The Collector Series is a photography and interview project documenting vinyl collectors in their most natural and intimate environment.
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Name: Jeff Fellows aka Dj JEF DAM, music director at Old Mans in Canggu, Bali
Location: Now living in Bali, originally from Sydney Australia
Size of collection: Not exactly sure but around 20,000 give or take!! I'm still always adding to the collection and also selling stuff via discogs also so it fluctuates.
What started your interest in music?
I actually grew up in a house where there wasn't much music influence from my parents. I think they owned about 20 random records and some tapes. My older brother was a big music fan predominately of rock, as were a lot of the kids I grew up with and went to school with. As much as I liked some of it I knew there was was so much more out there. From a very young age I started listening to a lot of hip hop and reggae. From the hip hop I started to discover the world of soul, funk and jazz which then just opened the door to all genres of music. I always just wanted to hear more and find new things I hadn't heard,across all genres. I was quite into the whole early 90's rave scene in Sydney which opened my eyes and ears to electronic music also. My brother had actually bought some 1200's when I was about 13 and I was a curious kid so just started to play around when no one was looking.
How long have you been collecting?
I think the first record I ever had was a cheesy pop compilation I'd won on a radio competition in 1987. After that as my interest in music grew I realized most of the music I liked I could only find on vinyl or cassettes back then so that was the start. Starting hitting up op shops, garage sales and then going to the city to spend every cent I could buying records. After a family friend saw my interest in vinyl and because it was around the time CD's were the new thing, she actually gave me a few crates of jazz records which was definitely a new world for me. After some time my collection grew and I started to play at friends bdays and parties when I was about 15. That kind of evolved into throwing parties and djing a bit more but I was always more interested in collecting and just listening and learning about music. I started working in record stores in my early 20's for about 7-8 years so during that time my collection just grew along with my obsession!!
What does your collection mean to you?
It's funny because it was such an unconscious thing to start collecting and djing, which somehow turned into a 20+year career in various forms. The vinyl itself is so important to me mostly because it not only is a timeline and memories from my own life but also because of the history and stories behind all the people involved in creating that music, artwork and ultimately the vinyl itself which is has a soul of its own. I used to find it hard to travel or be away from home out of fear that my house would burn down or I'd get robbed so I was slightly obsessive to say the least. I've actually been living in Bali now for a couple of years with all my music in storage back in Australia until recently when I've just started bringing over a few crates at a time. I just brought about 600 45's back from Australia so after 2 years without any vinyl I'm definitely much happier and will slowly bring more over.
How has record collecting affected other areas of your life?
Hahaha that's a good question. Let's see, rent not being paid, no food for days at a time, no real other major assets or savings as every cent went towards records first then bills later, lack of sleep, also possibly a factor in a few relationship break ups!!
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?
Not really. I buy what I like to listen to. I used to always try and buy original pressings and doubles of things, different versions etc but mostly it's always just been about buying and collecting what I like to listen to. Not because it's rare, popular or a trend or whatever. I've definitely slowed down a lot since I've moved overseas and also since the whole digital revolution but I'll never stop digging that's for sure.
What’s your comfort record, the one you can always go back to? What makes it so special?
I don't know if there is one in particular as I like to always listen to different music every day. I try not to to over play anything as I never want to get sick of hearing a good record. If anything, I mostly go back to a lot of the old soul stuff which is timeless and just makes you feel something whether it's happy, sad, angry or whatever.
Any tips for other record collectors out there?
To be honest, just buy what you like, not what you think is cool, or what may be worth something one day or what other people want you to play. Also take care of your vinyl as I've seen so many friends and DJs over the years ruin amazing records because they are careless or don't appreciate what they have in their hands.
Check him out at these linkshttps://www.facebook.com/jefdam