Collector Interview: Alfredo R.

Posted on July 31 2017

This week our featured collector is from Puerto Rico. With an impressive collection of over 1400 albums, Alfredo wears several hats- from record label owner, designer, entrepreneur and music lover. Alfredo's collection is organized with our best sellers- engraved 26 panel alphabetical record dividers and several genre dividers, including a few custom panels. Read on to learn more about his collection!

My name is Alfredo Richner (@alfredorichner) and I’m a designer and entrepreneur from Puerto Rico. In 2009 I started in order to share music from our independent scene with the rest of the world. To that end I also run a boutique independent label, Discos Diáspora, which does limited edition physical format releases of local albums.

Size of your collection:
Discogs puts it at around 1400 records.

Current top 3 albums:
Matthew Sweet - Girlfriend (1991) | Probably my favorite record. Music On Vinyl put out a nice pressing of it this year, plus Matthew just released a new collection of tunes called Tomorrow Forever this month. Good year for fans of power pop and Sweet.

Madlib - Madlib Medicine Show: The Brick (2016) | I know this is cheating a bit… but this boxset is exquisite. It includes all of the original material from the Medicine Show series of albums and mixtapes by Madlib, which translates into seven albums over thirteen records. Madlib deep dive equals vinyl bliss.

Orquesta El Macabeo - La Maldición Del Timbal (2016) | This Puerto Rican underground sensation was initially a bit of a lark –punk and metal kids getting together to start their own salsa group. Four records later, they have Joe Petagno (of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Motörhead fame) designing their cover and offers to play festivals in France, México, Chicago, and more. I’ve been rooting for them since day one and so should you!

Favorite or biggest music genre in your collection:
I’m proud of my growing metal collection, a genre I began to take more seriously in recent years as I found myself really digging the work of a few key bands like Sleep, High On Fire, Yob, Elder, Mastodon, and Baroness. Now there are many others, both new and established, joining them on the shelf.

Best party album:  
Cornershop - Handcream For A Generation (2002) Or any Cornershop record, really.

Best album to listen to alone:
The Streets - A Grand Don't Come For Free (2004) It’s like reading a novel. You have to concentrate.

Last record you purchased:
Supa Dupa Fly, the debut studio album by American rapper Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott. ‘Cause “I can't stand the rain against my window…” Ha ha.

Album you're in search of:
Queens Of The Stone Age - Songs For The Deaf. It sells for ridiculous prices online. We need a reissue!

Give us a breakdown of your collection: how much is used vs how much is new?
Most of my collection is new. My father had a huge collection but most of it was gone before I began mine. I managed to keep a few of his old Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Beatles records, and it’s fun to compare them to my newer pressings, but I pretty much had to build mine from the ground up.

How long have you been collecting records? How did you get into it?
I lived my teenage years during the CD era, so I’m one of those kids that had stacks and stacks of CDs and CD wallets everywhere. I’d shop for new releases on Tuesdays, and my older brother, Andrés, would send me cool stuff from college in the mail –like The Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. My first tape was Kylie Minogue’s debut album, Kylie, which had "The Loco-Motion” on it, and I think my first CD was Michael Jackson’s Dangerous, which I had to share with my brothers. During college I was always but a few steps away from the Princeton Record Exchange –one of the greatest records stores in the US, if not the world. That’s where I bought my first brand new records on vinyl: Nine Inch Nail’s The Fragile (which came out in 1999 and had a different track listing than its CD counterpart) and Weezer’s Green Album (which came out in 2001 –and on translucent green vinyl!). It took a few years after graduating for me to get my own turntable and get serious about starting a new collection, but that was the beginning of it.

Where do you hunt for vinyl? 
Mostly online. This is sadly part of the culture of record collecting that is sorely lacking in Puerto Rico. There are a few hidden spots –private collections you can buy from, second-hand stores, day fairs, and a handful of remaining music shops that might have a few racks with records– but if you are serious about collecting you are better served online. I browse Discogs, shop directly from labels or visit Amazon –and I spend way too much time doing it. If you find yourself in Puerto Rico, check out Electroshock and Mondo Bizarro Record Shack both on the same street in Río Piedras, near the University of Puerto Rico’s main campus.

Any thoughts you'd like to share about your method of record organization?
I just re-organized my entire collection in alphabetical order, by first name, because it’s easier to search and it’s also the way Discogs organizes it digitally. I currently have a few subdivisions as well: Local, Soundtracks, En Español, Metal, and Hip-Hop.

Where do you listen to vinyl?

I have two setups: one in my bedroom, and one in my office/studio. The bulk of my collection is at the studio –it’s just a continuous source of inspiration, both for work and life in general. I enjoy having friends over, them poring over the records and going: “Oh, you have this! We have to listen to this now!”.

Anything extra you want to share about your collection, set up, turntable, your equipment, listening room, plans for the future, etc?
My records sit on Kallax shelves that were reinforced by my brother, Adrián, so that they don’t topple over. We used this tutorial for reference, which might be useful to other readers and fellow collectors.

As for future plans? I'm thinking a speaker upgrade might be in the cards. And a rug. I need a cool rug. Something that really ties the room together.

Alfredo Richner Content Creator Nítido: Taller Creativo Editor / Escritor Puerto Rico Indie