Monday, November 09, 2009

Please welcome Matt Mikas, the master of lounge music
 Latest installment in photoblog Dust And Grooves  - another stunner for vinyl junkies. 

And don't forget, leading hiphop DJ (and Rip It Up editor) Sirvere is having a record sale,  Saturday November 14th and Sunday 15th, 10am-6pm both days. He's selling Hip Hop, RnB and soul vinyl from his extensive collection - 1000's of 12"s, EPs and LPs. The address is Askew's Studio, 13 Great North Road, Grey Lynn, which is near the corner of Great North rd and Ponsonby rd.

Now, get yourself some spaced out funk. Heard the Natural Yoghurt Band? Try em here.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Nov7
Noel Ellis - Stop your fighting
Prince Fari - Good music brother
Sister Nancy - Aint no stopping Nancy
Joe Higgs - I'm the song my enemies sing
The Skatalites  -Exodus
Gregory Peck - Pocoman jam
Little John - Fade away
Ragga twins - Love talk
Al Green -  Love and happiness (Shoes edit) AL GREEN LIVE IN AKLD at the Civic Jan 21, 2010!!!!
Dabrye - Won
Wajeed - Jeedo suave
Hypnotic brass ensemble - Balliki bone
Romanowski - Romjack steady
Barrington Levy and Beenieman - Murderation
Linton Kwesi Johnson - Brainsmashing dub
Congos and Big Youth - Feed a nation
Willie Royal  - General alarm
Jah Wobble - Get Carter
Serge Gainsbourg - Aux armes etcetera
James Brown - The Bose (Giesha boys - Gamm Doin James Vol 4)
Donae'o - Riot music
Ragga twins - Spliffhead (original)
The Clash - Magnificent Seven
Unitone hifi  -Sneeze off
Umod - Cowboy lovin
Oddisee - Evrything changed nothing inst
Al Green  -So glad you're mine / Take me to the river

Friday, November 06, 2009

ACTA fun and games. 
ACTA is an anti-counterfieting treaty that NZ is about to sign up to. The worl'ds biggest culprits in counterfieting, Russia and China, are not part of this trade agreement. It has shifted into a copyright treaty, with the relevant chapter on copyright being written by the US. And it's all being done in secret.

Why is it so bad? Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing points out the following problems...

  • That ISPs have to proactively police copyright on user-contributed material. This means that it will be impossible to run a service like Flickr or YouTube or Blogger, since hiring enough lawyers to ensure that the mountain of material uploaded every second isn't infringing will exceed any hope of profitability.
  • That ISPs have to cut off the Internet access of accused copyright infringers or face liability. This means that your entire family could be denied to the internet -- and hence to civic participation, health information, education, communications, and their means of earning a living -- if one member is accused of copyright infringement, without access to a trial or counsel.
  • That the whole world must adopt US-style "notice-and-takedown" rules that require ISPs to remove any material that is accused -- again, without evidence or trial -- of infringing copyright. This has proved a disaster in the US and other countries, where it provides an easy means of censoring material, just by accusing it of infringing copyright.
  • Mandatory prohibitions on breaking DRM, even if doing so for a lawful purpose (e.g., to make a work available to disabled people; for archival preservation; because you own the copyrighted work that is locked up with DRM).

For a local perspective, read more about it here. on Mark Harris's blog.
Computerworld NZ also has some good articles on it. Check here.
P-Money, meet P-Money.
"One’s a hip hop DJ turned producer from New Zealand who’s best mates with Zane Lowe. The other is a south London grime MC who has a habit of making people utter the words ‘What did he say?’ Both are called P-Money."
This interview is great fun, have a read here, at (NZ) P-Money's blog

Thursday, November 05, 2009


 So, last month I did an interview with Trevor Reekie for his feature, Moments Like These, where he gets a muso to dig out an old photo of themselves and rabbit on about it. Read on. 

Moments Like These: Peter McLennan
Published in NZ Musician, Oct/Nov issue 2009. By Trevor Reekie

"Peter McLennan was once the guitarist in Hallelujah Picassos and these days makes music as Dub Asylum. He is a self-described Auckland musician, a DJ, writer, graphic designer, music blogger and pop culture junkie who buys lots of magazines. His creative curiosity and eclectic taste is only some of the sum of his many parts… a musical gent who is always on time!"

Can you remember who took this photo and when?
Wildside label boss Murray Cammick shot it. Gavin Downie had recently joined the band, which makes it 1994 I think. It was in a car park in central Auckland in the middle of winter, and we were freezing our butts off, hence the beanies, jackets, etc. At that point, we were heading in about a million different directions musically – we put together the ‘Gospel of the DNA Demon’ EP which came out in late ’95 and toured to support it. Shortly after that Johnny and I left the band for spiritual reasons.

What was your relationship then and what are the others doing now?

They were my bandmates, and today I can still call them my friends, which I’m very proud of. The Picassos were a tribe, not a band, or that’s how we described ourselves in interviews. It was about including our fans in the equation. When we’d do gigs, we’d always come back out and sit round on the front of the stage afterwards and talk to the folks who had come to see us play. There was some other bands round Auckland at the time who thought they were better than their fans and that they were special, and we weren’t having a bar of that crap.

Bobbylon and Roland are still lurking around Auckland city. Johnny Pain was in Singapore making animated kids TV shows for the last few years – he’s recently shifted to Toronto to do more of the same, but is going back to Singapore as he’s joined a thrash metal band there. He also recorded as Pains People post-HPs, and played bass in the Nudie Suits – the man is a musical chameleon. Gavin was in The Managers and a few other acts, and is working as a guitar tech for hire.

How did you get the name ‘Hallelujah Picassos’ and how did the band evolve?
We started out playing as a garage punk band called the Rattlesnakes for about a year and a half. By then our sound had evolved, adding reggae and ska, so we needed a new name. I turned up late for practice one Sunday afternoon (I’d been at work, I think), and the others had a sheet of paper with heaps of names scribbled on it. They’d narrowed it down to three, and the only decent one was Hallelujah Picassos. I was at art school at the time, so I went for that name. And of course, as Jonathan Richman sang, Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole.

The Picassos live was a full-on thing. One of the best things about the Picassos was that people either got it or they didn’t. That style of mashing up genres (labelled ‘crossover’, back then), no-one really got it on a widespread scale until a few years after we split, when US ska-punk outfits like Sublime and Rancid found mass popularity with it.

As we evolved musically, we basically kept adding new genres to our musical ammo, and didn’t attempt to limit what we attempted stylistically. We had four strong personalities in the band, with the contrasting vocal styles of front man Roland’s aggressive rasp, and crooner Bobbylon on the drum seat – he was once labelled as the Dirty Harry of NZ reggae – face of steel, voice of gold. All four of us wrote songs, so we never had a shortage of material to play with, and pretty much everything we wrote we recorded too.

We ended up with these descriptions of our music with A LOT of hyphens; reggae-ska-thrash-rap-punk-funk... which is why, when people asked us what sort of music we played, we said ‘Picasso core’. Much simpler. And we had a song mentioning it, with the delightfully subtle chorus, “Picasso core will fuck your mind”. We even made a video for it, which got played on television. Once. True story.

When did the Picassos come to an end?

The others carried on for about a year after we left, going through six drummers. I kept meeting guys in the street who would tell me they were the new drummer for the Picassos (as Bob moved to bass). They got a new line-up together, with Roland moving to guitar and a new vocalist filling his slot, and they did a few gigs and recordings. Johnny and I went and saw them play at Squid one night, and it was the weirdest thing. We were standing there watching them play songs we knew inside and out, except it wasn’t us playing them, it was this other band. We were both a bit dumbfounded by that.

I’m not sure when the band ceased as I wasn’t a member, but I gather it was sometime later in ’96, when Roland left the band. We’re working on a re-release of some of our favourite songs and our audience’s faves too, getting them re-mastered and putting together a tasty CD package for them, with the aim of getting it out by the end of the year. It will also be available as digital downloads, and if anyone wants to give us two or three grand (seriously), we’ll do a vinyl release too.

How has your musical career progressed since the time this photo was taken?
A rapid descent into poverty! I started working on a solo project under the moniker Dub Asylum around 1998, although I notice I’m wearing a baseball cap with Dub Asylum on it in this photo. I’ve released an album, two EPs (one of which was on vinyl) and a handful of singles under that name. I’ve also directed a few music videos for Dub Asylum too. I think I did a jungle/drum n’ bass cover of I Love My Leather Jacket by The Chills back then, and it got used on the closing credits on a music TV show.

My musical career has pretty much devolved back to what it was like before the Picassos got a record deal – which was DIY, The Picassos recorded and released two cassettes independently before we got a record deal. Do it yourself, you ain’t got no one else to blame. It’s not hard – just ask someone who has already done it. There’s plenty of people to give you advice and encouragement. If it’s any good, people will like it and buy it.

Who is one artist and/or record that you would say has had the most influence on you and why?

Argggh, back then we were listening to Fishbone, Urban Dance Squad, African Head Charge, Bad Brains... just one? Okay, ‘London Calling’ by The Clash. I heard it when it first came out, taped it onto cassette off a mate’s 2LP set, and have revisited it numerous times since. Like a lot of skinny white boys, it marked my first exposure to reggae and ska. It was an education, and a damned good record filled with great songs.

When the deluxe re-issue package came out in 2004 I discovered the stories behind this album, thanks to the bonus DVD that came with it, including watching old video footage of the album’s loose-nut producer Guy Stevens swinging a broom round the studio while Mick Jones tried to play. But mostly, I revisited these tunes and was reminded what a great band the Clash were. They were a gang.

What would you consider your proudest musical moment?

Dunno, still to come. Making music that people like is pretty damn special. You make music because you want it to connect with people. Opening for Screaming Jay Hawkins was special. We opened for him two nights in a row, and he saw us on the second night, at the Gluepot.

We asked him after we played if he saw any of our set, and he said, “Yes, I did. I like to hear other bands, cos I get sick of hearing my own”. We asked him if he had any advice for us. He told us to “Keep rocking”, so we did. He strolled out of the Gluepot at the end of the night with a beautiful woman on each arm. He knew how to live.

We also opened for Violent Femmes, Faith No More, Primus, Ice T and Body Count, African Head Charge, Beastie Boys, Soundgarden and a few others.

The most imposing presence I have ever been in the presence of was?

Screaming Jay Hawkins. And Noam Chomsky. He handed me my award at the Media Peace Awards when I won a Highly Commended for an article I wrote for Pavement magazine. He had a firm handshake, which was reassuring.

The most important thing you have learned from your creative endeavours is?

Do it yourself.

What are your recollections of the music scene back when you started compared to now?

Local music was not cool. NZ music was less than 2% of NZ radio play – if you weren’t Dobbyn or a Split Enz derivative, you were invisible. I think it’s really cool that there are kids growing up now that think it’s normal to hear NZ music on the radio. Back then there was still a debate going on over alternative vs mainstream - glad that idiotic notion died. The closest we ever got to commercial success was one of our singles Rewind grazed the Top 40. It was at number 39 for one week. But we still packed out venues around the country, so we didn’t really care.

As a music blogger what pleases/annoys you most about the current local scene?

What pleases me is that musicians are getting motivated to make music without waiting round to see if they get an NZ On Air grant or whatever. What annoys me? People’s sense of entitlement. Earn my respect, fool.

What’s the best book about music that you have read?

Please Kill Me, by Legs McNeil, cautionary tales in drug taking and NYC punk rock, and Last Night A DJ Saved My Life, by Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton, an essential read on the history of the disc jockey – from Northern soul to disco, reggae, hip hop, house and more. They also wrote a fantastic book called How To DJ (Properly) which is a must read for any DJ, no matter whether you’re a veteran or a newbie. That’s three, and then there’s this other book...

What can people read about on your blog?

Music that I like. That simple. I’ve got a pretty eclectic taste,and that’s just got broader as I get older (although I tell myself it’s got more refined! Ha ha). There’s music from Jamaica, Canada, Ethiopia, Argentina, all over. Good music is where you find it.

What’s on your playlist right now?

Albums by Mayer Hawthorne, Quantic and his Combo Barabaro, Opensouls, Wheedle’s Groove, Ze Records 30th Anniversary compilation, Best of Steely and Clevie, and the Esso Trinidad Steel Band. And a ton of vinyl 7s and 12s.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Flyin' Cut Sleeves

"Portrait of the lives of street gang presidents in the Bronx over a 20-year period. A remarkable perspective on life in the ghetto.

Sleeping Dogs Films and MVD Visual are proud to announce the DVD release of Flyin' Cut Sleeves on October 20th in North America. This 60-minute documentary was produced and directed by Henry Chalfant (of Style Wars fame) and Rita Fecher.

Flyin' Cut Sleeves, completed in 1993, portrays street gang presidents in the Bronx. The project grew out of the experiences of Rita Fecher, the film's co-producer, who taught in a South Bronx school in the late 1960's and early 1970's, became intimately involved with the gangs, their leaders, and the leaders' families and began to document their lives. Their world was the streets, set against a backdrop of uprooted families, cultural alienation, drugs and violence.

Neighborhood teenagers responded by organizing into street groups known to the members as "families", but labeled in the most alarming terms as violent gangs by the press. In fact, the "families" had a stabilizing effect, enabling the youths to cope with their troubled environment. The political climate at the time, movements of national liberation and such organizations as the Black Panthers and Young Lords Party influenced the young gang leaders to aspire to be more than warriors and to become, to some degree, a positive force in their communities.

When Rita Fecher returned after twenty years to see what had become of her old friends, she found that they had stayed in the community of their youth, that they were deeply committed to improving conditions there and that they were engaged in helping their own children survive in the hazardous street environment. The documentation of these lives over a twenty-year period offers a remarkable perspective on life in the ghetto (spanning four generations), and the means that people devise to cope from the time that they are children to when they serve as parents and role models for a new generation."

Hat tip to Different Kitchen

Monday, November 02, 2009

Making music
I have been working away on getting a Dub Asylum vinyl seven inch single out and it's finally coming together. One side will have the title track of my latest EP Ba Ba Boom, and the flip will have a killer remix of it in an afrobeat/dubstep style from OoGuN, more on it soon. Out in early December. Just sent it off to be pressed today, rather excited.

I've also got a remaster/reissue project under way for my old band, Hallelujah Picassos. We're going to remaster a handful of tunes that were faves with us and our fans and put them out on CD/digital. There's a fun interview I did with Trevor Reekie for NZ Musician's latest issue (the one with Gin Wigmore on the cover), talking about an old photo of the Picassos, check it out. (Will ad a link when NZ Musician put it up online)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Vinyl junkies stand by
Couple of events coming up for you...
Leading hiphop DJ (and Rip It Up editor) Sirvere is having a record sale, November 14 and 15, 10am-6pm both days. He's selling Hip Hop, RnB and soul vinyl from his extensive collection - 1000's of 12"s, EPs and LPs. The address is Askew's Studio, 13 Great North Road, Grey Lynn, which is near the corner of Great North rd and Ponsonby rd. (See photos above., below)

Also coming up, the next installment of the Record Collectors Fair is happening on Saturday the 21st of November 2009, this time at a new venue. Kelston Community Hall, Just off Great North Road, Awaroa Road, Next to Waikumete Cemetery. This venue is bigger and better with more stall holders than ever before, more parking and a nicer location.

And on tonight, The Turnaround, the monthly club night full of vinyl delights from Manuel Bundy, Cian  and Submariner - this month they have "succumbed to the siren’s song and invited some laydeeeez to step up to the plate for this Halloween special. Aroha, Wendy Douglas, Maiden Hong Kong and Lisa From Down The Road will be concocting and mixing up a wicked brew of sonic sorcery for your musical enjoyment.  Ahem!!!" 

Any rumours that Manny, Cian and Subby will dress up in full drag are groundless, apparently, but I bet Manny would look the best of those three boys. He'd give Buckwheat a run for her money! (Kidding, Manny, kidding.) Kick off is 10pm, at Toto Bacco Room, 53 Nelson, st, only $15 on the door.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Quick hits
1. Alice Russell drops 32 remixes of her latest album Pot Of Gold, grab Mr Scruff's remix over here for free DL.
2. DJ Craze tears it up at the Roc Raida tribute in NYC (via P-Money's blog)
3. Grab this tune from DJ Center featuring Samia Farah (who was on the latest Lee Scratch Perry album, the Mighty Upsetter).
4. Universal Robot Band - Barely breaking even (club version) go get this. "This 13-minute extended club version has never been heard before now, and is being released as part of a collection of legendary disco producer John Morales’ mixes for disco stalwart Salsoul, amongst others."
5. DJing with one turntable and an iPhone. Mental. Watch this video.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Oct 24
James Brown  -The bose (Geisha boys remix)
DJ Vadim - Hidden treasure
Beverley Road allstars - I'm still in love
Various - Got to be at that party
Justin Hinds - The higher the monkey climbs
Skatalites - Beardsman ska
Dawn Penn - No no no
Carlton and the shoes - Love me forever
Chaka Domu and Lady Yolanda - Mash up (Dancehall mix)
Andrew Weatherall - Fail we may, sail we must (off Pox on the pioneers)
DLT - Liquid skies (Ultraneon mix)
Innerzone orchestra - bug in the bass bin
Jah Batta - Informa (Watch it)
Joe Ariwa - Bouncing with Joe
Manasseh  -Skenga 12" mix
Noiseshaper - Bushmasta
Lee Perry - Venus
Ragga Twins - 18 inch speaker
Quantic and his combo Barbaro  -Mas pan
Chico Mann - Sound is everything (Rich Medina remix)
Nicolette - No government
Kashmere stage band - Superstrut (Kenny Dope remix)
Orgone - Be in here
Troublefunk - Drop the bomb
Ticklah - Answer me
Dubblestandart and Lee Perry - Respect the poor dub
The Wailers  - Put it on
Umod - Just4funksake
Andrew Weatherall - Pox on the pioneers

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Quick hits
1. New music from Doom (aka MF Doom) over here. "Unexpected Guests is a compilation album of old Doom tracks that the Gold Dust imprint has gathered up an thrown on a single record."
2. Musician Rex Visible (member of NRA, Headless Chickens soundman) is in trouble. From the Manawatu Standard (ignore the reference to Vizible producing How Bizarre - the producer of that record is Alan Jansson).
3. Skream and Benga live set from RinseFM's 15th birthday party for download here, and new from Mad Decent (Diplo's label) Jovi Rockwell with Killing Dem (Free DL here)
4. Stinky Jim's Stink Inc blog has a great post about the new Andrew Weatherall album A Pox On The Pioneers, go have a read here. As Jim says "... the whole thing has a ring of 'Sandanista' era-Clash about it amongst many other flavours, not in a slavish way, in a way that puts a huge grin on my boat when driving around to it." 
Bonus - some Weatherall mp3 action here, with an interview, via The Fader.
Pretty Purdie hitting it
Link... from Crate Kings. "The master Bernard Purdie breaks down drums, rhythm, and, of course, ghost notes.  It’s difficult to decide which is better, Purdie’s drumming or his commentary and reactions to the sounds."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Quick hits
1. Oddisee dropped a wicked ep of funky, laidback beats a while back, called Oddsummer. The follow-up is out now, Odd Autumn. Grab it here
2. New LCD Sound System single has come out, cover of an Alan Vega (Suicide) track, Bye Bye Bayou. Grab it here. You might find the original there too.
3. There was a killer comp from legendary NY label Ze Records that came out earlier this year on Strut; now a bunch of dance producers have been let loose on their catalog for a series of re-edits, including the likes of Todd Terje, Greg Wilson, and Pilooski, who is always good. Zevolution: Ze Records Re-Edited comes out Nov 24, but get a sneak preview for free here...Aural Exciters- "Spooks In Space" (Luke Howard & Felix Dickinson Filthy & Foolish Edit) (zshare) (mediafire)
4. Via Crate kings: "Tom Ashbrook of NPR’s On Point interviews RZA to discuss his new book The Tao of Wu and his personal ideas pertaining to spirituality and growth.  The hour long conversion includes a number of interesting stories about ODB and other Wu-Tang members, an explanation of RZA’s fascination with kung-fu, and insight into the future of musical sampling."
Listen to the complete interview.
5. Stinky Jim interviews Jahdan Blakkamoore over here. Great stuff. 
6. One more... Wu Tang meets dubstep. Yup. Album is called "Wu-Tang Meets The Indie Culture Vol. 2: Enter the Dubstep" More here.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ring The Alarm playlist, BaseFM, Saturday Oct 17
 Bit of a CTI/Kudu theme running thru todays show, with Grover Washington Jr, George Benson, Esther Phillips and Lalo Schifrin, thanks to some new vinyl goodness from Dusty Grooves, delivered by Owen H, cheers fella!

Mayer Hawthorne  - The ills
Grover Washington Jr  - Knucklehead
George Benson - Good king bad
UBB - I know you got soul Inst
Aim - Birchwood
DJ Vadim - Hidden treasure
Bob Marley and the Wailers - Put it on
Reggie Stepper - Drum pan sound
Chukki Star  - Praise my creator
Prince Fari and Errol T - Different dagger
Havana boys - Paul's dub
Wheedles groove feat Calvin Law - Fools gold
Romanowski - Strudel strut
Nightmares on wax - Damn
Boozoo Bajou - Night over Manaus
The Cougars - I wish it would rain
Esther Phillips - Use me
Lalo Schifrin  -Quiet village
Melvin Jackson - Cold duck time pt 1&2
Ken Boothe - The one I love
Bigga Bush and Ventoux - East Africa dub stylee
Little dragon - Come home
Fulgence - Sour soca
Cooly G - Love dub refix
Eric Lau - Let it out
El Michels affair - Detroit twice / Shaft

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The vinyl revival is here! (story #262)
The latest installment in this long-running series of media articles on the return of vinyl. "May The Circle Be Unbroken – The Continuing Success Story Of Vinyl".(NME)

Best bit is this quote from Roger Daltrey of The Who: “With a CD, you start with a nice plastic box and end with a scratched plastic box. It has no character whatsoever. But with vinyl, we threw away an art form that was so much more than the record… Sometimes the covers were more important than the music. The more fingerprints you got on it, the more it was a part of you.”

The article notes that vinyl sales are up 50% from 2008 and rising. In hard numbers tho, not so impressive... "Vinyl sales have risen from 700,000 in 2008 to 1million this year. And in 2009, 121.8million CDs have been sold, versus 33.2million digital albums, compared to 151.01million CDs and 27.52million digital albums for the same period last year."

Hat tip to Alan P for the link.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Vinyl Flashbacks - P-Money part 2
In part two of this interview, P-Money talks about some record shopping adventures overseas, how Serato has changed his music buying, and some of his favourite music blogs.  Read part one here.

There's some diggers i've read about in the States, who say that it doesn't matter what the record is, they'll never pay more than 8 bucks for it or something. Do you feel like that?

Well, for me, if I want it badly enough, I'll pay whatever, you know. But that comes around now, cos I make some money, Djing and stuff, so I do alright so I have the cash to spend. I love records so much, that I don't mind shelling out for them.

But definitely when I was coming up, I never bought a record over ten dollars, a second hand record. I couldn't justify it to myself. I could spend 15 on this one record that might not get that many plays or it might not have anything useful to me, or I could take that same $15, and spread it across 15 of these dollar bin records and my odds are just so much higher, that I'm gonna have more things to use,, whether they be samples or just good things to listen to.

That was my rationale back then , but once I finally did get some money and I spent a bit, more, I was like “Hey these more expensive records often have better music”, cos the reason why theyre expensive is cos other people want them, cos they're good.

Do you have list of wanted records?

Yeah, it changes daily. I've been digging on Kiwi stuff lately. Trying to find bonafide Kiwi breakbeats that are legit. Dragon's first seven inch, has a song called Rock N Roll Ponsonby, and the first five seconds of that is this solid uptempo breakbeat, and I want that record. And its just a bside, not on their greatest hits.

The Screaming Mee Mees have an album, ah, (goes to check his list...) I keep my wants list on by BlackBerry. I'm a technological nerd, its so good man! If this is paradise, I'll take the bag. There's like three breaks on that album, but I want to get that on vinyl. I found some other stuff – you saw me in the store that day. I found some good stuff, Chants R'n'B. Cool energy, and that just suprise me that that was recorded here. I hadnt heard any NZ recordings with that kind of feel, or energy.

One of the most interesting record stores I ever went to, but I wasnt in the right frame of mind that I am now, to really appreciate it, but I knew it was special was just off Hollywood Boulevard, not far from Mann's Chinese Theatre, and it was called As The Record Turns.

Its in a little shopping arcade, and its quite a small store, And they just had crazy shit. Everything is in nice plastic jackets, and marked up, like expensive records. They had things like The Transformer movie sound track on vinyl, the original cartoon, all these odd TV things, deep crates of soul, funk.. While we there, with my friend DJ P-trix, a DJ from LA, he took us there, and he told us this is where all the guys come to get their samples, and the old guy there has sold records to Q-Tip and Pete Rock, and this is where they come.

While we're in there, this guy, Mel-Man who co-produced The Chronic 2001, he came in, and he was high-fiving the old Phillipino guy that runs the shop. And he was like, “I need to get this and that”, and he was discussing his wants list. I was like “Wow, this is really the spot”.

Then we found out after we left there, my friend told me that their store is kinda like their shopfront. What they do have, where they let all the big time producers go, is a warehouse. They claim to have a million records in this place. I think Slave went there for Mo Show, and he walked down the aisles, but they didn't get to dig thru it. They have a catalogue, and any album you're looking for, chances are, this guy has got it,.

The folklore was that people like Pete Rock and Dre, instead of buying the records, its a library. You pay like a members fee, and you have access. So you pay your annual fee, like $5000 or something, and you can come in, you can borrow the records, take them out, sample them, do whatever you want, and take them back. I don't know how much truth there is to it, but it's the best story ever. There's this vault of records, like a secret underground producers club. And I've been finding out about more and more of these kinds of things.

I have another friend, he was in the original lineup of the Beatnuts, his name is Vic (Mighty V.I.C). He did a lot of the beats on the first Beatnuts album, and lot of the things that are credited as produced by the Beatnuts are produced by Vic.

Hes got an amazing record collection too. Over the last few years hes gone quite digital, with his process, and he realised he didn't need all these records, and he had like 40,000 records or something. He put them on E-bay, but the Dre's people called, him, like saying “We want your records”.

Cos they knew hes the guy, hes got all the breaks. Its funny that Dre wanted them cos the Dre record next Episode on Chronic 2001, the same sample was flipped by a group called Missin Linx, about a year before that Next Episode came out and Vic produced it.

So I was thinking maybe Dre's always been watching his samples, like “You've got the right samples” and just like sampling the same things, and then he just comes around and is like “I just want your record collection. Instead of stealing ideas afterwards, I'm just gonna take them from the source.”

How big is your record collection now?

Its funny cos I just got half of it back from storage, under my dad's store. So I basically doubled my collection in the last month. But I thinned it out a bit,. It must be around 4000 or thereabouts. Its a fair bit of records., I have a spare bedroom which is my studio, and one wall of that is taken up with vinyl, mostly hiphop stuff, and then downstairs I have about the same again, and that's split between breaks samples in various genres and a little bit of hiphop stuff as well.

There's about three crates of stuff that I really need to get rid of, that is, like trash. You now how New Zealand has a huge wealth of old show tunes and classical, all the second hand and Salvation Army stores around the country.

When I was a kid, I used to buy those as well, cos I just wasn't sure - maybe they might have something interesting. By and large, they don't have anything cool. The classical ones are always good if you need string samples, you can always lift them unless you're taking a few bars, its pretty hard to determine what symphony they come from. So, I've got that to get rid of, lots of random bad stuff!

You use serato when you're Djing - has serato changed the way you record shop?

Yeah, completely. I don't really shop for new music on vinyl any more. I'll get it on CD, so I can rip it at a really high rate and its quicker than recording the records in, in real time. I was doing things at 320, and I've just recently switched to doing it at 16 bit, 44.1, CD-quality WAV files.

The reason I was doing the 320s was purely for storage space, but to future proof myself, hard drives are gonna get bigger, so storage is not gonna be such a problem. Right up til about 05, when I got Serato, I was spending about $200 a week on records, cos a 12 is $25, so if you're buying doubles, that's only five songs! So it's not that much.

As soon as I got comfortable on Serato, and decided this is how I'm gonna DJ from now on, I stopped buying records, just didn't need to any more. I started ripping CDs, whether it was promos, or old catalogue I already had - I took a lot of records and traded them, and took the credit and bought cd albums of all the albums that I had on vinyl, like all the Def Jam LPS, just lots of catalogue stuff. Then I just started ripping like a mad man.

Then with any new stuff coming out, I'd be on like the Digiwax DJ service, and now Serato has White Label, and then there's a billion blogs that you can get stuff that;s not being serviced to you directly.

Instead of going to the record store two or three times a week, now it's every morning while I'm having breakfast, I check all the blogs, and all the latest songs are right there. I'm downloading them while I'm having my breakfast.

So I've got five or six songs a day to digest and add to Serato. And I was doing digital digging as well. I noticed thats a thing, especially with young hiphop producers, round 19 or 20, even 23, you don't have the experience of going to a record store. Its probably not part of your background at all. All you know is getting music from Limewire or something like that. So when they're looking for breaks and samples, they just go straight online.

P-Money sent me some of his favourite music blogs, check em out below..

This record is an example of the things I would pick up from Beat Merchants over that four year period when I was there every week spending $200. This is Paula Perry, independent female MC, I think she was out of Brooklyn, and she used to roll with Masta Ace. (Listen to it here)

This [record] is significant cos it's a DJ Premier production, and I used to hang out for any single that was produced by Premier, have to have two copies - it's just fundamental as a hip hop DJ, and the other side is produced by Easy Mo Bee, so you couldn't really go past something like this, at that time.

And now, this doesn't look too special, but it would be pretty hard to come by.It came out in 98, but still a really strong track, the instrumental still works, and this one was really cool, cos the opening two bars is just like, really clean drums and a little James Brown vocal stab, so, [it's] awesome for Djing with and doing tricks, so I used this in some of my DJ routines at that time, and it was really my practice record.

The week it came, out, I guess they would have sold somehting like 20 copies out of Beat Merchants, which was kinda good for a hiphop 12 inch at the time. And they would have reordered it a few times, probably sold a couple of hundred. Her career never took off, I don't even know if anyone picked up the album – it says on the 12 that the album was coming out, and I don't remember seeing it. And its funny, this is on Motown, so it's incorrect to say she was independent, but in my mind she was always independent, cos it never took off, you know? It wasn't like a big commercial release, even though she was on Motown. I guess she got dropped after the single didn't connect, poor girl.

But there were so many stories like that. There's a quote in that movie Scratch, I think it's from DJ Shadow, and he's going thru all these records, and he says “when you look at it, I kinda see it as a field of broken dreams,”and in some ways maybe it is. Its these people whose careers maybe didn't progress beyond one album or two. Whether those people had the dream to make it big or they just had talent and someone else wanted to record them, who knows?

I don't like to be doomsday about it, but its a little bit scary to think that with everything now being recorded digitally, and the vast majority of recordings ever being pressed on such a permanent format as vinyl, that it'd be really hard to keep a real solid library of all these things, cos its so easy for them to be lost, or deleted.

Put it this way - a record collector who was buying records thru the 70s, 80,s maybe 90s, and stopped in the 90s. Their record collection is physical; if they decide they don't want it any more, they have to physically give it to someone else, to a second hand record store or another collector. With digital files, you go oh, I need more space on my hard drive, I've got these 10,000 songs – best case scenario they're gonna move it to another drive - worst case scenario, they're just gonna hit trash. And who knows what could be in there? It's a bit crazy, aye.

My thanks to P-Money for his time.  (P-Money's blogmyspace pages). Next interview in this series coming soon! More vinyl tales from... ah, you'll have to wait and see.