The Collector Series is a photography and interview project documenting vinyl collectors in their most natural and intimate environment.
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Name: Alex Rodriguez
Location: Los Angeles, California
Tell us a bit more about yourself.
My name is Alex Rodriguez, I live in Los Angeles California, I manage a record store called The Glass House Record Store and I also build large scale pop up record stores for music Festivals including Coachella, FYF, and Desert Trip. I travel the United States 5-6 months out of the year buying vinyl records. I've also been DJing strictly vinyl since 1999.
How long have you been collecting?
I've been collecting for 23 years, since I was 14. I started by going to Punk shows and buying records from the merch tables. Since then I've managed to build my collection to over 22,000 records in many rooms, hahah. 10,000 LPs and 12,000 45's.
What’s your philosophy behind collecting records and how has that evolved since you started collecting up until the present day?
I don't really have a philosophy on record collecting. We all do it for different reasons and in different ways. When I started collecting in 1994 I was mainly buying Punk records. Eventually I started experimenting at thrift stores by just buying anything that looked interesting. These days, there is so much exposure about music from blogs, to social media, to streaming sites like YouTube and Spotify. It's easy to be an expert on obscure music. I think that has taken away from the magic of discovery in real life. I had to buy things I didn't know and try them out, and sometimes I wasn't into the record and wasted my money. Collectors used to look for things we didn't know and chance it, now we seem to have an idea of what we want and what we don't want based on technology. Like we can YouTube it and hear it and decide wether we want to buy it or not. However, technology has also opened the doors to discover music you might have never heard or found, and that's a good thing. I'm super stoked that people of all ages and genders are getting back into record collecting. Music is a beautiful thing and brings people together and I hope it's more than just a fad, I hope it's a lifetime hobby for everyone.
Describe the process of of your buying process. How do you define a good record? Is there any particular sound you’re looking at?
I travel 5-6 months on the road buying records all over the United States. For work, I buy all genres, hits and misses my pop up stores at music festivals have 30,000 used records so I gotta get a lot of different things. For me personally, I buy anything and everything. I'm not looking for a specific sound, I'm just looking for a sound that my ear likes regardless of genre. As I've gotten older I have become a little more selective on what I buy, trying only to add albums I absolutely love. No more just okay records.
If you could only take three records from your collection to listen for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?
Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon
Because it's my favorite album of all time.
Love - Forever Changes
Because it's so hauntingly beautiful and the lyrics are mind blowing.
Guns N' Roses - Appetite For Destruction
It's a perfect Rock N' Roll record from start to finish. No filler alllllllllll killer.
Do you have any regrets about not buying any particular records?
Yes, sometimes I didn't buy a record because it was a little overpriced and then years go by without ever seeing it again, or it pops up again but the going rate is much more expensive now. Basically, you'll see money again and again. You might not ever see a record again. Just buy it if you really want it!
Any tips for other record collectors out there?
Keep digging and never give up on looking for a record, sometimes it takes years to find it but in most cases you eventually do. Keep supporting record stores/dealers, they put in a lot of hard work to find and sell a record. Make sure to show all your friends all the amazing music you discover, the artists love being exposed for their labor of love. Sharing is caring. Stay positive and be kind to one another. :)
Find out more about Alex Rodriguez's collection via his instagram:
The Glasshouse Recordstore
#vinyloftheday is launching a vinyl marketplace for everyone to share their collections, buy/sell, add to wantlists, discover new music and interact with other fellow collectors. If you want to beta test the app, please register your interest here: http://cratedig.us/app