The Reason Why I Go To Record Shops. Pt1


It’s been almost 2 years since I started to go to record shops that especially handle vinyls. Today I wanna talk about the reason why I keep buying vinyls before I introduce some ideas of famous “vinyl DJs”. As I mentioned before, I’m still wondering why I adhere to analog sound this much and I have not found out the clear reasons. Therefore, I will introduce a few ideas I already realized. Also, I want to introduce what I do in record stores.

1, Process and New Discovery

I like the process to look for my “treasure”, sometimes it is what I don’t know. When people get MP3 music online, they just go to iTunes or another web site and click the button to download it. There are no processes, just the results you get the songs you want. I go to record shops 2 or 3 days on an average. My record hunting starts day before I go to record shops by making a list of my “treasure” and charging the battery of my portable turntable. And I pick a record shop that has my “treasure” most likely. When I go to a huge record shop like Amoeba, I cannot check all of records in the store in a day, so I focus on a few genres. For example, today is a Rock day, today is a Techno and House day, like this. When I have enough time, I go to at least 2 or 3 record shops to get the cheapest one. This is a interesting point. On iTunes, there are no price differences, but basically vinyls are sold by different prices depend on stores and conditions.

Imagine you go to an old used record shop. There are vinyls of Soul music, Disco, Rock, Blues, Jazz and etc. The owner are really familiar with these kind of music. While you are looking their great selection, you find a small dirty box at the corner and you find some house records in the box. Maybe someone sold these vinyls at the shop with old music that the owner likes to sell. You find an awesome vinyl you have wanted for a long time and ask the owner about the price. You know the record is sold by $30 at another modern music record shop. He says “1 dollar” because he doesn’t care about the House record and he doesn’t know the market value of it. The awesome record for you is almost “trash” for him.

This is a story I actually experienced many time at record shops and this is such an exciting moment. But, It never happens at iTunes. This is definitely interesting story and the reason why I like to go to record shops, but this story cannot be the reason to being vinyl DJ because MP3 is still cheaper than vinyls.

I think there are some factors to be a good DJ. One of them is knowledge. In this case, knowledge means simply “how many songs do you know?”. Even if you have a very good sense to mix music, you cannot be a good DJ, I mean you cannot put your soul on your music without knowledge. In the process I hunt for vinyls, I have to see another vinyls I don’t know just because I don’t know where my “treasure” is. It often happens that I cannot find my “treasure” at all. Some people might think this is waste of time, but this is one of the most important reasons for me to go to record shops because we “cannot” waste time on iTunes. All you have to do is just type the name of song you want. There are no time loss. At the same time, there are no unexpected new discoveries.

Let me explain the factors that make me want to listen unknown vinyls. 1, It has a cool jacket. 2, It is released by my favorite music label. 3, It is made by a producer I like. 4, Just I feel something I can’t explain. Then, I check out the year they were released, and if I still wanna listen them, I keep them and listen them by my portable turntable. This is my process to find my music and to find new possibility for my DJing.

Of course, I also use the internet to search music. However, I believe it is harder to find a “new discovery” on the web than at real stores because people use the internet to search something that is already in their mind. The strong point of the internet is an enormous mount of information. Yet, because of that, I think it’s hard to find new discovery. You can get music, but a new discovery never comes to you by itself. Best case scenario, you can search something new that is related with your knowledge. On the other hand, if you go to record shops, sometimes you can skip these steps and jump into completely new world because a new discovery come to you by itself. There are vinyls, so only thing you have to do is just check all of vinyls at the store and be sensitive while doing that. The one might not be the best one. But, it definitely takes you to the new world. In contrast, you can’t check out all of music on the web, needless to say.

I feel happiness and appreciation for this “fate”. I went there, so I could find it. I strongly believe this fate makes your DJ style unique and “unimitatable”.

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Vinyl Revival


As a listening medium changes its shape and capability, a style of DJ has been changing as well. As far as I know, the first DJ emerged in late 70s. Until CDJ(the gear to spins CD instead of vinyl) was released in mid 90s, all DJs had used vinyls. Today, we can mix our music on our small laptop without special DJ gears thanks to the development of technology. People call these DJs like laptop DJ and USB DJ.

However, some DJs still keep using vinyls. They seem to stick to using vinyls and strongly hate to accept new technology. There are some general reasons to prefer to use vinyls, for example, the quality of analog sound is much better than digital sound. Digital sound is made up with each single “dots”. On the other hand, analog sound is one long “line”. That’s why vinyl has more warm and smooth sounds. But, CD and MP3 have still more strong points than vinyl for the DJs who have a lot of gigs all over the world. If they use digital stuff, they can pack all of their CDs or USB to one small suitcase. I cannot picture how many big boxes, that filled with tons of records, analog DJs bring to overseas for their tours.

Actually, I am one of analog DJs. Though I’m an exchange student of San Jose State University from Japan and I stay here only for a year, I keep buying vinyls here. Though we can download MP3 files for free, I pay for vinyls. Also, I’m scared how much it costs to ship all of them to Japan when I go back home. I understand that this is not a smart way. If I bought laptop DJ software, I could avoid this expense. Yet, somehow I have a strong feeling in my mind to keep using vinyl. At the same time, I’m still wondering why I adhere to vinyl this much and I’m still looking for the reason that explains my feeling well. Through this blog, I wanna introduce some analog DJ’s opinion for their DJing. I hope I can get hints to my feeling from their ideas.

Another topic of this blog is this. Recently, CD sales is incredibly decreasing because of the popularization of MP3. But, there is one medium that increase its sales. It is vinyl. People started to revaluate vinyls for some reasons. What is the factor of this movement?

I also want to talk about recent movement of DJ culture. For example, Ustream allow people to broadcast their music anytime, anywhere. How does it affect on current music scene?

If I find something interesting related to DJ or music culture, I would like to discuss it.

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