In this interview I talk to Steve all about music and vinyl.
Why did you decide to start a vinyl themed Instagram?
Well it probably came from the assumption that my friends on my regular account would get sick very quickly of me spamming them with whatever I was listening to at all times – much like in real life! I thought I best try and find some other weirdos who might actually want to see a dude parading random 80s and 90s records every day! Im also pretty geeky about the personel behind records – who did what behind the scenes and finding those links between artists and scenes – so doing writeups for each album allows me to dive deep in to learning more about those kind of things and pass pointless trivia on to others! Also I live alone and get very lonely hahaha!
How long have you been collecting records and how many do you have in your collection?
Actually not very long – its been just over 3 years since I brought home my player and a paltry ‘Starter Pack’ of Prince and Jeff Buckley! My collection is currently just over 1500 – to say its taken over my life wouldnt be far from the truth. I love trawling Discogs for bundle shipping deals on cheap RnB and funk records Ive never heard of.
What’s your vinyl holy grail?
Holy grail that I desperately want or that I own? Ive got a few white whales Id love to get my hands on, ranging all over the spectrum – from The Mars Volta’s debut ‘De-loused in the Comatorium (or any of their records really!) to Robert Miles’ long forgotten second dream-house album ’23am’. There are a bunch of modern RnB records that have never gotten real UK releases that Id love (Daniel Caesar’s debut, Snoh Aalegra, Baby Rose) and some 90s RnB classics too like SWV’s debut.
As far as ones I own – honestly I shy away from dropping silly money on rare records. The tight-arse in me wont allow it haha. BT’s ‘ESCM’ was a near-impossible white whale for a long time before one fateful day a great copy appeared on Discogs for next to nothing that I snapped up instantly. So thats probably my most prized record, along with a few others Im quite proud of hunting down – Mint Condition’s ‘Meant To Be Mint’ and Prince’s Love Symbol album being 2 tricky ones to find over in the UK.
We’re both based in the north east of England, where’s your favourite record shop?
Yeah Im a Sunderland boi! After checking out a few cities on the hunt for that precious wax I can honestly say Newcastle is one of the best places to dig. Just the amount of shops we have in such a small radius is pretty crazy! (I used to work round the corner from Beyond, Beatdown AND Vinyl Guru – with a bunch just 5 minutes walk away so Id rarely come back empty handed from a lunch hour haha) Each one offers something different too – Reflex tends to be my go-to for new releases and their awesome 2 for £22 section, Guru has a sweet selection of 80s boogie funk, I often pick up weird 90s dance singles from the bins in Beatdown, 586 practically give away records for free which is heaven when their bins are full of unwanted 90s RnB and RPM and Beyond have amazing community aspects around them with lovely staff.
I’ve seen some videos of you making music. Are you in a band or is it just a hobby?
Strictly just a hobby. I’ve played around with producing music since I was a teenager – sadly Ive never really improved! Its a fun way to let out some creative juices but a continual frustration when I remember I dont have the talent to translate those ideas! I did have a few electronic releases back in the day but I think those are long behind me. (I exist on Spotify at least which never fails to amuse me!)
Who’s in your top five of favourite bands?
Oooh thats tough actually. Well the Manics were always ‘My band’ growing up so Ive been on a pretty wild ride with them for 20+ years. Friendly Fires are a band that seem tailormade for my tastes and Ive some pretty strong emotional ties to them. I love weirder bands like Mew and more mathrocky stuff like Minus The Bear – then of course there are funk legends like The Time and Zapp! (I think I just slid 6 in there, as I do)
If you could have dinner with any musician from any time who would it be and why?
Man I have no clue! Id love to just be a fly on the wall wolfing down some greasy pizza in some of those 80s sessions with Prince or in the studio watching Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. On the other hand I love just chilling listening to guys like Jordan Rakei chat about music on his podcast ‘Are We Live’ – not the most exotic choice but I think we’d have good banter!
Any recommendations on movies, tv shows or music?
I’ll spare people a huge list – I guess just check my recent ‘Top 50 Albums of 2020’ countdown for music!Im equally as geeky about Movies and have done an End of Year List for the last 8 years so a few of my favourites from a weird ‘blockbuster free’ year in 2020 would include Sh!thouse (better than the title suggests I swear, its like a sad teenage Before Sunrise), Queen and Slim, Mangrove, The Sound Of Metal, Wolfwalkers and Babyteeth. TV theres just way too much to even begin but Im always drawn to interesting relationship dramas – I love Master of None (currently doing a rewatch) and I got WAY too invested in Normal People last year! Also ‘The Circle’ (UK AND US on Netflix) is my absolute guilty pleasure!