The Collector Series is a photography and interview project documenting vinyl records collectors in their most natural and intimate environment.
Want to get featured on #vinyloftheday? Send us a photo of your collection and a few words about your collection to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name: Jason Ruffell
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Size of collection: I currently have 2700 items. 2073 LP’s/EP's, 28 boxsets & 599 7”. This grows on an almost daily basis and are all catalogued on my Discogs page.
Tell us a bit more about yourself:
I’m 31 years old and originally from Wellington, New Zealand. My family moved here when I was 12. I’ve been working for a major Australian bank for the past 12 years, most recently as a mortgage lender.
Like so many people in the ‘vinyl community’ I like craft beer and have a pet cat. Her name is Otis, after Otis Redding, and as you may have already guessed, her name was picked before she was.
I have a close knit friendship group and my family, including my gorgeous niece and nephew, live just around the corner.
What started your interest in music?
My dad had the biggest early influence on my appreciation of music. Considering CD’s were picking up momentum as a more convenient alternative in the late 80’s/early 90’s, there are really only a few years that I remember him playing records as the primary format. The most vivid memory of him playing a record is when he would put on “Good Night” by The Beatles for my sister and I before we went to bed each night. Even now, listening to the strings at the beginning and then the dulcet tones of Ringo come in, it takes me away to dreamland.
Dad would always have music playing on the weekend. More often than not it was Neil Young. Don’t get me wrong, he likes other stuff. He’s got a pretty extensive CD collection including the likes of Cat Stevens, Van Morrison, The Rolling Stones and CCR but you would likely find him listening to Neil. As you’d expect, this rubbed off on me. Neil Young ranks in my top 3 artists and On The Beach is my favourite album. I’m only without 3-4 studio albums of his now. I hope to complete the discography one day.
It wasn't until I was probably 7 or 8 that I first started listening to my own music. This was typically top 40 stuff. I remember having the ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ single on cassette (oh boy) and 'Dangerous’ by Michael Jackson was my first CD.
How long have you been collecting?
I started collecting music obsessively when I began a part time job at the local driving range when I was 15. At this age, I felt there was no need to save the money I earned so I would ask mum or dad to take me to the local music shop each weekend so I could buy CD’s. I would regularly buy 9 or 10 at a time. Sometimes I’d ask the shop assistant for a recommendation and buy whatever album they suggested even if I hadn’t heard it before.
At my peak, I had over 350 CD’s and a CD wallet which could hold half of them. I would take this everywhere I went, together with my trusty Discman.
Within 3 or 4 years MP3’s had taken over as my favourite format. Easily more convenient than the CD, you could fit 10,000 songs onto a device which was half the size of a Discman. Incredible!
Over the proceeding few years, although I loved the convenience and portability of the MP3, I missed having the physical album which I grew up with. I had no interest in getting back into CDs, but a mate of mine had recently bought a turntable and I was immediately hooked. In 2008 Dad bought me one of my own and gave me his old records (about 90) which he had hung on to. I have been obsessed with this format ever since.
What does your collection mean to you?
My collection is what defines me; it’s who I am. I love having the ability to throw on a record and escape. It will immediately take you away to previous moment in your life. Listening to the likes of The Beatles, Neil Young or Cat Stevens take me back to my childhood. Oasis, Pearl Jam and The White Stripes formed a significant part of my teenage years. You can go wherever you want to be without ever leaving your lounge room.
My collection makes me feel nostalgic, it makes me feel happy and sometimes, it even makes me feel sad. My records are the soundtrack to my life.
Do you have a record collecting philosophy? A price you won’t pay, maybe, or a total number of records you won’t go past. Do you buy reissues?
I really don’t have a formula for collecting. Living in Melbourne, there are plenty of places to dig (Northside Records, Plug Seven and The Searchers are my favourites - all within about 1 KM of each other) but being so isolated from the rest of the world, prices are sometime a little high. I like to supplement my collection by buying a lot of the new releases from Amazon, both UK and US. This way I can feel better about paying that little bit more at the local independent store sometimes.
I’m comfortable with paying as much as I feel the record is worth. There’s really no limit, however, I have felt physically sick on a few occasions after looking at receipts of some of the more expensive albums I’ve purchased.
If a good quality reissue is available, I’m happy to pick it up. I tend to really only chase funk & soul originals these days. I like a cover that's a little bit battered; you can feel and see the history of it and know someone once loved the album.
What’s your comfort record, the one you can always go back to? What makes it so special?
On The Beach - Neil Young. A masterpiece of 70’s rock; it’s like a drug to me. I know every track back to front. I would’ve listened to this album well over 1000 times.
This is another record that I vividly remember Dad playing a lot on vinyl as I don’t believe it had an official CD release until 2003. Maybe that’s why I treasure it so much?
Any tips for other record collectors out there?
Simple. Don’t regret not buying something. You’ll always have the ability to earn more money but you may never see that record again.
Find out more about Jase Ruffell's collection via his instagram:
#vinyloftheday is launching a vinyl marketplace for everyone to share their collections, buy/sell records, audio gear, music merchandise and accessories, 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