Collector Interview: Dub Techno vinyl enthusiast Michael P.

Posted on January 25 2018

Michael P. is a frequent customer of ours who has been adding custom panels to his home vinyl collection, with a very personal approach to organization. Michael explains "My collection is organized by genre. Within each genre it's broken down by artist and label alphabetically. This can get tricky when you have a release that is by an artist who is on multiple labels or within multiple genres. For me, it comes down to how I will remember a song. Will I remember it as the artist, the label, or the genre? Depending on where that answer lies is where the record gets filed."

Judging from his collecting habits, I have a feeling Michael is far from finished! In his collection, Michael uses a combination of engraved genre dividers, a custom Ghostly label panel (limited edition, sold out), and a slowly growing selection of custom stencil dividers. Michael has even snagged a few sale panels here and there. Read on to learn a bit more about Michael's collection, set up and current vinyl favorites.

Brief intro:
Hi, I'm Michael. I'm just a collector who makes mixes in his lack of spare time. You can find most of them here:

Size of your collection:
Vinyl: 3000-ish, CD's: 1000-ish (many have "disappeared" over the years), Digital: 10+ TB's.

Current top 3 albums:
Currently these are my favorites. Not to be misconstrued or mistaken with my all time favorites...

1. Various Artists - Permanent Vacation X (10 Years Label Anniversary) 2017. This is such an amazing collection of Nu-Disco, Deep House and weirdo electronic music I almost can't contain myself with it. The track "There will always be this love" by New Jackson Featuring Margie Jean Lewis is a serious earworm that threatens to be stuck in your head for days.

2. Janeret - Space Conquest 2016. I've recently fallen in love with this guy's stuff as it's smooth and beautiful while holding a solid groove. I'm sad that I'm just finding his stuff. I may find myself going down a serious rabbit hole soon in trying to collect all of his good stuff. (see "Album you're in search of" section).

3. DeepChord Presents Echospace - Live In Detroit [Ghost In The Sound] 2017. This is kind of cheating, since this isn't a record and is actually a CD. However, for me this night was truly special as I was at this event and left completely blown away by how magical their performance was. When the guys behind echospace/deepchord announced this recording was being released I remember sitting there stunned and excited to get my hands on this. While I still get goosebumps listening to the album, remembering my exact position on the dance floor and what was going through my mind while hearing their songs, it's failed to capture it's majesty when playing it for others. Regardless, that night and this recording will go down as one of my all time favorite, nights/experiences ever.

Favorite or biggest music genre in your collection:
This is tough. I would probably say Techno, however within techno there are so many sub genres that it doesn't get as specific as it needs to be. Dub Techno and dub-infused ambient would probably be my favorites and is what I reach for most often while studying. There's something with Dub Techno that just allows me to relax and focus on reading, studying or whatever I'm trying to do that makes it my go-to form of music.

Best party album:
I'm not sure I would just put an album on for a party. If I were to pick something that I think would instantly raise the energy, it would first depend on the situation and the party. I've been known to throw on some DJ Deeon/DJ Assault if it's THAT kind of party, or some Herbert if it's a more sophisticated crowd...though, you'd be surprised by how many sophisticated crowds lose their shit to booty music/ghettotech. It's never any one album or artist that starts the party, but a combination of the right ones at the right times. Sometimes it's Prince, Hall & Oates, Michael Jackson, Moodymann, Pharcyde, Romar or any number of ass shaking grooves. Tough question to answer. I might be dating myself here, but for mix cds I would choose something like: Harry the Bastard Vol.1 to get things going. Best album to listen to alone: Kid606 - Recollected Ambient Works Vol. 1: Bored of Excitement, Nils Frahm - Music For The Motion Picture Victoria or Deepchord - Auratones.

Last record you purchased:
This HAS to be a trick question. LOL. I pick up so many records that by the time this is published, this will be woefully out of date. If I can get vulnerable for a moment though, the record I'm most sentimental about is this record made by my friend Johnny Igaz. Johnny died last year in the horribly tragic Ghostship Fire. His record "Private Property Created Crime" however was recently released. Despite having purchased it, I haven't listened to it yet. There's something haunting about it (other than the fact he died) that I just can't come to grips with. The EP released right after his death, "Night System" had a similar hold on me, though I eventually listened to it and love to try and sneak it into listening sessions these days. I'm sure PPCC will follow the same trajectory however it's still just too eerie and weird for me to listen to his music right now. Despite being a year on, it's still tough to move on from. Beyond that EP though, I spent the last few weeks tracking down older records (albums and EPs) I had been slacking on picking up. Among those were the following: DJ Koze - Amygdala Massive Attack - Protection Jamie Lidell: When I come back around (Matthew Herbert's Long Night Dub) Maurizio - Domina Deepchord presents Echospace - The Coldest Season Nackt - Private Property Created Crime Album you're in search of: This changes pretty much daily/weekly depending on what I'm doing or listening to. I tend to go down rabbit holes where I'll focus on an artist or label and attempt to listen to everything they have out. I'll then make a list of what I like and go off in search of those releases. I'm a bit different than most vinyl collector's though, in that I don't need to own everything off a label or everything an artist has done. Nor do I need to own the rare limited edition green and purple wax with glitter and super limited edition fuzzy sleeve. If I can get it, cool...if not, wasn't meant to be, and no, I'm not paying a crazy amount of money for it. The regular version will play just as fine and honestly, while I'm a collector, I'm really only a collector for my own enjoyment. I just care if it plays properly and if it plays the version I want. Beyond that, I don't care if it's a first pressing, second pressing, 500th pressing or just a generic black vinyl version with generic album cover. As long as it plays and as long as it's good are all that matter for me. Right now (and for quite a while actually) I've been searching for: "Roman IV - Altes Testament". Though...if you give me a couple of weeks, I'll probably have it and have moved onto something else.

Give us a breakdown of your collection: how much is used vs how much is new?
Tough to say. I worked in so many record stores growing up that a lot of what I got what used. Though, these days I tend to buy mostly new records, even if it's coming pre-owned, I'm more inclined to go after the near mint or mint version rather than anything below that. I've just bought too many records with fatal scratches on them to risk buying pre-owned.

How long have you been collecting records? How did you get into it?
I grew up in the Detroit area and have been collecting music since as long as I can remember. My first memory of playing with records were playing my 7 inch copies of Tears for Fears "Shout" and my mom's Thriller and Wham's albums on her record player when I was like 5 or 6. I kind of started listening to and collecting music at an early age and from there I was always obsessed with collecting as much music as I possibly could, I could never get enough. At some point along the way I was asked to DJ a friend's grade school party and from there I've never really looked back. As I continued growing up (14-16 yrs old), I found myself playing weird random one off parties, like the time I DJ'd this all-girl gymnastic group's dance party, thanks to my dad who basically said, "yeah, my son has a ton of music, he can DJ your daughter's gymnastic group's dance party". (Thanks for getting me my first paid DJ gig dad!). I would try to make extra money any way I could and would end up spending it all on records or CDs (like the time I sold my car and spent all of the money on music...shhhh...don't tell my parents about that lol). This essentially led me down a DJ/collector's path for years, culminating in me working in a couple of local record stores during my senior year in high school and all throughout college. Upon finishing college, I embarked on the role of DJ more so than collector and began playing out at friend's nights as well as some of my own produced nights. This continued until just recently when I enrolled in grad school and gave up the DJ side of that path. I'm now just a collector who makes mixes in his very limited spare time.

Where do you hunt for vinyl?
I mostly buy online these days. I would love to support a local retailer who could support my musical tastes, however that doesn't exist right now in SF. I've been to every record store in the Bay Area and there isn't a single one that carries everything I'm looking for. This is extremely sad to me since I grew up working in record stores and love the concept of physically digging through crates, listening to stacks of records and leaving with a collection of rarities. The fact I have to buy everything online, completely removed from the physical experience of digging, breaks my heart. If I had to give a plug for a physical record store, I would say Vinyl Dreams on Haight Street in San Francisco. Mike Bee is so well versed in his musical knowledge that he can help you find what you're looking for or send you off on the correct path to find it.

Anything extra you want to share about your collection?
My setup is a standard DJ set up of 2 Technic 1200's and a mixer. For the last 10+ years I've used an Ecler EVO5 as my mixer, however it's been having weird power issues (which due to school I haven't had the time to get fixed yet). As a result I've been using a Pioneer DJM-300-S which is a basic 2 channel mixer. My future plans are to get my mixer fixed and get back to my previous setup that included a PVDJ Grabber, a looping device that I used to incorporate in my sets before I made a switch a few years back to a digital setup (serato). Since my laptop died (which I haven't replaced yet), I'm back to a standard analog setup which finds me back to basics with everything and looking forward to including my grabber in the mix.