27 Sep The Collector Series: Aga’s vinyl records collection
The Collector Series: Aga’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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name: Agasyah Karim, or Aga to my family and friends—and that includes you!
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia.
Size of collection: 800-ish.
Tell us a bit more about yourself:
I’m a screenwriter who lives in the suburbs of Jakarta with my wife, our 8 y.o. son, our three dogs, pet catfish, some plants, books, and, of course, plenty of music.
What started your interest in music? Is there any interesting story or history behind it?
When I was 5, my family moved to Surabaya, a city 800km away from Jakarta. My aunt, a huge music fan who was attending college in a different city, regularly sent my mom, her older sister, homemade mixtapes. These tapes were invariably filled with The Beatles, soft rock tunes from the ’60s and ’70s, and of course plenty of hits of the day (this being the mid-80s, new wave and synth pop reigned supreme). My mom would play these tapes all the time, in the car and at home, and they undoubtedly formed my interest in music.
How long have you been collecting?
I started collecting music since I was ten. Cassette was my format of choice back then. (First album bought with my own money: The Simpsons Sing The Blues.) I got a turntable before I even had a cd player. My first pick-up—part of this cheap, Indonesian-made mini hifi system—was a birthday present from my dad, which I got in the mid-90s. In the years that followed I was listening mainly to my dad’s record collection, buying used records every now and then. (First vinyl records bought: Tears For Fears’ Songs From The Big Chair and The Moody Blues’ Long Distance Voyager.) I started collecting seriously, with my current set up, from around 2005.
What does your collection mean to you?
“No Music, No Life”. Not my line, mind you, but one that is displayed in huge letters in front of Tower Records in Shibuya, Tokyo. Pretty much says it all for me.
What’s your philosophy behind collecting records and how has that evolved since you started collecting up until the present day?
Over the years, my record buying principle has stayed pretty much the same: get what you like, and try not to damage your wallet too much in doing so, heheh. One thing that has certainly evolved, though, is the infrastructure around me. Twenty years ago, there was only one physical place to look for records in Jakarta. Today, there’s at least a couple of dozen record shops scattered across the city. Most major cities in Indonesia now have at least one record store, and even more so online. More classic Indonesian albums are being reissued on wax. Hifi components and vinyl care kits have become more readily available. All in all, it’s a quite good time to be a vinyl collector in Indonesia.
Share with us your current top records and tell us why they are your favorite?
Transs – Hotel San Vicente (1981/2018 reissue)
Blending AOR, jazz fusion and bossa nova, eight-piece group Transs was one of the pioneers of the musical style we Indonesians fondly call “pop kreatif”. They were sadly short-lived, Hotel San Vicente being their sole album. The original vinyl version—like most Indonesian pop albums of the era—was released only as a promotional copy and in limited quantity, so I thank the Maker for this reissue. The source was a needle drop, but Groovyrecord, the European reissue label, managed to procure some clean vinyl copies for this purpose, and the new digital master was nicely remastered at MPO, France. If you’re a fan of Japanese city pop or Brazilian boogie from the 80s, this will be right up your alley.
The WIAIWYA 7777777 7″ Singles Club
I’m a huge indie pop fan, so I always have a soft spot for the 7″ format. The WIAIWYA 7777777 is, for my money, one of the best singles club around today. In 2018—its seventh, and sadly final, year—the record label has assembled what arguably is the series’ finest line up, promising us new songs from ’90s twee Britpoppers Spearmint, Sarah Records’ mainstays The Orchids, ex-Weather Prophet Pete Astor, and, my personal favorite, the Saint Etienne spin-off act, Birdie.
Was there ever a record you had a chance to buy and now regret passing in it?
Oh lots. But the one that sticks the most is probably Super Furry Animals’ Hey Venus!, which I spotted at a record shop in Melbourne, Australia, a couple of years ago. I deemed the price tag way too high—only to find later on that it kept on spiking, to the point where the current tag makes the one I saw back then seems like a miracle bargain. But, you know, as Emerson, Lake & Palmer wisely said, c’est la vie.
Any tips for other record collectors out there?
Taking care of your vinyl records is a must, but don’t forget your hifi components. Those cool-looking rows of records won’t mean much if your amp’s got a busted cap, or your turntable’s belt is all stretched.
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