The Collector Series: Ryan Harris’s vinyl records collection

The Collector Series: Ryan Harris’s vinyl records collection

The Collector Series: Ryan Harris’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 collection and a few words about your records collection to webstore@vinyloftheday.com.

Ryan Harris

Location: Jacksonville, FL (about to move to Dallas, TX in a few weeks though!)

Size of records collection: Somewhere between 3,200 and 3,600 records,  400-500 cassettes, 200-300 CDs, and around 100 8-tracks. I own many film scores from all over the world, every single -official- Tangerine Dream album, all Enigma albums released on vinyl, and am into much more: stoner metal, black metal, deep house, shangaan electro, IDM, new age, psychedelic, krautrock, French disco, modern classical, experimental and avante garde,  Italian horror scores, etc.  I love music!

vinyl records collection

Tell us a bit more about yourself

I have an intelligent and amazing eight year old son, I work for a cigar manufacturer, travel a whole lot for work, and in my free time compose my own music as well as scores for indie films and documentaries.  (If interested, my work can be heard at ryanharrismusic.bandcamp.com)

What started your interest in music?

I clearly recall hearing Enigma’s MCMXC a.D. at a friend’s birthday party in 1991 and that caused so much intrigue and excitement in my brain that I knew I had to hear more. That lead me to Vangelis, Brian Eno, Tangerine Dream, Bill Leeb & Rhys Fulber, and just kept going.

How long have you been collecting?  

Off and on for twenty+ years.

What does your records collection mean to you?  

A hell of a lot.  Music has always been there for me no matter what.  I love creating, listening to, researching, and understanding music.  It is also very exciting to share in the music with my son.

There isn’t much else like coming home to a calm, quiet morning with records and coffee after a long week out in bustling airports, lifeless hotel rooms, and stale corporate meetings.  If you haven’t experienced this before: buy Gone To Earth by David Sylvian, wake up at 5am on a Saturday morning after a busy week, brew some coffee, and put on the second record (sides C & D) of the 2 LP album.  You will soon understand the Hearts of Space mantra of “slow music for fast times,” and what that does for you mentally.

vinyl records collection

What’s your philosophy behind collecting records and how has that evolved since you started collecting up until the present day?

I think it has turned into another fad, unfortunately.  When you have Wal-Mart and clothing stores in malls selling turntables, and restaurants like Cracker Barrel selling vinyl – the market is in trouble.  It is overly saturated, currently driven by collectibility rather than quality of art, and must implode again at some point.  Records are just too expensive now. On average, new records used to cost me $14-20 and now I spend $24-36 per new record.  Used records are awful to buy these days too because everyone has heard records are back in fashion, so dollar bins have become five dollar bins.  I don’t know how many times I’ve been told when record shopping “These things are really collectible!  Everyone wants them so these are great prices!”  Aside from my negative view of the popularity of the market, it is wonderful to see all the new music being released, as well as all the amazing “long-lost” music that labels like Light In The Attic and Numero Group are discovering and shedding light on.  Turn off the radio and television and find some new music!

vinyl records collection

If you could only take three records from your collection to listen for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?

Enigma – MCMXC a.D.  Like I said above, this is the album that really excited me about music.  It still sounds wonderful today.

Wavestar – Moonwind. There are plenty of records similar in style to Moonwind, but this album just captures everything I love about sentimental, instrumental albums.   It sounds like you laid a Tangerine Dream record over a Pink Floyd album, and they some how magically synched.

Brian Eno – Apollo Atmospheres & Soundtracks.  One of the first records I ever bought, and one of my most spun albums by far.  There’s nothing better to spin at 6am on a Saturday morning while enjoying some coffee and looking out at the sky.

vinyl records collection

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

I’m sure I have passed up great records I should have purchased, but I am really very happy with all the amazing music I own.  Are there more records I want?  Absolutely. But I shop with patience.  

Any tips for other record collectors out there?  

Be patient!  Don’t rush to pay flipper prices and support gouging. Eventually you can always find what you want at a price you’re willing to pay.  And PLAY your records.  There are too many collectible records being shoved onto display shelves, and they’re not being heard.  Get a record cleaner, buy some old records you’ve never heard – and explore.

It’s become so tough for me to sum up my records collection these days because I have so much diversity in my collection.  I don’t but diverse albums to be difficult, I simply am always excited by hearing new and old music from all over the world…so I strongly encourage any record listener to expand out and try things far from their normal genres and what their friends are listening to.

vinyl records collection

Find out more about Ryan Harris via these links:



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