The Collector Series: Cloud Danko ‘s vinyl records collection

The Collector Series is a photography and interview project documenting vinyl records collectors in their most natural and intimate environment. Want to get featured on #vinyloftheday? Send us a photo of your records collection and a few words about your records collection to webstore@vinyloftheday.com.

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Name: Cloud Danko

Location: Bari, Italy

Size of collection: approx. 3000 LPs / 1000 45s

Tell us a bit more about yourself:
I’m 34 years old and I live in Bari, a city in South Italy.
I’m obsessed with music and, in addition to collecting vinyl, I am a DJ. This allowed me to play my records in some of the most important festivals in southern Italy along with great DJs such as GrandMaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, Bobbito Garcia, Nicola Conte and much more.

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What started your interest in music? Is there any interesting story or history behind it?
In my family, none of my relatives is particularly interested in music. On the other hand, I got passionate about it at a very early age. When I was a little child I started listening to cartoon themes, and my parents bought me a portable 45’s record player called “Penny”, which I still own.
In the mid-nineties, I discovered Hip Hop culture, which is still alive in me. It allowed me to develop my passion for vinyl and gave me the opportunity to start djing.

How long have you been collecting?
I bought my first vinyl record in 1996: it was a Beatnuts’ instrumental album which I used to record a tape with my first rap group. I was 13 years old and, since then, I’ve never stopped digging for records…we can call it dedication.
Back in 2000, I went to my first record fair and now I never miss one in my area.
Moreover, every Sunday the alarm is set for 6 am because I visit flea markets – each time I hope to catch some treat to add to my collection.

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What does your collection mean to you?
Well… I think it is the same for every record collector – a big part of life which demands a lot of sacrifice and dedication.
I’m not that kind of guy that stores away his records. I need them in my house, very close to me.
I’m not even the type of ‘collector/seller’ who buys some records and then sells them after few years.
Every single vinyl tells something about my musical story and its evolution; that’s why they are very important to me, even though I might not spin them anymore.

What’s your philosophy behind collecting records and how has that evolved since you started collecting up until the present day?
I used to listen to a lot of rap music from the 90’s and I’m lucky enough to know great DJs from my city such as Dj Argento – and these allowed my musical knowledge to get bigger and better. Now I also listen to funk, spiritual jazz, soul, afrobeat, psychedelic music and so forth.
I like to collect original pressings, and this means that I can’t afford a lot of expensive records. However, I think that quality in music is not about the price; there are so many great albums that are cheap. I’d rather have these ones – and I’m perfectly aware that you can’t have everything.

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Share with us your (current) top 3 records and why?

That’s a tough question for a collector since the answer could change depending on several factors such as the stage of life you’re in, the ‘sentimental value’ you give to a record and many other things. I’m sure that, three years from now, my answer will be quite different, but now I would say:

1. Alice Coltrane – Ptah, The El Daoud. When you listen to this album, you enter a new dimension where the notes gently hold you the way only a mother or the woman of your life can do. Marvellous!

2. Yussef Kamaal – Black Focus. I used to listen to music from the 60’s and the 70’s, but in the last ten years the new international jazz scene – English and American above all – has become interesting and prolific, producing a lot of new artists and projects – and this makes me very happy. Black Focus is on top of my list, even though the group recently split up.

3. Wu Tang Clan – Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). A rap album must be included in this Top 3. When I first listened to it, 20 years ago, I was 14 years old; it was like a punch in the stomach. Back then, it widened my horizon.

Any tips for other record collectors out there?

Just two words: patience and perseverance. I’m talking to all of the diggers.

You can have a lot of money and even buy rare records paying a high price or you can find it in second-hand goods for just few bucks, which is way more satisfying. I was patient enough to catch some rarities, especially Italian music, just going to flea markets. Here’s few examples: the original press of Guido e Maurizio De Angelis “La Polizia Incrimina, La Legge Assolve”, which I paid 10 €, “What’s New” by Italian drummer Gil Cuppini and “The Best Modern Jazz in Italy 1962” by Sestetto Basso-Valdambrini, for 5 € each.

Do you have any regrets about not buying any particular records?

I’d say yes – especially for “SXM” from the Italian rap group Sangue Misto. It is one of the milestones in the Italian rap music. I could’ve bought it 15 years ago for a reasonable price but I never really looked for it.
Nowadays the best Italian rap records are worth a lot of money and “SXM” costs an arm and a leg, and I’m not willing to spend a crazy amount of money for that.
Maybe one day I’ll find it at some flea market…

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Check out Cloud Danko via:

https://www.instagram.com/cloud_danko/
www.facebook.com/danko.dj1/
www.mixcloud.com/clouddanko/

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