05 Nov The Collector Series: Pablo Balibrea’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 email@example.com. We have Pablo Balibrea (@ravenflow) for this week feature, read below.
Name: Pablo Balibrea
Location: Murcia, Spain
Size of 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 singles.
Tell us a bit more about yourself:
I am a very passionate person for all the things I love: My family, my job and music.
I am married to a beautiful woman named Noemí and we have a three-year-old daughter named Adriana.
I have a degree in Psychology and have worked as a teacher for people with Down Syndrome since I was 24, participating in amazing projects and experiences such as preparing them to get a job, creating a TV show for YouTube where they are the stars and teaching everything about social networks and Instagram to name only a few.
Right now I am 39 and count music, video games and running as my big passions.
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. Rapid, passionate and extremely creative, the quality of the interactions you can get there is nearly impossible to find on any other online outlet.
You can follow my musical recommendations on my Instagram account @Ravenflow.
What started your interest in music? Is there any interesting story or history behind it?
I have always been a huge music collector.
My parents are huge music fans and always presented me the most diverse music giving me amazing memories, like making pictures with my father while listening to Dire Straits and their “Sultans of Swing” or enjoying drives to school with my mother while enjoying Leonard Cohen´s works.
We never had a turntable at home, so I had tons of cassettes and CDs. When MP3 and Internet downloads started, MP3 killed my purchase habit and helped me to invest my money in video games, movies and to make my first travels, allowing me to get other experiences.
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 we decided we wanted to expose her to music. We wanted to take it seriously so I decided it was time to redeem myself for all pirate years. It was time to start making a nice 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 Amy Winehouse or Spanish indie sensation Carlos Sadness and clearly states that she wants a pink turntable with pink, blue and red records once she grows up a little bit more.
How long have you been collecting?
I have been collecting vinyl for two years.
As you can see, I haven´t been wasting my time…
What does your collection mean to you?
It means a lot because it is attached to feelings, moments and I treat it as a family thing.
Our collection reflects the history of three lives and our common moments. It contains records we had when we were kids, mythical artists of our teenage years and shared moments of concerts and travels we made.
It also reflects crazy sales, blind purchases and purchases of massive records hauls that explain some records we would have never acquired normally.
Finally, some of our records reflect our interest to keep growing and exploring some genres that were not a core part of our regular indie and rock spirit. A good example of this would a niche batch of jazz basics we purchased last month that we have been playing non-stop since then.
What’s your philosophy behind collecting records and how has that evolved since you started collecting up until the present day?
When we began, the focus was to catch some of the records of our lives: The unmissable. However, some of those records we wanted were not available to buy… And we found out there was something called reissue and started being aware of the loops that needed to be filled. We also learned there were records that hadn´t been released on vinyl previously.
Also on those beginnings, some of our favourite artists released new works, so we hopped on the new LP schedule and started paying attention to the new records that were coming.
One day we discovered the great opportunities in the second-hand market and started getting some crazy deals that couldn’t be missed. A nice example was a man that got rid of a great record collection of 600 records for 200 euros simply “because it brought back bad memories”.
Internet and online shops broke the filter with some of their occasional fire sales and also made us experience the comfort of getting your records delivered at your door.
As I told you, the philosophy is to give our little one opportunities to grow surrounded by the most diverse music. Nowadays, we have a very open mind and the door is open to buy new releases, basic records, to explore new genres, to catch some unplanned purchases on heavily discounted records… There are no specific limitations here.
My wife is always worried we might have storage problems one day but she is also very supportive of the hobby and she enjoys having such a musical home as a living space.
Share with us your current top 3 records and tell us why they are your favorite?
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 to plant the seeds and the what ifs of vinyl collecting one day.
Records my wife has given me as a 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.
Was there ever a record you had a chance to buy and now regret passing in it?
My wife knows me. She knows how boring and repetitive I can be with things I regret.
She tends to allow me to buy everything I want but she also helps we to control myself when I am overexcited with records we don´t need and also helps me to catch great opportunities when I have to.
That way, I am happy to say I don´t have many big regrets.
I let pass by some overpriced RSD releases that my rational side prevented me from buying. I also have mixed feelings about letting pass the “Across the Universe Soundtrack”, one of our favourite movies; that release only included half of the movie songs, missing some of our most beloved tracks, so I made the call of waiting indefinitely until a full release is announced… even if it never arrives.
Any tips for other record collectors out there?
If you want to enter the vinyl world, find and try all the possible turntables until you can and find a setup that fits your necessities and your budget. Vinyl offers an amazing sound but there are many low budget turntables that don’t reach any reasonable standards; there are also many affordable turntables that provide good quality, so try as many as you can and find the one that is made for you.
Always count on the records you really want and buy records you are really going to enjoy and spin all the time. Be honest to you, there is no point on having amazing records that you are perfectly aware you are never going to give a chance.
Avoid buying everything at the default price. Every now and then, every shop offers nice discounts even on new releases so, if you want a large collection, this is the way to go… unless you are rich. Also, bear in mind and accept that sometimes you will not be able to restrain yourself if a specific release is very important to you.
Find record shops that offer the best material, deals and discounts and keep supporting those shops.
Check flea markets, online second-hand websites covering areas near you and similar. Don’t be afraid to haggle and fight for the best deals. Pay special attention to hauls of boxes of quick sellers that are not looking to speculate with their records.
Take care of your collection. Use the brush before spinning, learn to clean records properly and don´t be lazy to invest some money in plastic bags to protect your collection.
Create an Instagram and share the records you buy. This is optional but there is a large and beautiful Instagram community around vinyl records that will help you with any doubt or questions you have. If you enjoy this social part of the vinyl collection, be original and creative with your posts and don’t be afraid to show yourself on some of your photos.
Vinyl collecting is a crazy world, so find a partner in crime. Mine is my wife Noemí, that is well invested into the hobby too but also gives me second views about everything and brings some sense when I become crazy with sales or when I get lazy about getting a good deal. A partner in crime will also remind you of the most important thing of all: Listen to your music and share those moments with a nice glass of wine. Buying, getting good prices, nice deals, hauls, posting on Instagram are great meta hobbies… but don’t forget to enjoy music and share your passion with your loved ones.
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