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.

1 comment:

S. said...

Good read - thanks for the shout-out!