Tag Archives: vinyl

Week 2, 2015: Scott, Denmark

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Week 1, 2015: Danny, Ireland

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

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

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

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

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

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

hawkwind

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

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

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

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

paul chain collection

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

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

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

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

paul chain test pressing

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

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

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

revelation LP

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

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

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

Week 14, 2014: Laszlo, Hungary

1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SAMSUNG DIGIMAX A503

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

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

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

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

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

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

Week 11, 2014: Bernard, France

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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.

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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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.