By: DJ Waves
“Somebody was trying to tell me that CDs are better than vinyl because they don’t have any surface noise. I said, “Listen, mate, life has surface noise.” - John Peel
I could try and tell you about my life story, but my record collection can describe me better than I ever could. I don’t know a life without music or records. My earliest memories involve laying on the basement floor of my childhood home, massive on-ear headphones with a spiral cord swallowing up my head as I bopped along to vinyl that my parents put on for me; Zeppelin, Sabbath, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Sinatra were staples, and I gave the American Graffiti soundtrack a good workout over the years. My current sound setup is basically the same as when I was a child; a JVC L-A31 direct-drive turntable with a TEAC AG-790 receiver and Koss M75 speakers. I also have a backup Crosley for admittedly aesthetic and convenient travel-friendly reasons. I tried to catalog everything on Discogs a few years ago but gave up when I moved and had to pack everything up. Last I checked I had near 800 LPs and about 70 45s. My record collection has a little bit of everything (yes, even country) but I’d say 50% of it is psych/garage/metal with the other 50% being pop, indie, dance/house, and compilations/soundtracks. At this point in the game, I have all the classic staples so I mostly buy based on whatever I’m currently fascinated by or if I need something specific to DJ with.
My First Love: QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE
It wasn’t until I discovered Queens of the Stone Age as a freshman in high school that I decided to actually start taking record collecting seriously. A friend bought me Lullabies To Paralyze for Christmas and the album blew my mind. I quickly got acquainted with the rest of their catalog and it consumed me; I’d found my new favourite band! Vinyl is truly a music lovers' format. When you adore a piece of music so much, physically being able to hold it in your hands and stare in awe at the liner notes and artwork is magical. You can’t get that with an MP3. Vinyl is a tangible, interactive art form. QOTSA gets that, as evident in the multiple vinyl variants they put out with special artwork, booklets, and hidden songs. From there, I dived into all of QOTSA’s musical friends and artists that they’d collaborated with. I started buying vinyl by bands like KYUSS, Eagles of Death Metal, Screaming Trees, Masters Of Reality, and this was the true start of my record collection—not just what my parents had given me.
My Prized Possession: VAMPYROS LESBOS SEXADELLIC DANCE PARTY
If I’d just met someone for the first time and they wanted to know about me, I’d give them this record. Vampyros Lesbos is a 1971 German erotic-horror movie about….well, lesbian vampires. It’s the perfect blend of gore, campiness, and B-Movie aesthetic. When I was in university, it was my weekly routine to go drink alone at Bovine after class and chat with Doug the bartender. He’d write out laundry lists of bands and movies that he thought I’d like. One of his recommendations was the Vampyros Lesbos movie and its soundtrack. The soundtrack pretty much opened the floodgates to my interest in movie scores, library music, and pulp style. It heavily influenced the art I made for school and was often the soundtrack to a lot of sleepless nights spent working on projects. The few years I was in university was definitely the peak of my record collecting as I’d started DJing all vinyl sets and crate-digging was my favourite way to de-stress in-between classes. Most of my OSAP money definitely went to records rather than school supplies. Oops!
My Favourite Genre: GARAGE ROCK
Lo-fi, gritty, fuzzed-out guitars, and primitive style drums are my idea of heaven. It’s good, straight up, no fuss rock n’ roll. As an extension of this, I also dip a lot into psychedelic and stoner rock bands. I was 10yrs old when I got my first guitar so I played A LOT of White Stripes tunes. Then when I found QOTSA at the age of 14 I just branched out from there; The Kills, The Black Keys, The Cramps, The Stooges. I would play songs by these bands on the guitar until my hands hurt. Safe to say that if a brand has the word THE in their name, they’re gonna kick ass. I will blindly buy records I’ve never heard of simply based on that fact and I have yet to be disappointed.
Fun Sized: 45RPM & PICTURE DISCS
I never gave 45s much attention unless a band I really dug was putting them out and I wanted to complete my collection of their discography. Once I started DJing I began to buy them more often because it was an easy way to play songs without having to find the specific groove on an LP. My collection seems pretty random—and to be honest it is (I do seem to have unintentionally collected just about every Third Man Records and Arctic Monkeys pressing though). The same goes for picture discs; I’ll buy them to complete an artist's discography but other than that I don’t typically make a point of buying them. When an image is lasered on or the vinyl wax is coloured/splattered it lessens the sound quality and wears out quicker. Looks cool, but it's a bitch to DJ with when you’re trying to find a certain song and can’t see the grooves properly.
A Mixed Bag; COMPILATIONS
Compilation records have been a great way to learn about bands and sounds that I would have never known about otherwise. The Nuggets Compilation records were some of the first that I’d bought after a friend showed me them in my early days of collecting. Most comp. records are a collection of bands from a particular era, genre, or music label. What I like about The Nuggets stuff though is that they have detailed explanations that summarize how the bands revolutionized the genre or geographic location they were from. I’ve learned a lot of random musical facts from these records and they were a great starting point to build my knowledge of specific genres.
Front-To-Backs: THE WHOLE ENCHILADA
One of the main purposes of vinyl is that you sit and listen to the entire album straight through. You don’t have the luxury of skipping songs that you don’t like with the tap of a “next” button. Vinyl forces you to sit back and enjoy the ride, and take in the album as the artist fully intended it to be. You might not enjoy every single song on an album, but it’s especially wonderful when you do. These records are some that are constantly stuck on my platter cause as a whole they’re THAT good.
City To City - Gerry Rafferty
S/T - L.A. Witch
S/T - Durand Jones & The Indications
Take Them On On Your Own - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club