Collector Interview: Steve Kouta

Posted on January 19 2016

Sydney collector Steve Kouta knows a thing or two about music. Steve shares his passion for vinyl through his wildly popular Instagram feed, @stevekouta. What we like about Steve is that he has a good ear and a great eye when it comes to collecting. His selections are varied, from Pink Floyd, Leonard Cohen and David Bowie to The Ronettes and Prince. Steve's feed is a stream of beautiful photography, fantastic music and most posts include a mini-essay with his thoughts on a particular album or artist. Though Instagram is mostly about square format and short form posts, Steve's feed is a refreshing take on the instant-grataficiation platform. On his collecting habits, Steve explains, "I'd say about 60% of my collection is used. It's always nice finding an original pressing of an album that's in great condition. I'll take this over a repress anyway." 

We chatted with Steve about his collection over email and he shared some details about his collection, and what he is listening to right now. Steve uses genre dividers to keep it all in order! His collection of almost 2000 albums is organized by decade (1950s-2000s), genre (Blues, Jazz, Country, Funk, Hip-Hop, Soul and World) and by artist. Read on for more!
Size of your collection:
Around 1500 - 2000
Current top 3 albums: 
1. Prince 'Sign Of The Times' 1987
2. Bob Dylan 'Blood On The Tracks' 1975
3. Lauryn Hill 'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill' 1998

Favorite music genre:
Dont really have one, as you can see by my 3 top albums, my tastes are quite diverse. 

Best party album: 
David Bowie 'Let's Dance' 1983 - always gets the party started!

Best album to listen to alone:
Elton John 'Honky Château' 1972

Last record you purchased:
BB King 'Live In Cook County Jail' 

Album you're in search of:
Gary Wilson 'You Think You Really Know Me'

How long have you been collecting records? How did you get into it?
I've been seriously collecting for about 10 years. My dad had a pretty great collection which I inherited. The albums he had formed a solid foundation to begin a collection with. 

Where do you hunt for vinyl? 
Sydney has some great record stores. My favourites include Mojo, Red Eye, The Vintage Record, and Title

How do you organize your collection? Alphabetical: first or last name, by genre, label, artist...  
I organise my collection by genre. I think if you're in the mood for Jazz, you want to find and navigate the genre easily and quickly. I'd find it annoying digging through Madlib, Motorhead, Metalica, and Paul McCartney to get to a Miles David record. 

Any thoughts you'd like to share about your method of record organization, how you store your collection or use your record dividers?
Like 90% of record collectors around the globe, I store the records I keep on high rotation in IKEA 'Kallax' shelves (they're cheap, but practical). Where possible, I like to keep each record in a plastic sleeve, with the open side facing up (so you can easily slide the record in and out without it crushing). I love my record dividers, I have genre ones, and additional ones for specific artists with large discographies (Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, Beatles etc).

Anything extra you want to share about your collection, set up, turntable, your equipment, listening room, plans for the future, etc?
Up until recently, my set up consisted of all vintage equipment. A few months ago, I picked up a brand new Yamaha R-N602 receiver and I love it! My vinyl has never sounded so crisp. My turntable is a Technics SL-23 (1976), and my speakers are Paradigm (1988). 
My setup is situated in my lounge room which is in the centre of my house (so I can hear it everywhere). Ideally, I'd love custom built shelves to store my setup and collection but this may need to wait until I move to a larger house.