Collector Interview: Ravenflow
Posted on October 18 2018
This week's interview is a collector from Spain with a passion for music that he shares with his family. Pablo's 2000+ LP collection is shared with his wife and daughter, and full of indie and classic rock. Pablo explains, "I am a very passionate person for all the things I love: My family, my job and music. I work as a teacher for people with Down Syndrome and, along with music, my other two great hobbies are running and videogames. I started sharing records from our vinyl collection nearly two years ago on Instagram, reaching a huge friend base of music lovers which already form part of my life. The Instagram vinyl community is one of the most amazing, diverse and fascinating groups of people on the web. Rabbid, passionate and extremely creative, the quality of the interactions you can get with theres is nearly impossible to find anywhere else".
You can follow his musical recommendations on his Instagram account @Ravenflow.
Which Koeppel Design products do you use?
I use two gorgeous limited edition symbol panels and the LP Block, a must have to display and properly organize a nice listening session. Given our passion to share photos of our vinyl collection on Instagram on the most diverse environments, we also have an electric blue Record Tote, which is fundamental to safely carry all the records we want to transport on our photo shoots.
Size of your collection:
I have nearly 2000 records. Half of my records are new releases and reissues and the other half comes from the second hand market, hauls and collections from diverse sellers. I also have a little collection of 7” with some of my favourite songs.
How do you organize your collection?
This one is crazy. I tend to separate records I have bought new from second hand. Also, I use Ikea Kallax shelves for the storage. There, I tend to make little sections: Indie, basic records, female voices, jazz and crooners, country, soundtracks and some other categories. We also have a section for new arrivals and records we want to listen in the following weeks. That serves a sort of a shortcut for the moments you want to play something but you don´t want to lose half an hour deciding what to spin. Near the 7” and singles area, there is also a section for records that came as part of massive hauls of artists I know they are ok but I don´t know very well so “I will listen to those someday”.
There is another area where we place the records we want to show on our Instagram feed in the following weeks. With the organizative mess I just explained you, it is better for us to have all those LPs together. We do things this way because we prefer to schedule a session to take many pics with the right focus and looking good rather than taking one shot a day; that is the right way to avoid just awake faces in the morning or “I´ve been working like a dog” faces at night. I told you this one was going to be crazy.
Favorite or biggest music genre in your collection:
This one is hard to pick but I would say three: Indie Music – Me and my wife are huge indie fans and we love listening to bands like The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, The Kooks, Interpol, The National and similar artists. This also includes some Spanish national talent like Vetusta Morla, Lori Meyers or Miss Caffeina to name a few. Female Artists – Female voices are one of my big favs and there is a nice spot for people like First Aid Kit, Adele, Birdy, Ana Moura or Jade Jackson. Big Time Albums – Basic records any music lover should know by The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Queen, Bowie, Dylan, The Smiths… This list never ends.
Best party album:
This one is hard but I will tell you what works for me. On big parties involving vinyl, old time compilations with selections on classic hymns are what works best to get people moving. Yeah, I mean those two dollar cheapies with a compilation of songs of a specific year that nobody wants but are able to moe a whole room in two songs.
Best album to listen to when you’ve had a rough week:
There is a band that works extremely well for me on rough weeks, hangovers, headache, being sick in bed: The National. I won´t pick any specific album of them for that but their more relaxed songs give an aura of warmth that helps me a lot when I am feeling down. As honorable mention, I would also name the music Cigarrettes after Sex. Just after those moments and once you are starting to feel better, I would also recommend to look more something more cheerful that turns you on again.
Album you're in search of:
Anything by Nancy Sinatra. I can´t explain the huge diversity of vinyl being reissued every week and the fact that Nancy is being absolutely forgotten. Here in my hometown it is fair to get something from her and sellers on record fairs and shops tend to overprize her records. That way, more that looking for I would say I am wating for Nancy to be reissued so I don´t have with nasty speculators.
Your house is about to be swept away by a Tsunami/tornado/godzilla, but you have a few minutes to contemplate your record collection. What single album do you take with you before running?
I am going to name some of the records that are extremely special for me: Day and Age by The Killers, my first vinyl record. I bought it right when it was released in 2008 with the sole purpose of decorating my office. I didn´t have the intention to hop on the vinyl train by that time but it helped planting the seeds and the what ifs of vinyl collecting one day.
Records my wife has given me as birthday present: Battle Born by The Killers and the soundtracks of Zelda Ocarina of Time and Friday Night Lights. Another very special record we have is a 7 inch made with a picture of all three with the “Coming Home” by Diddy Dirty Money, a song which has been very important in crucial moments of our lives. Also to highlight, we have a series of Marvel movie soundtracks with custom pictures by my good friend and Marvel talent Salva Espín, who is working on Deadpool miniseries these days. I have six super exclusive records like that that no one else in the world has.
How long have you been collecting records? How did you get into it?
I have always been a huge music collector. However, we never had a turntable at home, so I had tons of cassettes and cd’s. When MP3 and Internet downloads started, MP3 killed my purchase habit and helped me to invest my money in videogames, movies and to make my first travels. Of course, I never stopped enjoying music and I also started going to concerts and festivals. Two years ago, my daughter Adriana was one year old and I decided I wanted to expose her to music and wanted to take it seriously so I said: Let’s redeem myself for all these pirate years and let’s educate this beauty the way my parents did by making a nice music collection. I decided to focus on vinyl because it felt more special for this purpose. The CD format did not felt something I could commit to at this point of my life and regarding the fact I wanted to go physical no matter what, no other format showcased better the art, the presentation and the visual aesthetic of music than vinyl. Now Adriana is three years old and she combines all the unavoidable child tunes and nursery rhymes on YouTube with the music we play at home… And she is starting to have her very own favourites like Carlos Sadness or Amy Winehouse.
Where does your vinyl collection live in your home? How often do you listen to vinyl?
We listen to music on vinyl daily, every moment we can. My collection lives in two places: On the living room, where you can find of personal favourites, the new arrivals and the records we want to check that week. The rest of our collection lives on basement area, on a multiuse room we use to work on the computer, keep the rest records and do the laundry.
Any tips for sharing / co-mingling a collection?
I absolutely share my collection with my family. There are absolutely no restrictions for anyone on the house to listen to any record. The only obvious restriction come to the little one with three years that always tries to handle records as if they were books and she can be a bit rough grabbing the jackets. For that reason, we allow her to touch, look and play some records under our watch and with our continuous support. As you might be fearing, sometimes minor accidents have happened but this started to as a family hobby for the three of us and we don´t want to change that. A nice way to protect our records allowing Adriana to handle them reducing the risks has been implementing the use of plastic sleeves. When the time comes, she will have the keys of the kingdom and total access to most of our records. I don't even want to think twice.
What is more important to you- sound quality or building your music collection?
I like good sound quality as anybody does. Despite the fact that I don´t own any ultra high end equipment, I am extremely content with my turntables and set up. Regarding the fact that I am not a wild audiophile, I tend to focus on getting new records and growing our collection.
Where do you hunt for vinyl?
As sad as it sounds, my hometown belongs to a tragic land where speculators, thieves and vandals were the only owners of record shops that still remain. Those records where every single items is wildly overpriced never made connect with that that of environment. I always feel pure envy when visiting other towns and enjoy the record shop scene and some of the people there. In my case, I use physical major retailers such as Fnac or El Corte Inglés and online shops as Amazon, which always end up offering amazing discounts on most of items I want. For second hand stuff I check local record fairs they make from time to time and people I meet on an app named “Wallapop” where people sell their used stuff. That is the place where I found brutal hauls of 600 records for 200 euros of people wanting to get rid of their collections. In my case, that is where the real hunt is.
Anything extra you want to share about your collection, set up, turntable, your equipment, listening room, plans for the future, etc?
In our case, growing a little girl made us keep things as practical and minimal as possible. Our main listening space is the living room. There, we have a phenomenal Audio Technica AT-LP120 connected to a Marshall Stanmore Speaker that provides a great sound quality and also offers a nice aesthetic vibe. We have a secondary listening space on my multiuse basement where we do our computer work and our laundry duties. There I have another Audio Technica set, the AT-LP 60, which is more basic but offers very valuable functions such as Bluetooth connectivity, which works great when you want to listen confortably your music while everybody else is sleeping. That turntable is attached to a Sony 5.1 sound processor that I used to have on unplugged on a box of my old house and came back to action when we got that turntable. I am a huge headphone aficionado so I have two monster quality pieces such as the Meze Audio 99 Classics and the ATH-MSR7 which are great for solo sessions.
On our plans for the future, we never discard the possibility of trying new equipment or getting an upgrade on any of the mentioned pieces but for now the main priority is keeping our little girl interested in music. This year, she will begin attending a kids chorus and will also participate on a musical experience with songs, dance and movement. She has also noted that when she is a little bit older she wants a pink turntable with pink, red and blue vinyl. On a parallel line, we will try to keep investing our energy and our passion for music on our Instagram feed, trying to take colorful shots celebrating the classics, letting our audience know about new releases and making cool collaborations that might peak the interest of the amazing members of the vinyl community.