but he had an open ear for the new and unusual. Soon, “Dark Avenger” became the club’s anthem on its heavy metal day and the rest is history…
ImageIn Sweden, the legend Demis Roussos is still an musical icon due to his solo carreer after Aphrodites Child. What status do Demis have in Greece ?
Really huge in the 70s. Then everyone seems to have forgotten him. I think himself residing in France and not performing in Greece and the many lousy solo albums that he issued were the reasons it lost his popularity during the 80s. On the contrary, Vangelis is still very popular down here.

Please let us know more about the Greek situation. Many people who collect?
There were many collectors –especially in the 80s/90s, most of them in the psychedelic, garage, new wave & heavy metal styles. Very few in progressive and krautrock; and counted on the fingers of one hand, these whose collections span decades and different styles… A sad thing is that due to the economic crisis, more and more collections are liquidated in second hand stores. Sad, because collections always speak about their owner –they’re often a testimony of one’s life and character.ImageMany record stores left?
Yes, it seems to me that we still have more record stores in Greece than in other countries. Many closed down during the last 5 years but it was usually the supermarkets of music –the chain stores that suffered most from the crisis and the download trend. Independent stores proved stronger, they had a more loyal client base. However, in Athens more stores are currently focused on 2nd hand items than new music, which is somewhat a let-down for me.

Where do you prefer to buy your records?
Since the mid-90s, I’m mostly buying online nowadays. As my collection grows, I am undergoing focused purchases. There is always the occasional record fair trips. And the traditional weekly visit to my two favorite local stores, “Strange Attractor” and “Sound Effect”.

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.
My all times best album is INCREDIBLE STRING BAND’s “The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter”. I always adore sitting by the seaside or travelling by boat and lose myself at gazing the infinity of the ocean while listening to it. Then POPOL VUH’s “In den garten pharaos” and  VELVET UNDERGROUND’s “Featuring Lou Reed & Nico”. They don’t make them timeless like these anymore!

But my most treasured purchase is a rather common album: “Earthdance” by the british festival band MANDRAGORA. I was living in Belgium at the times and went to a festival in a village where they got all these psychedelic bands on the bill… MANDRAGORA, WOBBLE JAGGLE JIGGLE, GIANT EYES etc. It was organized by Andre, editor of the Crohinga Well fanzine. I had some money to get back home on the last train but spent it all to get the album, as it had been just released and sold at the concert by the band. Remember, it were the pre-internet days and having pain finding the previous MANDRAGORA albums in Greece, I thought that the vinyl should be rather rare. As a result, I ended spending the rest of the night in the open air, half asleep in a park bench, cuddling onto the album till the morning, where I hitch-hiked my way home… Those were the days!

ImageAnd finally: what do you see in the future of record collecting?
Looking back on our kin, it seems to me sometimes that we are the last dinosaurs. There will be fewer people buying more and more expensive die-hard or super deluxe editions but this game is out of my personal interest. However, I’m always saying: “we do not search records, they always come to you when you call them” and I am convinced that good records always will find the right people.

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Week 6, 2014: Jon, Norway

ImageWhat unites us is the fascination of music, and collecting. Please tell us your story!
Well, I guess my story is pretty ordinary, when I grow up I was heavily inspired by my older brother and was basically into what he was into, that way I got a free entrance into the heavy rock world of the ’70ies and I was introduced to bands like SCORPIONS, MOTT THE HOOPLE, THIN LIZZY, UFO, KISS and the usual suspects. As I grow older I started to pick up things on my own and developed my own musical taste and at a very early age I was totally mind blown by the music world.. I guess I always been into the escapism and always trying to create my own world starting with comic books and then of course the total obsession with music…..I started of buying tapes and didn’t get a record player until ’83 or so when I started to buy vinyl. I wouldn’t say those early years I was collecting but I guess I was in a way anyway. I just wanted records and bought them whenever I could and by the end of the ’80ies I started to realize I probably had more records than my friends. I still have a bit of a problem with the term collector and I been fighting with myself a lot concerning that term. I do love records because of the music they give me and that adds life quality to me. So generally it is all about enjoying the music. But of course, I do collect too and there is a lot of albums I owe several versions of – simply because they are so good that I have the urge to own multiple different versions of certain albums.

Do you remember your first purchase, and what was that?
In the beginning I bought tapes and I can’t really remember what was first, I had stuff like JUDAS PRIEST, BLACK SABBATH, THIN LIZZY and so on as well as I recorded a lot of stuff from my brothers collection. When I finally got my record player I got a bunch of records at the same time so what vinyl was first is hard to say. I do like to think it was Welcome to Hell and Black Metal by VENOM just to be on the cool side of things 🙂

ImageYou’ve done Slayer Magazine for years… Did you ever keep in touch with those old penpals from the mid 80’s, and what happened to the majority of the people?
Some I keep in touch with and some have mysteriously disappeared from the surface of earth….But, I was probably one of the guys that wrote too many letters during that era so I’m sure there is a lot I forgot about as well….But now, with the Internet so many faces from the old disappear and even if there is people I don’t talk to so much anymore it is nice to see that they are still around. It works the other way too, people I never talked to so much back then I talk more frequently now.

Being a vivid role of the Norwegian metal scene since 30 years, how have the scene progressed from the mid 80’s?
Back in the ’80es we only had a very few Metal bands here, not like Sweden who always had a very healthy music scene, I still discover ‘unknown’ (to me at least) Swedish Metal bands from the ’80ies. We had TNT of course, ARTCH and a few others and then MAYHEM killed everything when they released “Deathcrush” in ’87. Then after a few years everything exploded here with all the Black Metal stuff…..some of it was good….not everything……. Now it is like a million of bands (not only in Norway) and I’m sure there are some good ones here and there. I wouldn’t say the Norwegian is better or worse than anywhere else but when you think of how small this shitty country is the amount of bands are plentiful.

ImageAre you one of those who only buy “old” music, or still keeping up with today’s groups & artists?
Even if I do think like that at times it is a very stupid way of thinking. Granted that a lot of my fave stuff was released back in the day and that magic can never be re-created. But it is like those bastards that are even older than me that claims that nothing good has been released since the last BEATLES or something…..It is a stupid attitude even if I do think like that at times too. But I do luckily buy a lot of new stuff too, I’m sure I could dig deeper as far as new bands goes but….Now, this spring of 2014 I’m looking forward to the releases of TRIPTYKON, MAYHEM, THE OATH and several others, oh yeah, and there is a new SWANS album coming too and I like the new LP by KARI RUESLÅTTEN a lot. It is pretty easy to keep track of what is coming now in this Internet age. I also buy a lot of re-releases of my fave records, and I must mention the label HIGH ROLLER here. They do great re issues as well as new releases and always having fair prices. I think it is nice to support some active labels too instead of just buying 2nd hand rarities from private sellers. You need to support the labels too so our beloved vinyl can stay alive. Anyway, I think it is kinda important to have something to look forward to in the future instead of thinking all the great stuff has already been released. That is some sort of life motivation too, there should always be better thing in the future…..hopefully but probably not.

How do you discover new music?
Just browsing on the Internet have helped me discover a lot of new stuff but my fave bands have always been my fave bands and it have been easy to follow them even without the Internet. When there are artists you genuinely love you follow them and you know when they have some new stuff available. Not to kiss the RECORD HEAVEN ass completely but I always find it nice when you give some sort of short description to the new releases you n have in stock, that is always very helpful to me. I love a lot of the prog stuff of yesterdays with a heavier edge but my knowledge about all these bands is seriously lacking at times. And if there is something I might be interested in it is pretty easy to find a clip here or there, and if I find it interesting I try to get the vinyl.

Personally, I threw away loads of letters and demos 20 years ago from the fanzine era. Did you save all those memories?
Same here, a lot of it is gone but I kept some, mostly letters. I have them in some boxes here and there. A lot of the stuff I had got lost in some flood I had years ago so…..And, I sold traded a lot of the demos too but I kept a few. I just like hanging on to some of those things, it is not like I sit down and read the old letters. It is more thast I like the idea of having that as a representation of an era in my life. We really did have an unique time back then so I’m very happy I could be so active in this exciting life. Now a lot of those demos have been re-released so it is nice to get that too on a proper format to replace old rotten and lost tapes. One of my prized possessions in the demo world is the HELLHAMMER “Satanic Rites” demo which was send to my old ‘zine LIVE WIRE back in 1983 – by Tom Warrior himself.

ImageYou seem to have a broad taste in music, as long as it is obscure and unknown, how do you see your musical taste yourself?
I guess that is a way of putting it but I never really thought of it like that. But I do find more pleasure in finding the more obscure but compared to others I guess what I listen to is pretty mainstream…… But, it is easier to get sick of the classics and I just go for different stuff. Surely I have a lot of mainstream things in my collection from IRON MAIDEN to KATE BUSH but most likely most of it is the lesser known. I’m always curios about the lesser known bands and it is always nice to dig out records from the strangest of places…..I always been like that, back in the demo days I always preferred the demo bands to most records. It was just my kinda thinking, and I much rather listen to GOTHAM CITY or OVERDRIVE than SAXON for instance……..I have a lot of different angles of my records, I got all the extreme Metal classic stuff of the ’80ies, a lot of Swedish Metal of the same era……I like prog but I like it to have a heavier edge, the Norwegian HØST and the Swedish NOVEMBER is a great example of that. And I love things that are completely out there like COMUS for instance. I like some of the folk bands too like INCREDIBLE STRING BAND which I always thought had a very disturbing vibe to them which I loved. South American extreme Metal bands is also something I love very much. And more alternative bands like SWANS, DEAD CAN DANCE, COCTEAU TWINS, THIS MORTAL COIL, LAIBACH and many others. I’m always curios to find something unknown that will blow my brain.

Please let us know 3 records that will follow you into the grave.
Well, I chose 3 of 3 different styles to better give an description of who I am and what I’m all about. 1. I have to say the 1st BATHORY (We pick the yellow goat then) as that pretty much sums up my life in the Metal underground and represents all I am about, still one of my faves. 2. SWANS – “Filth”, this album made me discover there is a different kind of heaviness outside of Metal. This band led me to discover a lot of interesting acts. 2. HØST – “På Sterke Vinger”, this was a album I picked up randomly where I live in a then newly open 2bd hand store. This was in the early ’90ies and I paid around 5 bucks for it and even at that time that was a bargain and probably the best buy I done like that. A bit later I bought their 2nd LP “Hardt Mot Hardt” and the price was about 150 bucks – still worth it. With the first HØST LP I discovered the more prog/heavy side of music. So, those 3 albums are important to me simply because they are as good as they are.

ImageSo where is the place to buy records that nobody else know about then ?
I think it is called the Internet…..haha…..I really don’t know any secret places or anything. These days everyone seems to have a good knowledge about the records and their value so it is hard to make some scores….And I really don’t mind, if the price is OK for me I get what I want……I don’t invest in records for money value, more for listening pleasure.

Do you see a future in record collecting ? I personally think few ones join the club, and it is mostly the old freaks keeping the trade going…
I see a future in listening to my records. What will happen next is always hard to say but I know I will enjoy my records for a very long time. I gone through a few different phases with my collecting…… I buy a lot and I sell a lot so for the last years that balance have worked out fairly good. I like getting rid of things a few times a year, it is sort of like having a garden, you have to treat it well and from time to time you need to get rid of the weed. I think that is pretty healthy and that keeps your record collection more happy. All in all, music might be the greatest gift given to us but once in a while it is nice to do other things too. I sell records to finance travelling for instance (but when I travel I end up buying more records anyway so…..) Nice to add some life experience too. I think in every musical underground people will be interested in buying records, not only us old bastards. Now I see labels like NUCLEAR BLAST do tons and tons of stuff on colored vinyl, I think for the last CARCASS it is now between 30 and 40 versions to pick from. Maybe that is stupid for most people but it keeps vinyl out there and I would assume most people buying those are slightly younger people. I think that is the difference now, there are always several versions to pick from (At least in the metal world) and people are more eager to get the most limited releases. Back in the day I was not worried about things like that but just being happy having one version…….I do think people now are buying more color versions of the same album. All in all, people will get into it and people will fall out….I think the demand for vinyl will be there in one way or another. They tried to kill vinyl once with the CD but that didn’t work so……….I think it will always be there. And if for some reason the vinyl will stopped being made there is always the used stuff. It will never end…….

Image

Week 5, 2014: Robban, Sweden

ImageWhat made you start collecting records?
It was the skateboard wave that came in the 90s. I was an ardent skateboarder and with that music and beer came along hand in hand. And in this case it was the skate punk and hardcore music (before the hiphop culture came in and almost poisoned the whole skate culture). After a few years of intensive listening to punk music I was swept up by the whole punk marsh, and my aunts husband Johnny supplied me with lots of records. And it was there that my collecting of records started and it still goes on.

Do you remember your first purchases?
Satanic Surfers – Skate To Hell, Accion Mutante – Fear,
Abstain/Nasum – Religion Is War/The Black Illusions 7” split,
Puke – Ställd Mot En Vägg 2x 7” and a few mixed tapes from Johnny.
A weird mixture but I guess it was thanks to that it gave me a wider perspective at the punk scene.

ImageHow long have you been collecting?
I started sometime between  97’ – 98’

What sort of music do you mainly focus on?
Swedish 77’- 82’ punk, Crust, Käng, Anarcho punk and some HC and Oi/Street punk in small doses.

How do you discover new music?
From the web, gig/festivals, friends and other collectors.

Do you play any instruments yourself?
No.

ImageWhere do you prefer to buy your records?
Anywhere I can find them, everywhere from record exhibitions to small obscure record shops.

Name three records that are special to you, and tell us the story of how you got hold of them.
Accion Mutante – Fear 7”
It was a gift from Johnny and I fucking loved it! Also I became friend with the singer Rossi AM, he helped me to complete the AM collection and it’s one of my first precious.

Paragraf 119 – Musik Til Ulempe 7”
I think that I got this one in Denmark when Ungdomens Hus still existed and Paragraf 119 played that night in 2001 (I think). Immediately I became addicted to the raw sound, their energy and uncompromising music. Totally one of the most important and best records I have.

Liket Lever – Levande Begravd / Hjärtats Slag 7″
I got an opportunity to get my hands on this incredible record of its time, quite hard to get so I’m very pleased with it.
It’s hard to just drop 3 records but these are the ones that crossed my mind.

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How big is your record collection ??
Time of writing its up in 666 records (CD/Vinyl) and it still grows…

And finally: what do you see in the future of record collecting?
It more or less looks like shit! There are lots of people sitting on good records and take a shit load of overcharge form them! And then we have shitify (spotify) as “the young” are up to. There are not so many who care about collecting / buying music for real, which is a damn shame. Hope it turns around. Stay punk as fuck and fuck the system! Cheers /Robban

Week 4, 2014: Geert, Belgium

ImageWhat made you start collecting records?

When I was a child, my parents had a Blaupunkt record player and some records. Most of them were easy listening, but there were also a couple of classic jazz records and a single by Louis Prima (‘Buona Sera’) that was really rockin’! In 1965 when I was twelve I wanted my own records and my first one was a 7” EP by Belgian/Italian singer Adamo. He was my first idol. A boy in my neighborhood had an older brother and there I heard The Beatles (‘Can’t Buy Me Love’) and The Rolling Stones (‘Tell Me’). That sound got me and my first single was ‘Tell Me’ c/w ‘Route 66’. I knew people in the family that had a lot of records (mostly singles) and that fascinated me. I had another friend who had a much older brother with a big jazz collection. I remember seeing him sitting in his tiny room with a record player on his right side and there was always jazz … When The Beatles became more experimental with ‘Revolver’ and got a more arty image, I was allowed to buy my first LP, it was ‘Revolver’ … I didn’t look back since. I started collecting all the Beatles songs (unfortunately I sold some now valuable singles and EP’s, because I had the songs on LP). I became mainly a LP collector and singles were only interesting when the songs were not on a LP. My next discovery was The Cream with Clapton, Bruce and Baker. I had all their LP’s, which was rare in those days (in Belgium that was…). My next discovery was the very first Pink Floyd album ‘The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’. After that came Colosseum, the first Black Sabbath, the first Yes etc … Later I became a big fan of progressive rock, krautrock, experimental rock, Kiss, Uriah Heep, Jimi Hendrix and Nazareth. In between I also bought jazz albums now and then. When the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal came along, that was my thing. I also got interested in US Metal and glam. I got the very first Mötley Crüe album on Leathür records when it was released from a contact in Oregon, USA. In 1983 I started doing a hardrock show on local radio and that’s when I got my first promo records. In 1986 I started writing for a metal magazine here in Belgium called Mindview. That were golden years for promo CD’s. When Mindview stopped, I started writing for Rock Tribune, a glossy magazine that is sold on the newsstands. But the well for promo CD’s is dry now, almost everything comes digitally these days. Today I have a 20.000 plus collection with 50% titles on vinyl and the other half on CD. I also have a lot of music video’s (VHS, DVD and Blu-ray).

Do you remember your first purchase?

As I told already, my first EP in 1965 was by Adamo, my first single by The Stones and my first LP was ‘Revolver’ by The Beatles in 1966. My first music video was by Nazareth (‘Live’) in 1982. My first CD was ‘Live At Winterland’ by Jimi Hendrix (1987).

I 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 ?

Well of course there’s a big evolution with a couple of important bench marks. In the fifties there was Elvis, In the sixties there were The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Kinks. From there came bluesrock, heavy rock, progressive rock, experimental rock, folk rock … Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Yes, Bob Dylan… Everything changed when punk and new wave came along at the end of the seventies. At the start of the eighties ‘classic rock’ fought back with the new sound of NWOBHM and at the other side of the Atlantic US Metal. Along came popmetal and glam … Again at the end of that decade we got grunge and alternative rock. The big names are still big names and metal has become a very dark and sometimes extreme place. To be honest, I am starting to lose my affinity with it and I go back to all the great music that was made in the last sixty years and listen more and more to jazz and fusion as well. The biggest evolution at the moment is in the way people consume music, with things like Youtube, MP3, downloads etc … All kinds of music is being made and there something for everyone. The history of the music is also not forgotten and that is a good thing. I see my daughter – with a love for dance music – going on Youtube researching the music of the fifties and sixties!

ImageWhat sort of music do you mainly focus on?

Today, it’s mostly classic rock, jazz, fusion and progressive/experimental rock. I love an earsplitting metal record now and then though! For the magazine I do a lot of female fronted metal band. Recently I interviewed Within Temptation and a very exciting Spanish band called Diabulus In Musica is on my list.

One of my favourite labels, Mausoleum Records, are hailing from Belgium. They got a undeserved bad reputation I think. What are your own experiences of them ?

Well, they managed to release a lot of albums during the rise of metal in the eighties and I think that their ambition was honest, but running a label is a very expensive thing and maybe, they could not meet all financial obligations, I don’t know. Today their catalogue is impressive and collectable. What I know, is that Doro is still very grateful that her band Warlock got it’s break through Mausoleum. Today they still release CD’s and the guy behind the label is still active in the music business.

How do you discover new music?

By reading magazines, by getting promo downloads. We even have a couple of record shops here with listening facilities. Today my priority is not so much in discovering new music, but in consolidating my collection and enjoying it. I am retired now and finally have the time to enjoy it!

ImagePlease let us know more about the Belgian situation. Many people who collect? Many record stores left?

Yes here are a lot of collector’s, but everybody does it quite isolated I think. I regret that there isn’t more contact between collectors. A blog like yours is a very good thing! Record fairs are attracting a lot of costumers and in the bigger cities like Antwerp, Ghent or Brussels, there are still a lot of stores. Also in Liège, Bruges, Kortrijk, Leuven and Mechelen, there are interesting collector’s stores. We even have some specialist metal stores. The big chains have all folded though. The only one lasting now is Media Markt. Their Belgian shops still have a lot on offer.

You are we well reputed reviewer on metal-nose.org, please let us know more about it!

Well, in the past I wrote all my reviews for Mindview and now for Rock Tribune. The Metal-nose site gets the things that are not used by Rock Tribune. These days I do five or six reviews and a couple of interviews per month. In the days of Mindview, I sometimes did more than 20 reviews in one month!. These days I get some melodic rock acts for interviews and like I told already some female fronted bands.

Acid, Ostrogoth, Warhead, Crossfire – the 80’s were great ! How about these days ??

Don’t forget Killer who are the godfathers of Belgian metal! Today there are a lot of metal bands around. The best known are Channel Zero and Iron Mask. They are very professional, but there are a lot of other bands in different metal styles. I just did an interview with Valkyre, a female fronted band that released a very good album. The Belgian music scene is more developed in other styles. Bands like Deus or Hooverphonic for example have international success but have a different audience. Also the dance scene is very developed here. One band that really makes it internationally is Triggerfinger with a crossover between classic rock and alternative rock.

ImageOver the years, I think I reviewed around 5000 records, and I have no ideas left, how about yourself?

Yes, I understand. I’m glad I write less reviews these days, and when I have to review, I want to listen properly to the record. Once I start writing, it goes quiet easy, although not every time. But there’s so much music coming out, in spite of the fact that everybody is complaining in the music business.

Where do you prefer to buy your records?

These days I buy most of them online (Discogs), but also at fairs and second hand shops mostly in Ghent, Antwerp or Brussels.

How were your feelings when Plastic Bertrand ‘s (scam) project switched from a punk rocker to disco freak ?? “Ca plane pour moi” still stands as a classic…

Yes, well today we all know that he didn’t even sing on that single. He was just used as a face to sell the record. So maybe he wasn’t a punk rocker by heart or he was guided by record companies towards a more commercial sound. He could sing though! He even sang in the Eurovision Song Contest for Luxemburg!

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

Just three ??? Well, the records that really defined my musical evolution were Revolver’ by the Beatles, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’ by Pink Floyd and ‘The Valentine Suite’ by Colosseum. I bought all three at a local shop in my hometown. The shop has long gone (today there no record shops anymore in my hometown). In those days you could really spend time in a record shop and listen to different records before you bought anything. We also had a weekly here called Humo and they had a section on rock music (they still do) and that was very educating (in the sixties and early seventies)! Two other records that defined my musical education were ‘Disraeli Gears’ by The Cream and ‘Days Of Future Past’ by The Moody Blues (which I bought in a shop in Luzern, Switzerland, while on holiday with my parents). A fifth one was ‘Firefly’ by Uriah Heep which I bought in a fantastic shop called ‘Brabo’ in Antwerp (now also gone).  The very first shop that sold rock only was in Bruges and was called Bilbo. There I discovered ‘Acquiring The Taste’ by Gentle Giant, another album that was crucial for my musical development. In the jazz and fusion section, Colosseum’s ‘Valentyne Suite’ and John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ were important triggers. Of course there are other albums, but these were really important.

And finally: what do you see in the future of record collecting?

One thing that goes through my head is what will happen to all these big collections that were build by the people of my generation? I hope to find an answer for my collection. My children or grandchildren could keep it, but if they don’t, they should know how to handle this. I think there will always be collectors around and the collections of today should be passed on one way or another to the next generations. I think that records and more specific vinyl is considered as a cultural heritage now and people should take care of it. At fairs I see a lot of younger people and also more girls and women. We should find a way to interest younger people for carriers of modern culture, be it records, films or books … I hope we do!  It’s nice to see the renewed interest for vinyl, but I think CD’s will also come back some day as collectible objects. The constant flow of ‘limited editions’ is something that will have to prove it’s collecting relevance in the future. I remember seeing original spiral Vertigo albums in the early seventies sell in the bargain bins for less than 5 euro’s! Now they are very valuable collector’s items. Same goes for the very collectable Neon label! So who knows what will happen with today’s releases. Then there’s always the fundamental economic rule: supply and demand! But in the end, it’s the music that counts. Lots of fantastic records from the past still sell for very few euro’s because they are so many around, but the music stands! Collecting is always finding the balance between the music and the rarity. The music should come first …

Week 3, 2014: Åke, Sweden

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What made you start collecting records? And do you remember your first purchase ?

I’ve always been a music freak. When i was a kid i started drumming on chairs with my home made drumsticks. And i can’t say why, no one else in my family was, or is, into music like i am.
My first albums was “The Spotnicks in Stockholm” and “Cliff” the first album from Mr. Richard. “Surfin’ USA” was the first single.
So that’s my roots.

In the late 70’s when i toured a lot in Denmark, me and singer Roger Holegård of Wasa Express discovered that Denmark was a record collectors heaven. They were a couple of years behind Sweden considering rarities and such. And did we grab the chance to hoard ?! Oh yes, In every little town the first question was “Is there anyone selling Second hand records in this town ?” And there usually was. In Copenhagen we even made one shop open up just for us on a Sunday. We must have bought hundreds of records in that shop. Stuff like the uncensored “Kick out the jams” by MC 5.

One day Roger had to go to the local hospital in Copenhagen and I didn’t tag along. When he came back, of course he had passed a second hand store, and pulled out his treasures, “Pretty Things”, “Downliners Sect” and so on. I was a bit miffed at that one..

What sort of music do you mainly focus on?
60’s Garage, pop and psychedelia will always come first. The Seeds, The Electric Prunes, The Trashmen, The Rivieras, Dave Clark Five, i like that stuff ! But a Blue Note or CTI album are also nice. And when that first ELP album came it was a revelation. And “Fragile” by Yes. Very nice.

How do you discover new music?
I read lots of music papers, Mojo, Uncut, Record Collector, Shindig, Classic Rock. And sometimes you hear something like you’ve never heard before. It’s not often these days but i’d say Behemoth has a style of it’s own. I’m also a big fan of Infernos drumming.
Discoveries in the past when you got that YES that’s something new i’ve never heard before would be : Ramones, Pantera, Mahavishnu Orchestra,Beatles, Grandmaster Flash, Black Sabbath,

You’re also a highly acclaimed drummer in Sweden, member of fusion combo WASA EXPRESS. Please tell us the story !
Yeah, drumming my life away ! that’s me. I’m very lucky to be able not only to survive for 40 years as a musician, but also to be able to play what i like to play. A big advantage there is that i like MUSIC, And if it’s Pop, Rockabilly, Fusion, Jazz, rock, prog or whatever.
Doesn’t matter as long as it’s well done. And you can also see that in my record collection that has everything from schlager to freeform jazz in it.

To some, Eddie Meduza to Bernt Rosengren might seem like a big step, I know. And I’ve played with both and enjoyed it.

You also performed with a wide range of other Swedish musicians during the years. How do you think the scene have changed from the 70’s to today ?
There was a LOT more opportunities to play during the 70’s. There was “Musikforum”, Clubs, Folkets Park and a band like Wasa Express could actually tour for weeks , gigging every day. Or is that just a wishful memory ? Sitting on a pink cloud. I don’t know for sure. When I think back there wasn’t that many places to play in Stockholm even then.
Being a musician is always a struggle and it has more to do if you’re lucky at the moment being on a successful tour or in a band that’s hot at the moment.

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Any special crazy memories from the performance days ?
Well, playing in a band with Eddie Meduza or Thorsten Flinck will always give stories. Some not fit to print, but on the clean side: Playing Roskilde Festival, Sweden Rock Festival, gigging in Beijing, visiting Electric Ladyland studios , All the tours we did in Denmark and Germany with Wasa Express, Being number one in the charts with “Ooa Hela Natten”, Doing a drumsolo at Ullevi in front of 30.000 people.

Those are nice memories, but not that crazy. I’ve never been into crazy stuff. For me it’s the music that matters. I don’t even drink alcohol. never done drugs and stick to one woman at a time. Sorry.

How is the market for records in Stockholm  these days ? Many record stores left ?
I guess you know the answer to that one. So we’d better support “Pet Sounds” “Runtrunt” and the rest that’s left. There’s quite a few second hand stores though. Some almost as old as the street they’re at. Let’s hope they survive even longer.

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Where do you prefer to buy your records?
Since I have ALMOST all the records I need. And more. (would be nice with that Rivieras album “Campus Party” or an original “The Deep” though..) Alright, I confess ! I can’t stop , even though i always say ” Oh , i was a fanatical record collector once, but I’m not THAT fanatical anymore” . The bug just won’t go away 🙂

Sometimes i roam the streets of Stockholm on my way to “Skivbörsen” , but you can’t find those elusive rarities in a shop anymore.
It has to be Ebay (my last purchase there was an Antoine album I’d been looking for a long time)

Name three records that are special to you, and tell us the story of how you got hold of them.
That would be albums from the 60’s ,that also means i bought them when they were released.
“Pet Sounds” is the greatest pop album that has ever been recorded. Bought it on vacation with my grandma in Gotland in 1966.Now it’s been said, let’s argue !
I also have a soft spot for “Spirit of 67” from Paul Revere & The Raiders and “Psychedelic Psoul” from The Freak Scene.

As a kid i was living way out in the sticks and my records came by post from “Svenska Skivklubben” When i got a note that they had arrived at the post office it was grab my bike and off i’d go to pick ’em up. I guess it took me about an hour of bicycling to get there and back every time. But to unpack that package was bliss ! See, i had the collector bug already.

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And finally: What do you see in the future of record collecting?
It will probably be as it’s always been. The records nobody wants today is the collectors gold tomorrow.

 

Week 2, 2014: Jan, Sweden

ImageWhat made you start collecting records?
What made me a record collector? Well, I´ve been interested in hard rock since I was 11 years old. Boys like to collect things. If I heard a really good record, I found out if the band had made more records. Then I bought those other records and that was when the collecting really begun. I must say that I mainly collect albums. I only collect singles by a few bands.

Do you remember your first purchase?
My first purchase was Sweet Fanny Adams by the Sweet, and later I bought all their singles.

What music do you mainly focus on?
I mainly focus on metal and hard rock. From classic hard rock like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple to the Thrash/Heavy/Death/Doom-bands of today. I can´t live with owning ten albums of a really good band if they´ve made twelve albums. I must have the other two. That can be really hard if the records (LP or CD) are out of print and the group in question isn´t a major worldwide band. 🙂 But that is also what´s so fun with being a record collector. Sometimes (very often actually) the chase is better than the catch! 😉
 
How do you discover new music?
I discover new music by reading music magazines, the internet and by visiting great web record stores like RECORD HEAVEN. Also through friends.
 
I remember writing with Boden band MANINNYA BLADE in the 80’s. Are those guys still around ??
Maninnya Blade? Those guys are really good friends of mine. I´m a bass player since the age of 15 and I have played in many bands. I was a roadie for Maninnya Blade in the 80´s and I played the bass for them on a reunion festival-tour in 2002. I also recorded three new songs with the guys in 2007. I actually had the privelige to write the music for one of those songs. Those three songs can be found on the internet under the title “Tools of Destruction”. It was Nick and Jerry on the guitars, Leif on lead vocals from the old line-up, and me on bass and a new drummer. I´ve also been a member of Slowgate together with Nick for nine years, and we recorded a couple of albums. Nowadays I play the bass in thrashers Predatory and we are working on our first album!

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You seem to like the 80’s metal scene. Do you see any difference in the old bands compared to the new coming ? Many bands are taking their influences from the 80’s, and in my opinion, many do it very good as well !
Many of the bands of today are so influenced by the bands of the 80´s like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Accept… The NWOBHM was so important. The thrash scene comes from Metallica and the whole Bay Area Scene. The new bands take a little piece of influence from every era in metal.
 
Where do you prefer to buy your records?
I mostly buy my records from internet record stores. I also buy a lot when I´m visiting hard rock festivals.

And finally: what do you see in the future of record collecting?
I think that in the future, there will be less people collecting records. The fifteen year-old kids of today generally doesn’t buy records at all. But I think there will be a lot of record collectors anyway, but not as many as it used to be.

Week 1, 2014: Klaus, Germany

ImageWhat made you start collecting records?
If I remember correctly, everything began with The Beatles. It was in my childhood, and this was the first band I was passionate about. Unfortunately I couldn’t buy any records, because my parents didn’t see any sense in buying a record player for me. But I did own a cassette recorder, so that I could capture the Beatles records of my friends on tape. And I started to buy Beatles tapes in record stores, because back in the 1970s, you could buy cassettes in every record store. That was pretty nice.

Another band that I consider immensely significant was KISS. I think it was probably in 1976,
when I discovered them. A friend of mine was already a fan, and so I had the chance to listen to
KISS records. Needless to say that I also bought books and commercial teen magazines such as ‘Bravo’ and ‘Popcorn’, because there were a lot of articles about above-mentioned bands.

But what really turned me into collecting records was when I joined the Hardcore Punk scene in ca. 1982. The input grade and intensity got so high, there wasn’t any holding back. And finally and finite I had a record player.

Do you remember your first purchase?
I don’t know exactly, but that must have been the second Beatles album, ‘With The Beatles’. It could also be possible that it was a compilation of Tony Sheridan & The Beatles, because at that time I was in love with songs like ‘Ain’t She Sweet’, ‘My Bonnie’, ‘Ya Ya’, and so on.

How long have you been collecting?
Since 1982/1983. Then it starts to become more serious, because I discovered the multifaceted world of Punk Rock.

ImageWhat sort of music do you mainly focus on?
I am currently in the process of repurchasing some Hardcore Punk classics from the 1980s. Unfortunately, I’ve sold a lot of that stuff in the 1990s, because I urgently needed money. Even now I still regret that I’ve done that. Anyway, that’s currently my main focus. Quite apart from Punk Rock, I love a wide range of musical styles ranging from vintage Heavy Rock, Delta Blues and Psychedelic to 1960’s soul, classic Doom Metal, Detroit Rock ‘n’ Roll, heavy 1970s Funk, Jazz and more. Well, there is always something to discover, so there aren’t a lot of tiresome moments in my world of music.

Germany had a very nice underground scene in the 70’s. Do you listen to much of the old krautrock music?
Sometimes more, sometimes less. I prefer the heavier guitar-based bands such as Tiger B. Smith, Night Sun, Silberbart, Lucifer’s Friend, Mammut, Twenty Sixty Six and Then, Dschinn, Prom, just to name a few. Apart of the hard rock bands, I like German Oak, early Can, Neu!, Cluster and early Tangerine Dream. Especially ‘Zeit’ is an album that never ceases to amaze me. But there are also a lot of bands that I dislike. Most prog bands can kiss my ass, and there’s no room left for endless self-indulgent hippie jams. Or folky stuff like Witthüser & Westrupp.

How do you discover new music?
Due to my work for Cosmic Lava and Vincebus Eruptum, I receive some new stuff. Then there are friends, who recommend me bands which I don’t know. And sometimes the internet can be helpful, but most important is the word-of-mouth propaganda. Commercial magazines have never really interested me.

Please let us know more about the German situation. Many people who collect? Many record stores left?
Yes, there are a lot of record collectors around. Ca. 15 years ago, I worked in a Second-Hand record store, where I met a lot of collectors. There are record fairs and a lot of good stores. However, the situation in my hometown Oberhausen is pretty awful – in absolute contrast to the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Especially in the 1980s it was a good ground for my obsession with music. There were two great record stores, where I’ve bought a lot of Punk and Metal LP’s. Then there was a well-assorted Second-Hand shop in another part of Oberhausen. That was my most valuable source for Mothers/Frank Zappa and Black Sabbath (only the original
line-up, of course).

You run a website, Cosmiclava.com, please let us know more about it!
I’ve started the webzine in 1999, because of my affection for traditional Doom Metal and 70’s Heavy Rock. Back then, I was greatly influenced by both GL-Productions and Roadburn, but especially Gabriel Liliehook’s site (GL-Productions) has been a huge inspiration to me. It reminded me to the old fanzines, which I’ve bought in the 1980’s  – only with the difference that it wasn’t printed. I really liked that D.I.Y.-idea, especially because everyone in the world with an internet access could read it. That was the main reason why I have chosen English instead of German. Over the years Cosmic Lava has opened itself up to a wider range of styles, because it can be very boring to write only about Doom and Heavy Rock. This is particularly true when the bands become more boring. I experienced my first success, when Brian ‘Butch’ Balich (Argus, ex-Penance) sent me a copy of Penance’s ‘Proving Ground’ album in late 1999. I was happy like a kid, because Penance was (and still is) one of my favourite Doom bands.

After several years I received technical support from a buddy named Matthias, who knows a lot more about programming than I do. From that moment he also did the design and everything else, while I was still responsible for the content. However, there were always friends who gave me a little support in terms of writing reviews and/or interviews. Otherwise, I would still lie under a huge pile of promo CD’s and records.

To me, it was always important to maintain independence, honesty as well as integrity. I never wanted to be part of a scene, although it is not possible to avoid that. It would be wrong to lose critical faculties, because then one should rather think about quitting. There are enough websites around, where everything is ‘awesome’, ‘crushing’ and ‘highly recommended’. How dull is that! I never wanted to take the piss out of the reader, but if you offer each mediocre band as a new highlight, then you start to mess around.

ImageDo you ever run out of ideas to use in your reviews after so many reviews done during the years?
You bet! After a while it’s not more than a monotonous, repetitive work. Of course, you could write endless reviews where you describe each song and each note, but that was not what I wanted. To me, a review has to get to the point and it should be honest. It should make the reader curious instead of anticipating everything. During the first ten years, I really had a lot of fun and I just enjoyed writing reviews and interview questions. But the last years it was more like a plague. Quite frankly, how many different words can one use to describe the fiftieth retro blues rock band? I was terribly bored by repeating myself over and over again. Nowadays, Cosmic Lava is on indefinite hiatus, and I can easily live with that. But I’m still active, because I haven’t shot all my powder. Since a few years, I write for the Italian magazine Vincebus Eruptum. That makes very much fun to me, especially since Davide (the editor) is a very nice guy. And I have some other plans……maybe I will continue with Cosmic Lava or something else…. we will see.

Germany seems to be a very nice country for psychedelic & stoner rock bands, how does the scene look?
Oh, a lot has happened over the last 20 years. More festivals, more bands, more record labels, more tours. As far as I can tell, some of the involved people really put their heart into their efforts, because they love the music and not the money. It’s definitely a heavenly situation for newcomers and veterans. The festivals are always peaceful and non-violent, but the same is valid for the gigs.

Where do you prefer to buy your records?
I buy records and CD’s almost everywhere. In the 1990’s, I visited record fairs regularly, but that’s over now. I really like Second-Hand stores, and fortunately there are some good ones in my area, the Ruhrgebiet. Furthermore I use the internet, whether it’s a mailorder or a private auction. And it’s always nice to purchase some stuff at gigs.

ImageName three records that are special to you, and tell us the story of how you got hold of them.
Ouch, that’s a tough question. But OK, here we go:
AMEBIX – Arise!: One of the most unique apocalyptic Punk bands of the 1980’s. ‘Arise!’ was the album that turned me into a total AMEBIX fan. I’ve bought it in 1985 in Duisburg in a record store, which no longer exists today. After listening to ‘Arise!’ continuously, I borrowed the ‘Winter’ 7″ from a good friend in order then to paint the entire back cover of that 7″ on my room wall. It was gigantic and I still have a few photos of my painting. After 30 years, AMEBIX is still one of my favorite Punk bands. Only their reunion album ‘Sonic Mass’ was utter trash, but that is another story.

THE STOOGES – Fun House: ‘Fun House’ is representative for all the great bands/musicians from Detroit: MC5, The Rationals, Guardian Angel, New Order, Sonic’s Rendezvous Band, Destroy All Monsters, Dark Carnival, Ramrods, early Bob Seger, early Mitch Ryder, Frijid Pink, The Third Power, The Frost, Alice Cooper Band. ‘Fun House’ is like sonic dynamite that will never grow old. I also dig the debut and ‘Raw Power’ as well, so that it was hard for me to pick one out. But I selected ‘Fun House’, because it’s their most varied album. I’ve bought it in the very late 1980’s, but I forgot where I found the platter. It was a VERY excessive period in my life.

CAPTAIN BEYOND – s/t: At first I wanted to select one of the first eight Black Sabbath albums, but then I have decided to take CAPTAIN BEYOND’s debut record. For me this is a perfect album and truly a masterpiece. This is so to say a flawless work of art. Even the cover artwork as well as the band photo on the backcover are mind blowing. I found a copy of this album in ca. 1992 in the W.O.M.-store in Essen. It was the Japanese CD edition, which was pretty expensive (ca. 45,- DM). But it was worth it!

And finally: what do you see in the future of record collecting?
It looks good, because vinyl is needed again. Basically it was never gone. There will always be people who prefer something physical (no matter if it’s vinyl or a CD) instead of iPod’s and shit like that. An album is much more than only an individual sequence of songs. That’s my unimportant opinion, at least. But what bothers me is the price increase. Of course, this doesn’t apply to all records, but a lot of them are just too expensive in our time. Music should be for everyone, whether people are poor or rich. And today, a lot of people are poor, and I’m not talking about Africa or certain areas in South America. It would be a disgrace for music, if only a small elite can allow themselves to collect records.

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!

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!