Every month, we’ll be naming one lucky reader as our Record Collector Of The Month. This month, the distinction went to Kristian Sorge, of New York City. With a collection of over 2,000 records, Kristian has been collecting since 1994.
You started collecting records in 1994. Can you recall your first ever experience with the format?
I remember we had some of my brother’s friends staying over at my house. When they left, they left behind a few records including Led Zeppelin and AC/DC. My brother already owned these records so he kind of gave them to me. I really enjoyed owning vinyl, even at like 13 or 14.
Was there anyone in particular who helped show you the world of vinyl records?
When I lived in San Francisco, I lived next door to this kid, Derick, who was one of those people who knew next to nothing about pop culture, but knew everything about everything in alternative/punk music. I remember him not knowing who Pearl Jam was, but turning me on to the Locust, Metamatics and Frodus. He was the first person to play me a lot of Dischord and San Diego hardcore. And he really was the person who told me that great music didn’t have to be known by everyone. I remember him playing me the Trans Megetti and me thinking, how could more people not know who this band is? I just loved them. He gave me their first LP. I still have it and love it.
You also interned both at LIVE 105 in San Francisco and at Fat Wreck Chords during college. How did those experiences contribute both to your love of music and in particular, your love of vinyl?
Strangely enough, both of these experiences really changed me in different ways. When I worked at Fat, I really got to see how much time and love really went into one single vinyl release at a time, but Fat is a really tight crew. You know?
As much as I enjoyed the process, at LIVE 105, they really loved my eclectic taste and really were interested in knowing a bit more about what I liked at the time and what new bands I really thought were going to get a bit bigger. At one time, as an intern, one of the DJs let me go on-air once a week to talk about punk and indie music I liked at the time. I mean I was like 22 on one of the biggest alternative radio stations in the country. It was all very surreal.
And now, you’ve amassed a collection of over 2,000 records. What would be your tips in terms of upkeep for such a large collection?
Haha, well.. I’ll tell you this… first of all, keep everything as protected as possible. Buy a lot of record sleeves and inner sleeves. Also, I have three separate lists of my collection. I first did this cause I wanted to be able to trade, but later I realized I needed this because of my renter’s insurance. God forbid something ever happened, I have a list to give the insurance company. Also, when I first started collecting, I mostly collected 7 inches cause they were the most mobile and anyone knows, you spend most of your 20s moving from apt to apt every 6 months. Now that I have a bit more space for myself, I started to focus on my full length collection a bit more.
I have recently also tried to separate my real collectables from those records I play more often, just in case. I mean, if I have a record that’s worth a few hundred dollars, I am not going to play it as much as something I bought for 5 bucks somewhere. So I have two boxes for stuff I really choose not to play as much anymore. But I am definitely not one to shy away from opening up a new record, even if I know it’ll be worth something some day and at least playing it once or twice.
Judging by your photos, several shelves in your home are filled to the brim with vinyl. What do people say when they come over and see such a massive collection of music that doesn’t exist in just an iTunes library?
Most people really don’t know where to start when it comes to my collection. I often offer to let people peruse but most are a bit intimidated. I mean I tell everyone, I just really enjoy the tangible experience of listening to music. Opening up the LP, looking at artwork, being forced to flip the record and genuinely interacting with the listening experience, that’s what enjoyable to me. Also for some reason, people are amazed that my collection is alphabetized. It would be insane for it not to be, I mean, really, how would I be able to find anything? Is there anyone out there who doesn’t alphabetize? What are the alternatives?
Describe some of your prized possessions and how you came about picking them up.
Here’s a list of some of my prized possessions..
Slint — Spiderland (test pressing)
Nirvana / Melvins split — blue marble
The Mars Volta — Deloused (glow in the dark 4LP)
Rosetta — The Determinism of Morality (1 / 50 orange)
City of Caterpillar tour 7″ without the hole popped out
Runner-ups: All of the At The Drive In 45s, Elliott Smith/Pete Krebs split, I also just got a LCD Soundsystem 45 that is 1/30, a crazy amount of hellacopter 45s… and probably too much to list..
The real trick to getting great records and limited records is gaining a rapport with labels. Sign up for all the label mailing lists that you can. Email owners and mail order people. Just say hello. My favorite story is that me and greg from Level Plane records would email all the time when I was buying records from him in NYC in the late 90’s early 00’s. Anyway, we found out that we used to work our day jobs right around the block from each other on Madison Ave. One time, when I ordered a bunch of records including some really hard to find City of Caterpillars/Neil Perry stuff, he suggested we meet on the corner instead of spending money on shipping. We met on the corner and it looked like a total drug deal. I handed him like 80 bucks cash and he handed me a brown paper bag filled with lps and 45s. If a cop saw us, it would have been a different story completely.
And finally, do you see the collecting of records continuing for you in the future?
Sadly, one of two things will happen: I will continue collecting and I will run out of space or I will continue collecting and run out of money. Either way, I see me continuing collecting.
You can see Kristian’s Dead Format list here, which includes some wants.