Tag Archives: hard rock

Week 1, 2015: Danny, Ireland

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

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

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

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

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

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

hawkwind

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

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

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

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

paul chain collection

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

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

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

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

paul chain test pressing

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

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

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

revelation LP

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

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

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

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Week 12, 2014: Peter, Sweden

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Week 10, 2014: Mats, Sweden

ImageWhat made you start buying records?
I was around thirteen. I really don’t know why. Perhaps as I have taped music earlier and the best show on Swedish Radio was put to an end. So I could not get any music from that direction anymore.

Do you remember your first purchase?
My first single was Sweet-Ballroom Blitz. The first LP was Les Humphries singers-Mexico. I don’t have any one of them left but perhaps I should try to get them in some form.

How long have you been collecting ?
Since 1973.

What sort of music do you mainly focus on?
Progressive rock and baroque music. I also like classical music, some hard rock, jazz rock (mostly seventies) and modern composers like Philip Glass, Arne Nordheim and Karl-Heinz Stockhausen.

As I get older I seem to be more generous about other music styles. I can listen to mostly everything but I don’t have to buy it.

ImageHow do you discover new music?
Internet, magazines, news from friends, spotify ….

Do you play any instruments yourself?
No, but I would like to.

Where do you prefer to buy your records?
In record stores. Since there are not many around any more I buy mostly on the internet. I use Ebay, Amazon, Discogs, Waysidemusic, Laser’s edge, Musea, Syn-phonic, BTF.it, CDjapan and several more. However, I still visit Record Heaven from time to time. It’s not long from Malmö, where I live.

ImageName three records that are special to you, and tell us the story of how you got hold of them.
Focus – Hamburger Concerto.
I heard the track Harem Scarem on radio and thought that it was amazing. Took a while before I understood the whole LP. But it is filled with great music.

Yes – Relayer. Heard bits of this one on radio, too. I thought it sounded strange. So it seemed like a good idea to buy it. Took some time to get into this one but I was only fourteen. Fantastic music. And only three long tracks. I believe it was music like this that got me into classical music 5-10 years later.

King Crimson – Lizard. Heard this one at a friend. Liked the guitar immediately. Bought it as fast as I could.
But there are so many more records that are special to me.

And finally: what do you see in the future of record collecting ?
For me, I continue to buy cd’s. I use spotify quite often. But the music I really like I want to have so I buy it.
It’s rare these days that I buy any vinyl. Happens sometimes. But it seems that this format is getting a small revival. Nice. I think streaming and other services will continue to grow but I hope and believe that there still will be record stores in the future.

Week 9, 2014: Thomas, Germany

ImageHello Thomas! Please introduce yourself, and tell us your musical history!
Hi, I am Thomas Hartlage and I am running the labels QDK-Media and Shadoks Music in Germany. I moved a few years ago from Hamburg to the Northern Sea island Amrum where I live and work. My first 25 years I was living in Bremen. Beside releasing LPs and CDs and a couple of DVDs I am collecting LPs since I was 15 (so it started in 1970).

Do you remember your first purchase?
Yes of course I do. I took my Christmas money and bought my first album (a double album for 38 German Marks which was as expensive as a good pair of Jeans) and bought Tommy by The Who. I just loved that album and still do. It came out on German Polydor, later on I have bought several other copies such as UK Track. I did not have my own turntable or HiFi so I had to use my father’s poor equipment to play my record. He did not like that music so I could only play it while he was at work (after school). The next couple of records I got were the first Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin II, and Fat Mattress (I never liked that album). Many albums I acquired were released in the magic year of 1969. Within the next year a good friend introduced me to albums such as MC5 – Kick Out The Jams, Steamhammer – MK II, Fleetwood Mac – Then Play On, Don Ellis – At Fillmore, Miles Davis – Bitches Brew, Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed, Chicago Transit Authority and some others. They became my favored records ever since then.  I still have them, I still play them

When I started studying I began buying records at flea markets in my hometown Bremen; I kept some and sold those which I did not like. A lot of German Krautrock albums were easy to find and good sellers in Europe. I placed ads in the German Chatterbox (pre-Oldiemarkt) magazine.  A bit later I took a first trip to San Francisco and bought many rare US records, at least stuff I did know such as Litter, Chocolate Watch Band, C.A. Quintet etc. I bought an old leather suitcase and packed it with about 40 kilo of records and returned to Germany. The following auction went pretty well. Over the years I took also many trips to Liverpool visiting a friend. They had great record shops and after a while I could jump behind the counter, going through the shop’s stock. These trips expanded my collection with great UK albums as well as some good lists to finance my studies since I did not get much money from home… so it was a good mixture of keeping albums for myself and selling some. I think other collectors such as Willi Oertel from Bremen, started the same way. I remember meeting him on local flea markets hunting for the same albums.

ImageThe German kraut scene is internationally very praised, but you, being German, tend to focus on international releases. All German classics done, or is it just a coincidence?
I must confess that I really never started collecting German bands. I am not sure why, perhaps the fruits on the other side of the fence were just more tasty for me. I had some standard albums such as Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan and Kraftwerk. The band I loved most was FAUST. So later on, when I started my label Shadoks Music, I focused more on international rarities. Actually I have never released an album by a German band. Only on my QDK-Media label have I released something by a band from Hamburg (Tulip). I just knew more about UK and US bands than local German bands. So I cannot tell you much about the Kraut Rock scene. I have noticed that collectors in US, UK and Japan know more about those bands then my friends and I did. So it is a matter of taste perhaps, and having the curiosity to dig outside your own country.

I know you started early with your vinyl passion. How do you think the music progressed from the time you began to discover music to today’s style?
I always loved to buy and play LPs. The music style did not change that much since I was always after the unusual things. An album by Miles Davis from 1969 or a band such as MC5 can easily compare with albums from Sonic Youth, The Residents or more modern bands. So I measure progress more via a good HiFi and and the really good turntable I have now and did not in the early days. But certainly the performance technique has changed. When I saw a concert of “Muse” last year with my son I felt that I had never experienced anything like it before, from the light show to the sound. It pretty much blew me away. Of course I am missing the old days of huge PA’s at concerts and the stoned atmosphere at festivals. But the few times I have been to the Roskilde festival in Denmark I got the same feelings I had at festivals in the 70s. 

It is an ongoing process, learning about music and enjoying it. Very much like reading novels a long time ago and enjoying a good book from the modern days. For me it does not matter when the album was recorded. I have to like it and it has to be good!

ImageRunning Shadoks music for more than 10 years has earned you respect. How did you start with the label, and how do you see the future of it in these downloading days?
I started 25 years ago with my QDK-Media label. I was working in a cinema and concert hall in Bremen. Because I was involved a lot in movies and music and had good friends in New Zealand, my first ever release in 1989 was an avant-garde rock band from NZ, Fetus Production. I did a 2 LP+single Box. On a couple of trips to NZ I have met the director Peter Jackson (Lord Of The Rings). So it was obvious that I continued with releasing soundtracks of his early movies such as Bad Taste, Meet The Feebles and Brain Dead. I became partner with the German label Normal Records and released many soundtracks by Russ Meyer and compilations such as Betty Page, Doob Doob O Rama and Love Peace & Poetry. During the period of Love Peace & Poetry I got quite a few albums from US labels such as Rockadelic and DelVal. I showed old vintage US sleeves to my bookbinder and we figured out a way to produce very heavy US style hand made covers. We started with an edition of velvet covers with engraved artwork. That’s where I started with Shadoks Music. I made 10 releases before under the Little Indians name and these reissues became quite popular so I continued with Shadoks Music with over 160 releases so far. I did the LP deals on my own and the CD marketing was done by Normal Records.

I think the LP sales will be stable the next few years. The CD sales are a big problem. In most cases, when I buy a new LP by a modern band I receive a CD or download code for free. This will likely be the wave of the future. You buy a physical record (LP) and receive a digital format on top for free, either as a download or a CD included. That might solve the problem with free downloads. 

What sort of music do you mainly focus on?
As a collector I focus on anything good. Blues influenced rock, electronic, avant-garde, indie rock, jazz and classical. As a label I focus on underground, psychedelic and folk. My private taste is much wider. After finding all those great rock albums in the early 70s I explored bands such as The Residents. I remember in 1978/80 when my friends in the commune I was living in were listening to Wishbone Ash and James Taylor in one room, I was playing Third Reich & Roll by The Residents in my room. They really hated that music and soon it was clear that my musical taste was too far out for them. Listening to Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa, MC5 and The Residents all day was a nightmare for them. So a few months later I left and got new roommates. Musical taste can sort out relations very quickly, either for friends you are living with, or girlfriends…

ImageIf I were to invent the time machine, I would attend a gig with either 2066 & THEN, AMON DUUL II, NECRONOMICON or GILA. What is your own time machine dream?
My personal time machine would take me back to 1969, my favored musical year, first to the “Woodstock festival” and perhaps to an early gig of Captain Beefheart with Zoot Horn Rollo on guitar (1969 Trout Mask Replica and 1970 Lick My Decals Off, Baby era). A good British friend saw them playing early and he said it was the most cool and groovy concert he ever saw in his life. 

How do you discover new music?
If you mean new bands, I buy many many independent records from bands in US, UK or other countries. I love bands such as Sigur Ros, Trentemøller, Shearwater, electronic artists such as Squarepusher, Boards of Canada, Jon Hopkins and Cornelius from Japan. I love Blues, Underground, Electronic, Indie Rock , Jazz and Classical music. So I hunt in many musical fields. I always look at what is going on with labels such as WARP, Domino and many others. Reading reviews and looking at what my friends are into helps to sort out the good stuff from the boring. 

Regarding old underground albums I find my objects of desire mostly through sales lists I am reading and through collector friends. Hunting season started over 40 years ago and it still goes on…  

Many old 60s and 70s re-issues are far from as professional as your Shadoks releases are. How do you manage to locate all those obscure and forgotten bands you managed to put out?
I discover my music as a label either through albums I buy from dealers for my collection, but mostly through collectors from all over the world who are helping me on projects such as Clark Faville, Hans Pokora, Enrique Rivas, Tomi Kuoppamaa , Claus Rasmussen, Pekka Nurminen, Knut Tore Breivik, Ercan Demirel, Walter Geersten, Willi Oertel just to name a few. Without these guys I would not explore new vintage rare albums and it also helps to correspond with the bands since in many cases I have to write in Spanish, Finnish, Portuguese, Turkish and other languages. It also helps to find collectors who have good contacts to bands I am searching for. So a worldwide link among collectors helps a lot. Many years ago I had to phone all the time or to travel to find bands. Now with Facebook, YouTube and many blogs I can make contact with band members more easily. 

I remember a call I did to find the band Tony Caro & John. I was searching the UK phone directory and found a few guys with the name Tony Doré. On my first try somebody picked up the phone and I could tell immediately from his unique voice on the other end of the line that it was him, bingo! We made a great release together and on top he did manage to find me quite a few original albums. Over the years they all went to collectors either in trades or sales. I think from the UK band Candida Pax I had about 15 originals. In recent years it’s become more difficult to locate bands before other collectors find them. Captain Marryat was found by many guys and originals instantly became very expensive, which was good for the band. I set up my release deal and bought 1 original copy. So I was very happy.

ImagePlease let us know more about the German vinyl collecting situation. Many people who collect?
I know quite a few German collectors. But I am surprised by how many younger people have started collecting vinyl. Of those who are buying my Shadoks reissues many of them are between 20 and 30 years old. I know 3 sisters in Berlin (daughters of a friend of ours) and they collect vinyl only and they’re doing DJ shows with Shadoks releases. So I think the situation in Germany is still pretty strong regarding collections. Many rare albums never make it to the European market these days as Russian collectors have started paying crazy prices for nice old original copies. But this is not a German problem, it is a problem for many collectors around the world. 

One thing that strikes me is that many German singles from the 70s are far cheaper than the LPs are. Is there a bigger market for LPs, or were singles simply pressed in bigger quantities in your opinion?
I do not know so much about German singles but I can tell you for sure that singles were much more common than LPs back in the day. LPs were too expensive to buy. Singles were easy to get. So in many cases I think singles were more common and pushed by the music industry and LPs were for real collectors with money.  

Where do you prefer to buy your records?
I buy old original records from dealers I know and from some collectors. Not anymore from eBay as I was often upset about the condition of the albums. If I feel I have found a good new dealer I prefer to buy from him. New modern albums I buy from mail orders, direct from labels and sometimes I use Amazon. I love modern collectors editions so if I want to have limited releases from bands such as Sigur Ros, I buy direct from their website. I used to do the same with limited editions from bands such as The Residents. I bought them in USA from their fan club or Ralph Records auctions they did. When I started to collect 1980s US albums I bought from the early days of Forced Exposure or New Music Distribution Service in New York. I traveled a lot so I knew all the good record shops in London, Liverpool, New York and San Francisco. I found many many great albums on my trips… I have traded many great records with the musician John Zorn who was working in the 80s in a record shop in NY.  Also my friend Peter Principle from Tuxedomoon found many great records for me.

ImageName 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.
First of all I would name “Then Play On” by Fleetwood Mac. Second album would be “Tommy” by The Who and third album perhaps “Kick Out The Jams” by MC5. I bought them when they came out in Germany and stayed fresh for the past 40 years. I always loved them and still play them. Must have heard them many many times…

And finally: what do you see in the future of record collecting?
I think collecting albums will continue for a long time. I never felt cool about collecting post stamps, magazines or other things. I love to collect music and guitars simply because this makes my life richer. I am spending most of my days with LPs and guitars. And I think this will not change. Collecting music fills my private world with spirit and with influences from all over the world. I have learned more things from music than from books or at school. So collecting music is my spiritual thing and my desire….

I would say that might suit many young people as well. My son (15) started collecting music, not LPs, not CDs, more like playlists he is doing from Spotify, iTunes and other non-physical formats. But he is collecting music. So no matter what format you choose, it is all about collecting music and this will have a future. He might switch later on to LPs (a father can hope!). 

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…….

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