Matthew Cianci is a record collector based in Montreal, Canada, who has over 1,000 records in his collection. The 18-year-old student has been collecting since 2009 and is “slowly getting more and more of my friends into it.” He counts Queen, Bob Dylan and The Beatles as his favorite bands and collects his fair share of soundtracks on vinyl.
To start us off here, in your application you talk about being from Montreal. What’s the vinyl scene like up there? Have you yet felt the sting of what seems to be rising shipping prices from the U.S. to Canada?
The vinyl scene here in Montreal is great, to say the least. We have so many amazing record stores, which gives us a really large vinyl community, with ages ranging from people younger than me to people older than my parents. Buying from the U.S. was always most expensive, not only because of the higher shipping rates but also because the American dollar is higher than the Canadian one.
What are some favorite record stores from that city and the surrounding area?
My favourite record stores in Montreal are Aux 33 Tours, Encore Books & Records, and Le Pick-Up.
Aux 33 Tours is the largest record store in Montreal. It has a wide variety of genres, as well as lots of rarities, a great collection of 45s, and a beautiful soundtrack section. I go there for Record Store Day. Price-wise, it gets a grade of 4/5.
Encore Books & Records is a smaller record store, and was the one that got me interested in vinyl. It’s a great store for rock, as well as all sorts of books, as in their title it says “Books” before it says “Records.” Price-wise, it gets a grade of 4/5 as well.
Le Pick-Up is where I got a good portion of my gems from and is absolutely phenomenal for classic rock LPs and 45s. It also has a pretty decent soundtrack section, but it also has a really cool soundtrack section for the 45s, with many of them coming from Europe. Price-wise, it is always worth it. 5/5 for them. The owner of Le Pick-Up is a French Canadian, and although his English may be limited, his music knowledge and collection is not.
You’re 18 now, started collecting in 2009, so that would mean you were around 12-13 when you started collecting. How does someone that young initially get into this hobby?
When I was 11, my sister was playing Queen in her room. I can’t remember what the song was, but it was on the 1992 version of Greatest Hits (not that I knew that at the time, of course), and I loved it, and went to ask her about the music. She told me that it was Queen, and I started listening to them soon after. When I started buying their music on CD, which were the first CDs I had bought, my parents noticed, and my mom told me that she had some Queen albums on vinyl. As a fan, I knew what vinyl was, but since I never saw it at HMV (at the time they still didn’t have vinyl in all their locations) I thought it was obsolete, and never really questioned why I had never seen one in the house.
After finding the box of her old records, I found four Queen albums, which were the only records I cared about then. They were A Night at the Opera, A Day at the Races, News of the World, and Jazz, from 1975, 1976, 1977, and 1978, respectively. So, I just looked at the albums, read the lyrics, and listened to the music on my computer, not knowing that we had a record player that functioned. One Saturday morning, my dad saw the albums near the computer and asked me why I had never tried playing one of them. Once I heard A Night at the Opera on vinyl, I was hooked. Soon after that, I started going to Encore Books & Records, which was on my way home from school. Naturally, I couldn’t resist the temptation and became a regular customer. Since I no longer go to that school, I haven’t gone there as much, but each time I go I always find something great.
Talk about some of your prized possessions. You seem to have a couple nice Beatles pieces, along with some classic rock?
My ultimate prized possession is my favourite album of all time, Bob Dylan’s World Gone Wrong from 1993. After several months of searching, I finally found an affordable copy on eBay, and bought it immediately. Some others are The Beatles’ Let It Be box that was only released in the Commonwealth countries, an original press of Dylan’s Time Out Of Mind, Dylan’s Greatest Hits 3, John Lennon & Yoko Ono’s experimental albums Two Virgins, Life With the Lions, and The Wedding Album, a Japanese blue vinyl pressing of the Rolling Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request, as well as several original presses of various Beatles albums from around the world, including original mono presses of A Hard Day’s Night from Brazil, Help! from New Zealand, Rubber Soul from Brazil, Revolver from the UK, and Sgt. Pepper from Canada. I could go on and on about Beatles albums, as I have many and I love each and every one of them.
For the past year or so I’ve begun really loving folk music that isn’t just Bob Dylan, so some of my prized folk albums are Woody Guthrie’s Dust Bowl Ballads, Pete Seeger’s American Favorite Ballads, and Broadside Ballads Vol. 1, which is a collection of various songs from various folk artists from the early 1960s, including Dylan and Seeger.
In addition to all that, what can be called my most personal prized possessions are my three albums from the Sam Roberts Band, a Montreal rock band that I’ve seen live three times, and whose music is among my all-time favourites. I have an autographed copy of their debut EP on vinyl with a personal autograph from Sam Roberts, a signed version of their latest album, Lo-Fantasy, and the RSD release of their Counting the Days EP, a collection of songs that didn’t make the cut for Lo-Fantasy.
My final prized possession is an album called Robert Charlebois Avec Louise Forestier, also known as Lindberg or Lindbergh in various parts of the world, which is an album by the legendary Quebecois musician Robert Charlebois, featuring another famous Quebec musician, Louise Forestier. The album, from beginning to end, is just wonderful. Quebec, the province where Montreal is located, is primarily French-speaking, and even though English is my first language, I still love some French-language music that has come out of Quebec.
And you’re very into soundtracks, having over 100 in your collection and having a few among those prized possessions. Specifically I want to hear about your “Aladdin” release and why “Superbad” stands out to you so much.
I love film, and I love music, so I think it’s natural that soundtracks are a big part of my collection! That being said, I only really started collecting soundtracks about 2 years ago, and since then I have gone to record stores some days only to look through the soundtrack section so that I wouldn’t be tempted to buy anything else. I really wanted to grow the soundtrack part of my collection. Some of my prized soundtracks are the Mondo edition of John William’s Jurassic Park score, the Mondo edition of Junkie XL’s score for Mad Max: Fury Road, Antonio Sanchez’s score and the soundtrack for Birdman, the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World soundtrack on red vinyl, the score for Black Dynamite, the Music On Vinyl press of the Dallas Buyers Club soundtrack on blue and gold vinyl, as well as a picture disc version of the Lion King soundtrack. All that being said, two soundtracks in my collection that really stand out are my copy of the Superbad score and the soundtrack for Aladdin.
Superbad was the first “inappropriate” movie I ever saw. I didn’t see it in theatres, as I was 10 when it came out. But I remember watching it with my sisters one night when my parents were out of the house, and although I didn’t “get” all of the jokes at the time, I still thought it was hilarious, and is still one of my favourite films of all time. That is just one of the many reasons that the score is such a meaningful part of my collection, because every time I listen to it, I remember the first time I watched it, and all the laughs I still have every time I watch it. It also helps that the score is pretty kick-ass, and is really funk and soul based, which is always nice.
With regards to Aladdin, a movie I have seen dozens of times since I was a kid, I didn’t want to buy the picture disc version like I did with The Lion King soundtrack, as the PD version didn’t have all of the score. After checking Discogs, I saw that the only complete soundtrack releases on vinyl were released in Spain and South Korea, and after a bit of searching, I found a South Korean copy on eBay, and, like World Gone Wrong, made the purchase immediately. Who wouldn’t want Robin Williams singing on vinyl?
Soundtracks…..classic rock…..soul….again, this seems very strange for someone fresh out of high school. Who provided those musical influences growing up and what type of musical environment did you grow up in?
I didn’t grow up in a musical household. I’m the only member of my family that plays an instrument, and I don’t even know where I got that love from. I guess I just always loved music, but it was never really a big deal in my family. Not that they didn’t like music, my parents still went to concerts and bought albums, but it was never really something to collect.
Once my sister introduced me to Queen, I did most of the discovery on my own, but I always asked my mom and sisters what they knew about certain artists that I was discovering. Although my dad never really cared for music, now that I have a passion for it, he’s begun taking an interest in music as well. Although nowhere near the interest I have, he, like the rest of my family, only listens to the classic rock and alternative rock stations on the radio, as well as the mix CDs I make for the car.
I knew I had always liked The Beatles because everyone around me did. From The Beatles, I discovered Dylan, and from there I discovered Simon and Garfunkel, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, The Beach Boys, and more. A close friend of mine introduced me to Chris de Burgh, and my film class in grade 11 introduced me to Philip Glass after we watched Koyaanisqatsi in class. Unfortunately, I still don’t have a copy of that score on vinyl.
What are some of those white whales you’re still looking for?
As I mentioned earlier, Philip Glass’s score for Koyaanisqatsi is one of the albums that I would like most that I don’t have in my collection, as well as all of Bob Dylan’s “Bootleg Series” albums which are absolutely phenomenal (at least to me), and I would like to have each of them on vinyl. At the moment, I have volumes 4, 8, and 10.
Pete Seeger’s Greatest Hits, Seeger’s I Can See A New Day, Woody Guthrie’s Greatest Hits, Beck’s Sea Change, an original press of Queen’s Made In Heaven, and I’m Your Fan, the Leonard Cohen tribute album are all albums that I don’t have in my collection that I wish I did.
When it comes to soundtracks, the soundtracks for Death Proof, Inglourious Basterds, Jackie Brown, Lost in Translation, Full Metal Jacket, Natural Born Killers, Citizen Kane, Forrest Gump, Sunset Blvd., Lolita (the 1962 version), Taxi Driver, Almost Famous, Harold and Maude, Mulholland Dr., Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Psycho, The Shining, Goodfellas, Back to the Future, and the soundtrack for 2001: A Space Odyssey are all soundtracks that I do not own that I really wish were in my collection. Although it’s possible to buy most, if not all, of these online (especially 2001), for whatever reason, I just never have. Not that I don’t want them, but every time I’ve searched for them, I never found it particularly worth buying. The prices of the albums themselves are not necessarily always too expensive, but either shipping was too high, the dollar was too low, or both.
There are also several albums that have never been issued on vinyl that I wish were, like the score and soundtracks for Eyes Wide Shut, Naqoyqatsi, The Truman Show, The Hours, The Matrix, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, The Incredibles, Her (which has never had a proper soundtrack release at all), The Commitments, Wild, School Of Rock, Soundtrack For A Revolution, and so many more, the list goes on and on.
What’s going to be on your radar when you head out for Black Friday this year? Anything stick out to you?
Editor’s Note: This was meant to run earlier in November. My apologies.
Beck’s Dreams 12″, Johnny Cash’s Man In Black: Live In Denmark 1971, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody 12″, the Love & Mercy soundtrack, the True Detective soundtrack, the Transformers 30th Anniversary soundtrack, Brian Wilson’s debut album, Jimi Hendrix’s Burning Desire, and the High Fidelity soundtrack are the items that really interest me for this year’s Black Friday. There is no question that I will be waiting outside my record store for it to open.
Are you the kind of collector who’s waiting in line for RSD or Black Friday no matter what, or does there really have to be a release that you want to have you waiting in the dark?
I guess a bit of both, as each RSD has always had at least one item worth buying. I haven’t been to every Black Friday RSD, since sometimes the hassle of waiting in line and being crowded isn’t worth it, but sometimes it has been, even for one item. I have been to each regular RSD since 2010, as there have always been several things worth waiting in line for. Those few times where it hasn’t been worth the line ups, I still managed to get what I wanted online.
I’d say that this past Record Store Day was not only my favourite in terms of selection, but was my most successful in getting what I wanted, which was great. I managed to get a copy of the Darjeeling Limited OST on green vinyl, Steve Reich’s Music For 18 Musicians, as well as Bob Dylan’s The Original Basement Tape on 180 gram black vinyl and the 200 gram pink vinyl version.
You mention the presentation of vinyl is a huge reason why you invest in this format. What are some of the better packaging jobs you have in your collection?
The Traveling Wilburys collection, Bob Dylan’s Bootleg Series Volumes 4,8, and 10, Queen’s Forever, Queen Rock Montreal, the American Hustle soundtrack, the Birdman soundtrack, the Fantasia soundtrack, Mondo’s pressing of the Mad Max: Fury Road soundtrack, and the Fiddler on the Roof soundtrack.
If you could throw one question in the pool for the next COTM, what would you ask?
What is your favourite album and is it tough to find on vinyl?
From our last COTM:
Is vinyl all you collect/the only thing you have ever collected?
No. I also collect DVDs, CDs, books, and some film and music memorabilia. Before collecting vinyl, I collected LEGOs. I don’t have a Blu-Ray player so I don’t collect Blu-Rays, unfortunately.