Discaholic interview Lasse Marhaug feb 2013
– Do you consider yourself as an official discaholic?
Yes I do. I’m a helplessly addicted record collector. I love records and listen to them every day.
- How did your discaholism got started? When? With what ?
Quite early age. Probably when I bought my first KISS records when I was seven. Since then I’ve always collected records. This is going to sound weird, but as a teenager I actually did not start drinking alcohol because I wanted to spend all my money on records. And it stuck. I never started to drink. I’m a teetotaler because of my obsession with records and music. People look at my collection and ask how could I afford it – they know I never had a well-paying job – and I tell them every record equals two beers on a night out.
Do you collect other stuff?
I collect movies, books, and tea. By nature I’m curious and excited by new things, so I’m always getting new stuff. But I’m also a neatness freak, so I keep getting rid of things; selling or giving away to friends. It’s a twin-obsession that I’ve somehow managed to balance.
-What was the first vinyl you bought for your own money?
KISS “Alive 2″
-What was the first vinyl you bought only because of the cover?
KISS “Alive 2″ also. I loved the picture of Gene Simmons with blood smeared on his face and the gatefold with the explosives. I knew it was perfect for me.
- the first noise vinyl?
Weird, but I honestly don’t remember. Might have been a Throbbing Gristle album. I got a lot of noise tapes before noise records. Noise is still a cassette thing for me.
-the first metal vinyl?
Well, I consider KISS to be hard rock, so the first metal was probably an Iron Maiden album. I’m guessing “Powerslave” or “Piece of Mind.” Again the cover art deeply impressed me. Growing up in rural northern Norway I had a huge appetite for monsters, demons, zombies and anything extreme that could break the boredom of my safe surroundings.
-the first free jazz lp/ ep ?
Ornette Coleman/Pat Metheny “Song X”.
-the latest one on vinyl?
On my last day in Tokyo I scored an almost mint copy of Roland Kayn’s “Elektroakustische Projekte.” His music is incredible. Not enough people know about it.
Do you collect all formats?
Yes – CD, tapes, 12”, 10”, 7”, flexi-discs – I think all formats have a specific quality that makes it appealing.
7” singles. Like my friend John Wiese says; ”because when you play them, they last so short there’s nothing to do but listen.”
I swing both ways.
Any 78´s in yr collection?
For the 7″ singles, but not for the LPs. I’ve been saying I’m going to get PVC-sleeves for my LPs the next time I move house, but the truth is that I’m careful with my records, so once they come into my possession they don’t really take much wear.
I’m actually appalled when I see people treating good records carelessly. They think because they own then they can do as they like, but my view is that my records will outlive me, so they’re only in my possession temporarily. They’re cultural artifacts, and it’s our duty to pass them on to the next generation in the best possible condition. Like mother earth.
Alphabetical or Genre?
Genre, of course. I’m strongly against the alphabetical system. It does not work. For example: you’re discussing krautrock with a friend, and you want to browse for some related records, but if you have your records in alphabetical order you can’t do that. I have my German stuff together, so I can easily go through it and find obscure records I’d otherwise forget.
Could you consider another method in categorizing your beasts?
Actually right now I have too many records lined up on the floor. No more room in my shelves. They’re lined up pretty neat, but it’s a sign that I should find a new place to live.
-What do you hit first when entering a new record shop, that you haven’t visited before?
Avant garde / noise.
Classic rock, free/jazz, soul and soundtracks.
- Last / Never?
Reggae and techno/dance music. Never ever.
I don’t smoke dope and I don’t dance.
- What is the most important factor of a vinyl release?
Cover/ Graphic art work?
I collect to listen. I don’t need rare first pressings. I want the best possible quality, both for the cover and the vinyl. Since I’m a visually oriented person (I guess most graphic designers are?) how the cover looks is an important factor. I’m a sucker for sturdy 1970s pressings with tip-on gatefolds. All records tell a story, and I’m attracted to that aspect.
I like record shopping with friends. To make it a social thing. For me it’s good go with people who are more manic and obsessive than me. It makes me feel more normal when my buddy’s stack at the counter is twice my size. But it’s usually the other way around.
What is the biggest score you never made?
I remember a guy in the late 1990s was going to sell a vinyl collection of noise, contemporary and avant garde. He emailed me and I put in an offer. My offer was a bit low, and I didn’t follow up on it, and then he sold the collection to someone else, for a price I could have easily matched. I realized I should have made a bigger first offer and followed up on it. I still regret that.
What is the biggest score you actually made?
That’s actually not a record, but a cassette. I got a copy of the Masonna “Passion of Rubbers” cassette. That release is rare in itself, and I had been looking for it for a long time, but then I scored a copy of the special artist edition of 14 copies in a store in Osaka. I’m still smiling.
How is the vibe when you, for instance, are buying records with another fellow discaholic in a shop, like Paal Nilssen-Love? Are you generous or do you shamelessly go for what you need and don’t care about his/ her needs?
I’m more the generous type. If I’m shopping with someone, and I find a record I know my friend wants more than me, I will let him have it.
How many records did you buy on your latest trip to Japan ?
I usually say I need to get between 100-150 records every time I go there. I save up for it. This time it was probably a little less, but I scored good.
What is your take on limited editions and such?
I have a fairly relaxed relationship to that. If a record is limited and I don’t get it, then it’s not the end of the world. I’m not a completist. I collect to listen, not to have everything. I’ve long since realized I can’t have everything. The pleasure is in the hunt, and whatever I bring back I’ll enjoy.
What existing record shop in the world is your favorite one? Why?
I can’t decide. There are so many I love. They’re like old friends; it’s good to see them all from time to time.
What record shop is the best in the history? The ultimate? Why?
Not sure. If I had a time machine I’d first go back and kill Hitler, then I’d go record shopping in the 60s and 70s.
How is it possible to find time for record producing, book publishing, concert producing, fanzine making AND making noise… are your day 28 hours , compared to others, the usual 24?
The truth is I often feel slow and behind on things. I guess this self-torture is why I get so much done. I’m a morning person. I like getting up early and just starting right to work right away. Inspiration is never an issue.
What record is closest to sex?
Whitehouse ”Total Sex”, obviously.
What record is no sex at all?
I find those mp3-download cards unsexy. I don’t think I ever used one to download anything. “Thank you for buying our vinyl LP. Oh, and here’s a shitty sounding crap mp3-file in case you like that better!” A bonus-CD or hi-res download I can see the point of, but mp3?! Fuck that shit.
What splatter film has the best soundtrack?
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. It’s a totally avant-garde, abstract and weird soundtrack. It could easily have been the work of any post-industrial/noise artists of the early 80s. In fact I believe much of the Wolf Eyes/American Tapes-era noise scene is trying to emulate the gritty feel and sound of that film. That’s the core of their sound.
What artists makes you wanna have their whole discography, to become a completist of someone’s output on vinyl and related formats?
Merzbow, Ennio Morricone, and Sun Ra! Haha, not really. I’m not a completist so it’s not an issue.
Can diskaholism be cured?
Probably not. I’m a record collector for life. I don’t spend more than I can afford, so it’s at level that’s manageable.
The best smelling records ?
I love that smell of 30-40 year old records. It’s just gets my juices going. While I’m glad there’s a lot of classic stuff that’s being reissued these days, the reissues doesn’t have the same smell as the old records. And just like sex smell factors in more strongly than we perhaps realize.
The most wicked labels?
Stomach Ache is my favorite label of all time. Half made-up fake bootleg releases, sloppy noise, weird music and only 7” singles. I love that Karl Marx musical 7″ they did.
Your fav Merzbow releases?
“Noisembryo” and “Artificial Invagination”. Those are Masami Akita at the very top of his game. Both of these are CD-only, and in desperate need of vinyl reissues.
Your fav 70′s rock albums?
This week it’s Fleetwood Mac “Then Play On”, Mike McGear “McGear” and Paul McCartney “Ram”. You’d be surprised how much classic rock I’m into.
Is this interview too long?
If you’ve read my fanzine, you know I like long interviews.
What vinyl releases can we expect on Pica in the future?
Working on a triple LP box-set of sessions me and Paal did in Japan two years ago. There’s also a Tongues of Mount Meru 3CD/LP box on its way. And I’m planning on doing limited vinyl editions of previous CD-only albums of the last 15 years. It’s work I’m proud of and I want them to be exist on vinyl as well. Even if it’s just for my own shelf.
How many records (vinyls that is!) do you put out in a year?
It varies from year to year. The last few years I haven’t done so much of my own music. After the Jazkamer 2010 series I figured I’d give people a break for a bit. This year it seems to be picking up again.
Have you ever competed with someone about the amount of released records per year?
Yes, early in 2007 me and Paal Nilssen-Love realized that we both had an extraordinary amount of records in the pipeline, so we decided to make it a competition. I won. Paal owes me a foot massage.
What is the biggest thrill with making your own printed fanzine?
I love the whole process of putting it together. From approaching the artists, conducting and editing the interviews, doing the design – it’s a creative process I find as much pleasure in as making music. I guess doing this website gives you the same sensation.
Any plans of adding a flexi to the fanzine…???
Not a bad idea actually! I might just do that.
The best city for vinyl hunting?
Tokyo. No doubt about it. And this is largely thanks to the Disk Union chain. Great selection of records in good condition, and at low prices.
How do you find your records primarily? Internet, shops, friends, enemies, lists or do you have other sources?
Both the internet and shops. I go largely on recommendations. When a friend say I should get something I trust them. I rely on expertise. I have people make lists for me. Every time I see Oren Ambarchi I end up with a long list of things to get, and I buy them without question.
What is your fav machine? The jukebox, the vinyl cleaner or the vinyl cutting machine?
The only one of those three I own is the vinyl cleaner, which I love. It was Kjetil Brandsdal who convinced me to get one, and he was right.
Who would you like to see getting interviewed in the discaholic interview series?
Robert Crumb. He’s my hero. He has fully embraced his obsessions and by that become one of the greatest artists of our time.
What records do you wanna steal from the discaholic corners archive?
I’m a good boy and don’t steal, but that Rune Lindblad 7” you scored recently I probably would sacrifice our friendship for. I figure you’d do the same to me.
What records do I wanna steal from your collection?
For money value you should get some of the early Norwegian black metal demo tapes. I probably wouldn’t miss it much, since I don’t listen to them anymore. For listening pleasure you should steal all the Harry Pussy and Gerogerigegege stuff.
How many records per day keeps the doctor away?
One! I’ve calculated on average I obtain some 300 to 400 new records every year, which is about a new one every day.
What vinyl record will solve ALL problems?
The next one.