Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Spin the Blackest Circle (Interview with DJ Fishead)

As you guys may or may not know one of the coolest record labels in existence is Death Waltz Recording Company. They release Soundtracks. Like..... Incredibly good soundtracks. Horror soundtracks. And as you all know there ain't nothing cooler than that.

So, just recently Death Waltz opened an internet forum for other mad Soundtrack obsessives to rap madly about the things they love and its turning into quite a hub of activity and discussion. It's called Spin The Blackest Circle. Some  peeps upload photos of their collections, some discuss the finer points of Morricone or John Carpenter stuff and more just hop on with a quick pic of the platter they're spinning at that very moment. You know,  some hipsters instagram their food, others take pics of what's in their ears. Most of time, we're all relieved, to see that it's  just music.

So I've been meeting other cool collector's, some who are just starting out and some who've been doing it a lot longer than me and some who have collected things I never even knew existed. Like did you know  there was a promo 7" put out for the VHS release of David Lynch's Blue Velvet?

or that the cover to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

was in fact a clever rip off of another popular teenage movie soundtrack?.

So while I've been chatting with these other freaks I put out a shout out to see if anyone wanted to be interviewed and one lone figure stood up from the darkness.... DJ Fishead.

Hailing from Canada DJ Fishead was more than happy to help out. He's an avid collector and was more than happy to talk about his collection. So read on......

How big is your collection and do you collect from any specific genre (i.e. soundtracks) or do you collect other kinds?

My collection is probably in the range of about 10,000 records... and soundtracks only make up a small portion of that - maybe three hundred or so. 

 How long have you been collecting?

I started records in the early 80's... and sometime around '87 my tastes changed and a year later I purged pretty much everything in my collection. I was only fifteen, so I only had about 25 records by that point, but eventually I replaced most of them and came to realize that purges were something that I'd come to regret. So I'd mark the summer of '88 as the spawning ground for my collection.

 Do you collect for love or money or both?
I've been working at various levels of the music industry for twenty years. I've worked in stores, and I'm currently working in sales for a Canadian music distributor... but I've never really learned anything about selling records. I enjoy buying records, and I enjoy the feeling I get from connecting other people with records they're looking for. I've been known to go into shops and hear strangers discussing records and just pull it out of the stacks and hand it to them.  I suppose I'm good at selling music, but I'm terrible about attaching a price to things, and consequently I've done a terrible job anytime I've downsized. I guess I'm more concerned about getting things into good homes than getting a financial return.

What's your most favourite record?

That's a tough question, but it may very well be the Faust EP by Abelcain. He's a friend of mine, and it's a relatively obscure electronic record that features a rhythmic reworking of themes from Aguirre: Der Zorn Gottes.  The title track is loaded with samples from Jan ┼ávankmajer's Faust. More importantly it's the record that made me go out and dig up a VHS copy of Aguirre, and conversations with Marty also helped fuel my interest in Jodorowsky and a lot of  other esoteric films.
A later record of his that's also pretty incredible is Pantheon of Fiends, which is a tribute to some of his favorite movie monsters.

 What's the most valuable record you own?
I've accumulated a lot of crazy test pressings and weirdness over the years, but the most valuable might be the original RCA press of the Black Devil Disco Club 6-track EP.  A lot of folks consider it to be the most sought after record from the italo disco era.  I got it for an offensively low price, partly due to already having the re-issues on Rephlex and not making a big deal of finding it.  There are a few other records in my collection, like the Lost Highway soundtrack, that seem to be fetching a lot - and there are records that are pretty much impossible to place a value on:  test-pressings in hand-made sleeves and even pre-release copies of records that never even ended up being released. 

 What's your holy grail? What record(s) have you been looking everywhere for but still elude you?
I don't think my want-list is all that crazy, actually.  I've been really fortunate to have found most a lot of what I'm looking for.  I suppose it would be nice to have a copy of the Natural Born Killers soundtrack on LP (I saw one for sale at a shop in Vancouver in 2001, and passed on it - thinking it was over-priced at $50)... but there's a handful of singles that would be nice to find.  There's a Claudine Longet 7" where she does a cover of the lullaby from Rosemary's Baby on the flipside.

What was the first record you bought?   DO you still have it?
First record was Iron Maiden's Maiden Japan EP.  I was nine at the time.  It was part of that late 80's purge.  I've replaced it - and have tracked down Japanese pressings of all their early albums.

What draws you to collecting Soundtracks? Was there one clear record/film/soundtrack  that started you off?
I'm not sure whether it was Apocalypse Now! or Eraserhead... but certainly one of those two records.  I remember being struck by the dialogue samples and, being a DJ, started really digging through the soundtrack bins for other soundtracks that included passages from the film.  Just today I picked up a record called Joe Speaks, which is loaded up with Peter Boyle's rants from the film Joe (1970).  There's some really insane bits on there... things like that keep me going, but I'm also embarking on a Masters degree in film studies - with the idea to doing my thesis on music placement within films.  So I guess there's some academic relevance... or maybe I'm just trying to justify my collection.  It's a fine line.

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