Johan Thelander Discaholic interview – april 2015
Are you an official discaholic? Is there such a thing? What categorize a discaholic?
Yes. I definately think there is such as thing as being a discaholic. when basically all your sparetime goes into looking for that particular title, countless hours of searching and that it effects your mood in someways. and the relief and joy you feel when finding that lp – I cant describe all the emotions it starts, I can not put words on that lovely feeling when you find a long time wanted vinyl. I think that a good way to describe my discaholic diagnosis is that every Friday when a certain recordstore puts out their weekly update of records on the web, I´m always at a meeting at the school where I work , so I have the feeling- seriously – every thursday evening, that I want to quit my job (and I love my work with kids) so that I don’t miss any vinyls the coming day at that update. Also one thing that comes with the sickdom is the horrible time perspective connected to it, ”just ten minutes” in a recordstore is in real life actually represented by a couple of hours. And I can forget my passport when traveling but would never forget the list to the different record stores of the places I´m going to. Also a discaholic has a sixth sense of finding records and record stores – every time you go somewhere you always find opportunities to do some diggin. So yes I admit; Hi my name is Johan, and I´m a discaholic. But loving every bloody second of it, because music is the most beautiful thing mankind has created.
When did you start collect? How come you started to collect vinyls?
My father always collected records and he also writes about music, so records and music have always been a huge part in our home and life and I was always fascinated by them. He doesn´t play any instruments but he collects and still does. Early on I remember how I always loved to go to the recordstores with him, to hear all the adults listen and talk about music. Album coverart always fascinated me, especially I remember how I thought that Miles´s ”Bitches Brew” cover was the coolest piece of art I´ve ever seen. At first I was strictly just into hiphop, but sometimes when my father played some jazz, fusion or rock I could recognize elements from my hiphop records, in a way that I understood that the hiphop I listened to, came from samples. That lead me to take interest in and discover a lot of music from different genres. At first I collected cd´s since it was newly released stuff (hiphop) and it was cheaper to buy the music on cd than on the vinyl release, and I wanted to hear and get as much hiphop as I could. But when getting into samples and so I found out that it was easier to find that ”old” stuff, the sources to the beats I were digging, on vinyl so it gradually slided over more and more to vinyl in my early adulthood. And once you got hooked on it, it´s no turning back, the sound, the feel of having it in your hands, the large cool cover art, to see the record spin on the turntable, you can’t get that thing with a cd. I think I somehow know it would be vinyl in the end, because when it came to hiphop I wasn´t much interested in the rappers, I was always more fascinated by the DJ. Take the classic rap group RUN DMC as an example: I never cared so much about Run or Dmc, I always felt Jam Master Jay – the DJ- were the coolest of them three. So the vinyl collection grew… and for the last ten years it´s basically been strictly vinyl (unless the music is only released on cd)… My father and I still goes to different jazzconcerts together and we haven’t missed many record fairs in stockholm over the last couple of years, and now it´s even more fun to go record hunting together when we are both listening mainly to jazz music.
Was vinyl the first thing you collected?
Nope, I collected comics as a kid and only the comic magazine – ”Fantomen” (The Phantom). I ran around with homemade lists of magazines I didn’t have, crossin it off one after another from the list – in the end I managed to get a complete collection of all released magazines between 1978 – 1998! I can definitely see similarities to my record collecting behaviours as an adult today…
Are you specialised in any categories or genres ?
Both yes and no. I listen to and collect a lot of different music. But the last years it´s mostly been about Swedish jazz, from 1950 and forward to this day.
Jazz in general is my main thing and my biggest record fix. But I also love and collect Reggae especially Dub and also some Psychedelica/Prog/Rock/Soul and World music of different kinds. Hiphop of course, that´s what started it all and I still love it.
Any fav formats? I know for a fact that you collect 7” ´s, since you and I are sometimes going for the same items when we look for stuff in Sweden.
I love 7” singles/eps! but my favorite format is actually 10”´s – its smaller than the 12”s and therefor easier to handle and you get the often beautiful cover art in a slightly larger size than the 7”.
Lathe cuts, cassettes, flexis, reel-to- reels or 8 – tracks… what is the best alternative to a regular vinyl release?
Of course I prefer vinyl but my discaholic diagnose is more connected to the music than the format. During my childhood/youth in the 90´s I loved cassette tapes, a lot of mix tapes were made in my youth. I always gave people cassettes, played them in school and recorded stuff from the radio. But I haven’t bought a cassette tape in years, to be honest. They are a bit unpractical and soundwise the best alternative to vinyl is cd´s in my ears. I don’t hate cd as many vinyl collectors do. I have a couple of thousand of them. and I still buy some new music on cd – if there are no release on vinyl. One of my favorite albums from last year – Leo Lindberg´s trio ”Leo´s bag” (Stockholm jazz records), were only released on cd for example and it is a highly recommended album, that no discaholic who likes jazz should miss only because it´s not released on vinyl.
What is so appealing with EP´s ?
One part is the active listening that the format demands, it´s quite short so you cant sit down – you must be there, standing by the reord player and just listen. you cant do the laundry or the dishes at the same time, cause there are not much more than 3-5 minutes of time. Then you have to change the side or the record. So that you can fully let the music take over your senses.
Another major argument is that much of the music that can be found on ep´s has never been released on lp´s. The unique cover art is also an important aspect of my obsessions with ep´s. Swedish jazz ep´s often has the most beautiful photos, often taken by Bengt H. Malmqvist (the Swedish Francis Wolff!) or the cool graphic design by Stig Söderqvist or Nisse Skog. And they don’t take up too much space either in our apartment. This is an aspect that my beloved family probably appreciate, haha…
Why do you think people don’t collect EP´s more frequently ? I find it very fascinating that not more collectors are hooked up and obcessed to this format.
I believe that many collectors are audiophiles and when it come to ep´s - especially swedish jazz ep´s from the fifties – you cant be too picky about the sound quality. There´s gonna be some hissing from the pressings and often some marks on them, but collectors will be missing out on a lot of good stuff! Like Abeleen´s ”Pia” (from ”It´s soul time ep”) or the Swedish modern jazz masterpiece ”Stormvarning” on the Nils Lindberg ep. A soundtrack to the Swedish television show ”Farlig kurs”. It is such an epic song! or Lars Färnlöfs orchestra version of ”Att angöra en brygga”. I nearly cry every time I hear it…
What gives you the buzz?
Whenever Pär (at Swejazz) says he has gotten something that would interest me…
What is your dream find :
Of existing vinyls ?
Ep: Bosse Wärmell/Bertil Lövgren – Blue train/Rue Chaptal
Lp: Sven Hessle/Gilbert Holmström – Grekisk rapsodi/Novotek, Holmström is such an great saxophone player – his debut lp ”Utan misstankar” is one of the best swedish jazz lp´s ever recorded.
My dream in the end is to have complete catalogues of Monica Zetterlund and of course Lars Gullin.
Of non- existing vinyls?
In 1970-71 there were plans of a record with Gullin and Zetterlund, with texts by Olle Adolphson that could have been some outer world stuff, but it never happened sadly.
If Jimi Hendrix hadn´t died and he and Miles had recorded an album together, like they were planning. And there are so much live stuff I would love to see on lp, especially from the days of ”Gyllene Cirkeln” in Stockholm . For example it would be cool to hear a recording of Karin Krog when she played there in may 1964. And I would love to see what would have happened if Börje Fredriksson had gotten a longer life, and the same goes for Coltrane of course.
How do you buy your records mostly? eBay? Local shops? Internet shops? Friends?
It´s been strictly local shops or when travelling somewhere, in real shops. Sometimes from friends or other collectors, until now. Since I started an Instagram page where I post my records I´ve made a lot of connections to good and friendly collectors around the globe and some tradin has taken place. It´s getting harder and harder to find my wants so eventually I probably must go more online. just registrated as a user at ebay for instance and won my first auction (a Gullin 10inch on Prestige and payed peanuts for it!).
But I´m not really happy about the online activity, the physical digging plays a major role in my discaholic diagnose. I wanna see the records, browse thru them and talk and interact with the shop keeper and people in the shops. The best deals are done over a friendly chat about music while sharing a coffee and you can´t get that on eBay or discogs. When an auction is over at eBay your hands are still clean. I don´t like it. I love to get my fingers muddy and dirty from the actual diggin!
I always used the internet for music research, figuring out/comparing prices etc.
One of my favorite thing is to browse through the cover collection archive over at Birkajazz… And I can read discographies and session listings for hours on the net.
Do you have a network of people to trade with?
Not at the moment, but I am slowly building more and more relations with other discaholics. I have made some trades and exchanges but not so many, so I ´m not very familiar with this aspects of the discaholic behaviour. Yet… I may add. Gettin´ there eventually.
Is trading records the most fun you can have with your clothes on?
Probably. Like I said above, my experience in that field is quite limited.
Is trading records the ultimate intimacy?
I would say that to sit with any other discaholic and discuss, listen and maybe trade some records is an intimacy that is hard to beat. To share music with each other is like sharing a bit of your souls to each other.
Describe a perfect hunting day!
Coffee (don´t do anything without it first) firstly! After a pretty long breakfast with the family I go and have a quick workout at the gym. Then hit the charity store nearby the gym (never findin anything but it´s also a place where ”gold” can be found) then continue on to a couple of stores in town, digging – having another cup of coffee – and chat with the owners and other people in the stores, then onwards to the next recordstore and the pattern repeats itself… finishing at Bromma records were it easily turns out to be an all evening hangout.
Vinyl, good people and coffee!
How do you sort your collection? Alphabetical? Genre? Chronological?
Every option above. It´s a bit of a mess at the moment, genres/labels/alphabetical some things connected to the mood I ´m in. But I actually know were things are, so it´s workin for me. I keep track on my records in some mysterious way.
Can discaholism be cured ?
Did Coltrane play the trumpet?
no way. impossible
What record can set off a war?
Any Beatles record that will surface and that only exists in one copy – cause those Beatles collectors seems to be dead serious, not just metaphorically speaking…
What record would create world peace?
John Coltrane – A Love Supreme.
What record has changed your life most dramatically?
Dr Dre – the Chronic, my first album and the one that started it all. Hiphop lead me on to the wonderful world of jazz or all music I guess…
For the best ?
John Coltrane – A Love Supreme, It played an important part at my wedding last summer. And it´s essential in my life.
For the worst?
No, can´t remember one. Someones trash is another ones treasure…
What records do I wanna steal from your collection?
Most of the jazz I think you already have so it probably should be the two best swedish rap records ever made. I don´t think you have them in your collection and I think you should Firstly a 12” with Ayo and the track Värsterort (Topaz),a classic end of the subway´s Blue Line anthem! and secondly a lp by The Latin Kings – I skuggan av betongen (Redline Records).
What record do you wanna steal from the discaholic website?
Several . For example the Lasse Lystedt ”Krypto” ep that never got an official release. But there´s especially one grail I know that you possess that you have been writing about in Orkester Journalen in your Vaxdax column – ”Jubileumsskivan” with Zetterlund, maybe only one existing copy so that means I will never be able to have a complete Zetterlund collection, that sucks haha…
Do you have a favorite tool/ knife to open your packages (eBay/ trading parcels arriving w the mail) with?
It´s only one tool for parcels and packages – the good ol´ Stanley knife!
Do you have a routine / method while opening the packages – or do you just eagerly trash it all open?
Always make coffee first! I must have time to really enjoy it, open it, feel it, smell it, weigh it in my hand, study the cover, read the liner notes and then listen to it.
Do you have a special record bag with you when you shop? waterproof? earthquake proof?
I have a recordbag from the british label Soul Jazz records. I got it in their store ”Sounds of the Universe” in London. Since it is from the UK it keeps away water pretty well. But
I´m planning on getting a new one. I have one in mind, if only the recordshop will sell it to me….
I have seen your beautiful Trane tattoo on your arm – can we expect more tattoos with a vinyl / jazz connection in the future ? I considered for a while to make a 7” – in full size, with grooves and all….
haha you definitely should do that, a 7” would be nice! Just be aware that tattoos can be equally as addictive as records, once you start you´re hooked. So, to answer the question; yes, my next tattoo will be a portrait of Monica Zetterlund, probably the picture from the Swedish Sensation ep… and there will be some kind of tribute to the dub master/inventor – King Tubby- in the future.
But I have already several other music tattoos. Basically you could say that all my tattoos are either politically related or musically, many times both combined!
What is the first section you hit, while arriving to a vinyl shop, where you have never been before?
After a quick glance at ”The Wall”, I go and ask if they have any boxes with Jazz ep´s…
Then the jazz lp section.
Either the Reggae/Dub or the
World/folk section, I´m always looking for Middle Eastern records. My absolute favorite singer is actually the lebanese singer Fairuz…
The section where you would never look in?
Country or Heavy Metal.
What is your favorite record shop in the world? Why?
Golous Skivbörs in Stockholm. I rarely find anything there anymore but it is more for sentimental reasons and the fact that I have been going there since before I was 10 with my father. So, for over 20 years has that store provided me with records. A hangout. Micke, who runs it, has opened my eyes to so much good stuff over the years. I don’t think I have bought anything there the last year or so, but I pop in there at least once a week to say hi and discuss music, life and politics.
If in stockholm; there are four stores you cant miss, all runned by wonderful people with knowledge and they are like my second home. They are so much more than just recordshops. You have Mats and Pär at Swejazz/Bromma records, the whole crew at Recordmania, Jörgen and Marianne at Mj Retro and the Master of jazz; Harald at Andra Jazz, that has a selection that probably is hard to beat even in a worldwide context.
Favorite city for vinyl hunting?
Apart from my hometown Stockholm, it is Gothenburg. There are always great titles floating around in that city. Lovely shopkeepers and better prices than in Stockholm. As a child I used to travel there together with my father to buy records. My brother in law lives there so I got the chance to go there and dig a couple of times every year.
London is a favorite too. I always find great ska, rocksteady and dub there. I dream about digging in Beirut, Tokyo and Istanbul. Three cities I´ve decided that I must go too just for discaholic reasons.
Give us a list of your 5 favorite:
The ones I´ve enjoyed the most over time or at certain stage in my life is in no particular order;
Lars Gullin – Danny´s Dream, Jan Johansson – Mäster Johans gata 12 (spridda skurar!). Staffan Abeleen Quintet – it´s soultime (for the song ”Pia”), Nils Lindberg – Jazz in Tv time (the version of Taboo, and also one of the first time you hear Maffy on a Swedish recording!). Lars Gullin & Monica Zetterlund – Med andra ord ep (two giants together, what could possibly go wrong?!?).
Honorable mention; Miles Davis – Ascenseur pour l´échafaud. Monica Zetterlund – Taklagsskivan (one of my rarest ep´s). But I could go on for hours probably. Lists like this is damn hard to make. To narrow it all down to just five?!? Impossible
Metronome, Blue Note, Impulse, Death Row Records and Studio One.
Lars Gullin compositions:
This was a tricky one hehe… ”Danny´s Dream”, ”Late Summer”, ”Fine together”, ”Dyningar” (Kullhammar Quartet has made a lovely version that´s worth mentioning!) and ”Prima vera”.
Is this interview too long?
Haha maybe a bit but I enjoyed it all the way, more concerned about the readers though…
Do you work with a wantlist ?
Oh yes, I have several. For different genres, artists, labels…
Top want ep´s jazz:
Jan Henning – Indiana (Columbia), Gullin´s Polydor ep and the one with Jutta Hipp. Bernt Rosengren – The new Beat Generation. Lars Werner – Point of View. Staffan Abeleen – Djingis Khan.
Lp´s: there are so many… but to mention just one – it would be Monica Zetterlund – Swedish Sensation (Columbia).
One of the records I´ve been searching the most after is actually a cd (never been released on vinyl). I had it when it came out in 1994 but it´s been lost for over ten years now. It´s Latin Kings first album in its Spanish version. If anybody out there has a copy, please let me know I start to go crazy because of it! How hard can it be to find a bloody cd??
One thing about wantlists or discaholic diagnosis is that general rule that could be applied to it; for every record you buy, it leads you to two new ones that you want. So it´s a never ending cycle. It is a gift and a curse, and I´m lovin´it!
What in your discaolism behaviours havent you told us about yet? Anything you want to share with us ?
The social aspect of it – it wouldn´t be the same if it wasn´t for all the people – discaholics, collectors, musiclovers I´ve meet thru the years.
The interaction with people that you probably wouldn´t have met otherwise. But you have gotten to know them because of a shared interest in music and record collecting, That is the the most beautiful aspects of discaholism.
Who do you wanna see get interviewed in this serie of discaholic interviews?
Elena Wolay – Jazz är farligt! She seems to have such an eclectic and diverse taste and deep knowledge. And all the work she´s doing for the swedish jazz/impro music scene is just amazing! Big ups!
Why arent there more female vinyl collectors around?
Hard to know for sure but one of the aspects is the overall inequality in society between the genders and that leads to that male dominated environments. So it is not up for grabs for everyone…
Record collecting has been so male dominated (especially by middle aged, rich white men) for such a long time that I think women either doesn’t feel welcomed in that sphere or aren´t allowed to be let in (by the men). one of the most ”non welcome” areas in society are those were men are in majority. Just look at a crowd in football – it isn´t that women doesn’t like football but…. If you try to go to a stadium during a derby as a woman… that isn’t a very fun experience. And I think the same goes for record stores, record fairs and so on… that´s fucked up.
Music and record collecting should be open to all, to collect. It should be fun. And the whole discaholic experience get so much deeper, fun and learnable thru the meetings and sharings with other people.
What record is closest to sex?
”Olé Coltrane” or Lil Kims debut album.
Which one is no sex at all?
anything with The Beatles.