45/7 — A vinyl excursion
Instead of just posting a new mixtape without much more information (as I usually would), this one deserves a bit of context. I did this as an improvised one-take live mix for DJ Felox’ 45/7 Vinyl Club, and I’m glad he also asked me a few questions that help me explain my attitude towards the whole “45s only” thing that is happening these days. So here’s what I told him.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your record collection.
Oh, well, hi! I do a lot of things, but for the most part I write about music (e.g. for JUICE magazine, redbull.com/music and many more), I work for Hamburg’s Spektrum Festival (https://www.facebook.com/spektrum.ms) and I play music. Sometimes I even just listen to it. I started getting into rap music around 1990 or 1991, which in turn made me discover funk, soul and jazz records as soon as I figured out how this sampling thing worked. After that, it kind of gets blurry — electronic music from house to deep, dark bass stuff, African, Turkish and Persian music, but also rock, metal and whatever. A certain groove is the one thing connecting all of it.
I wouldn’t consider myself a serious collector, but I still might have some four thousand records in my music room, across all formats and genres. For the past ten years, I’ve been trying to keep my collection at a more or less constant size, so I keep sorting out stuff while still adding new records. In the long run I like the idea of only keeping a core collection of a few (a few hundred maybe) really, really important records, because owning too many things always feels annoying to me. But that might not happen soon.
45/7 is all about celebrating the 7". Can you tell us a bit about what you love about the format.
To be honest, it’s more of a love/hate relationship, and I firmly believe that music is way more important than the format you use to play it. If it’s a good record and you play a shitty MP3 of it on a shitty cell phone speaker, it’s still a good record. So there’s that.
When I deejay, I use digital solutions more often than not, because they allow me to do things and play songs I just couldn’t using vinyl. But every once in a while, it feels really relaxing to play a proper vinyl set, because I’m more connected to the music when it really is under my fingertips, plus, it’s how I learned to be a DJ in the first place, of course. With records, I don’t waste any time thinking about technical stuff beyond »if the needle skips, I’m fucked«. (And nothing skips more easily than a 45 when scratching.)
So I’m not part of the »45s only« movement. But it’s a fun, minimalist format, it’s highly portable, and a lot of music I like to play is available on 7 inch vinyl — sometimes exclusively. Maybe it’s like cycling — there are many more comfortable and flashy ways to get from A to B, but often it’s all you need to have a great time.
One hour of vinyl goodness… can you talk us through your selection for your 45/7 mix?
That sort of just happened when I started playing with some records I had recently bought and played. And it illustrates the importance of break beats — to me, and to hip-hop in general, because many records on here are really heavy on drums. You’ll hear some classics, a lot of remixes and bootleg edits which are pretty self-explanatory, a nice vocoder boogie version of Steely Dan’s »Peg«, and I sprinkled in some random rap goodness like a 1991 B-side by Die Fantastischen Vier (one of the most successful bands in Germany) or the obscure Austrian Herwig & Alois 45 (an early incarnation of Kamp & Whizz Vienna).
Top 5 all time fave records
Oh hell. Let’s go for …
Sly & The Family Stone »There’s A Riot Going On«
The D.O.C. »No One Can Do It Better«
Kendrick Lamar »To Pimp A Butterfly«
Miles Davis »On The Corner«