At first glance, Ben Kessler seems to blend in with the business folks and government busybodies of the nation’s capital. But when not dressed in a suit and tie, working at a non-profit that deals with food policy and safety, he can be found dressed down in jeans and a T-shirt, attending as many shows as he can in the District, while sharing his wealth of knowledge about music with others around him. With over 4,500 records in his collection, he is our October Collector of the Month.
Instead of doing the interview via email, we sat down with him over lunch at Chinatown Express in the heart of D.C.’s Chinatown, to discuss his massive collection, what piqued his interest in music, as well as his friendship with NPR Music’s very own Bob Boilen, and how he ended up talking about Record Store Day on All Songs Considered.
Modern Vinyl: When we were eating lunch, you were telling me about how you grew up in this area. What were some of your musical tastes growing up, and how have they evolved over the years?
Ben Kessler: So my first thing that I owned, the first piece of music that was mine was The B-52’s Cosmic Thing on tape. I had a brown Fisher-Price tape player that toddlers of that era had. I was four when it came out, and I would walk around with it. I took serious ownership of that, and that it was mine. Although I don’t remember the story, my mom likes to recall that some local radio station had some contest for a beach towel, or something or other, [where you submitted] your favorite piece of music. To support me, and so I could take an interest in this, my 4-year-old love, she entered me into this and I won the beach towel. That’s my earliest memory of having any sense of musical taste, but also the first encouragement I got from my parents, and specifically my mom, supporting that as an interest, which continued as I got older. [That included] the earliest memories of being too young to ride in the front seat of the car, but my mom quizzing me on being able to differentiate girl groups on the radio, and teaching me about girl groups and why we hate the Four Seasons, but like the Four Tops. Without getting into it, understanding about race and authenticity in music. That probably started around kindergarten or first grade.
My only favorite band that I’ve ever had is Pearl Jam. In a time in which it seemed that suburban white kids had a set of choices about who their favorite band was going to be, it made it socially nice, because you knew that there were the kids who liked Pearl Jam, the kids who liked whatever else. I was living here [in Bethesda] at the time, and I went to my first concert when I was 10. My mom told my sister, who is two-and-a-half years older, and I to open The Washington Post and pick out your first concert. I wanted to see The Grateful Dead at RFK [Stadium] and my mom said I could go when I was older. We ended up at Cranberries and Toad The Wet Sprocket at Nissan Pavilion, which is now Jiffy Lube Live. It was August 9th, 1995, which was the day that Jerry Garcia died. Every August 9th I will call or email my mom and wish her a happy anniversary. I think she was right at the time, in so much that it was a dark and bad time for what was happening, in and out of The Grateful Dead. I think she made the right parenting decision. I haven’t forgiven her though.
As my tastes evolve, and with this encouragement, my mom is the music fan. She has her ticket for seeing The Beatles front row in Atlantic City in 1964. In terms of my interest in vinyl…Pearl Jam puts out their Christmas singles every year for their fan club, they sing about records and talk about records, so there was that interest level. By the time that I was interested, my parents’ records, and most of my mom’s records were put away in the basement. We were still living in this area so I was around 11, and I remember going through her records and pulling out records, pulling out a turntable that was not set up, and putting the needle on and trying to listen through the cartridge. Soon after that, once we moved to Connecticut, when I was in 7th grade, I got my own record player. That’s when I started buying records.
In terms of musical taste evolution, I think it depended on what my sources were for learning about the music. My sister liked what she liked, but wasn’t particularly into it, so I didn’t have that experience that people talk about with their big brother, big sister, or cool older cousin who indoctrinates them into certain things, showing them what’s cool or what’s not. Like any kid, I probably had missteps along the way about what my tastes were, but by fifth and sixth grade, I had carved out my identity among friends. I was the guy who liked to go to concerts, and my parents would take us to concerts. Being in Bethesda, certainly when the 9:30 Club was downtown, I wouldn’t have been allowed to go. My parents had no interest in taking me. There were bigger things that you’d see in the newspaper. I frequent music stores in D.C., I buy tons of CDs, and there was Tower Records on Rockville Pike that I would go to with some regularity. That was the first time, and I count myself as very lucky, that I did run into a cool person in that model of older brother. I never ran into that jerk record store clerk that makes fun of your music taste. Everyone that I saw were always very encouraging and willing to recommend stuff for me. “You like this? Try this that isn’t on the radio or playing in bigger cities.” My dad took me to that Tower Records, especially if we had to stop by his government job in Rockville on weekends. It would be like this orchestrating of letting me go to Tower at the same time. The daughter of a family friend worked there, and she was the first example of that encouragement too.
That continued when I got to Connecticut and started buying records. I shopped at a store called Cutler’s, which is no longer around. It had been for 75 or so years before it closed. They used to have CDs in the front, and a whole separate back room for vinyl. I was about 12 when I started buying records there. The records were surrounded by a DJ booth of sorts, and there were people who mostly bought 12”s there, and me. I stuck out for all sorts of different reasons, one of which [was me] being a small, white kid. They had new releases too. One of the workers gave me a 12” copy of the “Juicy” single…Notorious B.I.G’s “Juicy.” I’m very lucky to have met these people who helped [foster and encourage]. If you have an interest, it can take one mean person to dissuade you of that interest, and I always had positive people [around me].
That’s not really answering your question about musical taste, but that’s the evolution of my interest in music. I grew up in Connecticut, outside of New Haven, which had Toad’s Place that people went to; I went to a private high school that specialized in smart weirdos. I was allowed to go to my first concert without parental supervision when I was 13. I recently had a conversation with my parents where I asked, “What’s wrong with you?” If I saw a 13-year-old, or two 13-year-olds walk into a concert [without parents] I’d call child protective services. My mom went to a baby shower where you had to give the expecting parents one piece of parental advice. Hers was to encourage all legal interests. My dad took me to my first Pearl Jam show when I was 13, and I needed protection for that. Everyone was getting older, but it was a slightly rough and tumble environment for a very small 13-year-old. I don’t remember being told “No.” I was careful about what I chose, because I didn’t want to ruin that.
That continued, and once people started getting driver’s licenses, and this brings up another conversation with my mom I had because I used to drive around. The East Coast [and New England] is a good place to see music, especially if you want to see the same band a bunch. I’m a big Phish fan too. Traveling around the Northeast…I had a friend that I would do that with. I’d get in her Volvo and my parents would wish us well, and we’d drive back that night. I asked my mom, “How nervous were you?” She said, “Not so much.” I think it’s a good combination of support and trust from my parents that probably fed into my interest and my ability to obsessively seek out music. New Haven had a great record store, and it had live music. Going to college in western Massachusetts, there’s plenty of music to see, especially in any college town. I think when I moved down here [in D.C.] I was determined to see music. I didn’t make friends who were into that growing up. In high school, I realized I was only going to buy one ticket to a show. If someone wants to come with me, they can buy their own ticket. I didn’t want to buy two tickets and beg someone to come with to some show, since you sometimes get worried if they’d like it or not. I see lots of shows by myself. It wasn’t until the last handful of years where I started making friends within [the scene] who work in music or play music. That was just a product of being at shows all the time.
MV: You said you try to go to at least one show a night.
BK: Right. That’s how I met Bob Boilen. He’s one of my closest friends for sure. I always knew who he was, but it’s not that I wasn’t interested, but I’d go to a show and I wasn’t there to make friends. I don’t know what it was about whatever else was going on in my life, but it wasn’t appealing to me as a social outlet. The way he and I became friends, [was through] a band called Goat, which was playing at the Black Cat. I thought it was incredible, and there was a late show at 9:30 that night. I was walking over, and I saw him walk by. I was riding this buzz of having seen this great show, and having never said a word to him before in my life, I said, “Bob, you weren’t at Goat. You made a mistake. What’s wrong with you?” First he said, “Who are you?,” and he said “I chose this show, but you’re right, that would’ve been good.” We started talking. People come up to him all the time. If you’re at a show, it’s part of the territory of going to a show. He’s very gracious and will spend as much time with anybody, but what I’ve learned since is that he’s completely faceblind and awful with names. The next night, at another show, he came up to me and said, “What have I been listening to non-stop?” I just looked at him and he said, “Motherfucking Goat. I can’t believe I missed that show!” We joke about it, and I don’t think Goat has come through since. He still hasn’t seen them. They’re responsible for a great friendship.
Another story involves a woman whose birthday was the other night and I just saw a show. Brian Wilson up at the Strathmore. She’s one of my closest friends, and she runs marketing for 9:30/I.M.P. The way she and I became friends involved me being at the 9:30 four nights in a row, standing in the exact same place each night. She came up to me, and essentially asked “Should I know who you are? Am I doing my job? Do you write for someone?” I said, “No, I’m just here.” And that’s how she and I became friends. I think you just end up seeing the same people if you end up standing in a room long enough. You start talking to them, and with some of those people, you become friends with them. Some of those people you become very good friends with. I don’t know if I’ve answered any of your questions, but that’s the evolution of how I’ve gotten to this point.
MV: You mentioned your mom’s record collection, and you started collecting when you were 12. Did your obsession start just by sifting through her collection?
BK: Yeah! It was a mix, but you could tell which [ones] were my mom’s; they were clear who hers were, and my dad had the Barbra Streisand records. I’ve since taken my dad to see her at the Verizon Center. I took him for his birthday. It wasn’t so bad! But it was my mom’s records, where I said “I’m going to take these, and they’re mine now. These are the ones that I want.” That was an okay weekend activity with my mom. She was perfectly happy to go through records. It was a time where it was an in-between period; a pretty good time to start buying records. You could find the so-called “essential” records that weren’t too expensive at that point. In terms of whether it’s classic rock-types, or saying “I don’t have any David Bowie records.” You could go into a record store and buy them for $5 or under at that point; buy a few different records. Bowie, Springsteen, whoever it was. Records that sold millions of copies and should be readily available. I think at that point they were pretty inexpensive compared to now. Or at least they would sit there for a while, so the sections of the biggest artists of the 20th Century were pretty well-stocked at a smaller store. That was helpful. That was a pretty good time to start.
MV: This was also the time when CDs were becoming more popular, and records were being phased out.
BK: I think they had been phased out. I was born in ‘85, so this was the later ‘90s? CDs were still selling very well, but I was still buying records. I went to one store that was all used, the aforementioned Cutler’s stocked new and used. They would get in new stuff, but it wasn’t like you could get everything you ever wanted. You could special-order things. There were things that I would buy on CD and records for the time, because I wanted to listen in my mom’s car. There was no download code, or ability to download it through any source. If I wanted to listen to it in the car, I had to buy CD. That’s how it started. My mom taking me to Home Depot or the equivalent and said “When I was in college, we made our record shelves out of cinderblocks and plywood, so that’s how you’re going to do it to start.” She took me, we went, and that’s what my first record shelves were.
MV: And now we’ve got IKEA! The Kallax!
BK: Right! And now there’s all sorts of different types. But it was a sharing experience of how she did that, and it was nice. There were nice people at those stores. Speaking of that, an anecdote. So Cutler’s, which is now closed, my mom was putting together something for a close family friend. Someone was going to Yale, and she wanted to put together some type of welcome basket of New Haven things that we liked. One of them was a Cutler’s gift certificate. My parents were living at San Francisco at the time and my mom called, and asked about a gift certificate. The person said “Your voice sounds so familiar.” She said “Well I haven’t lived in the area in 15 years, but I’m Ben Kessler’s mom.” The guy on the other line who managed the store said, “I think about Ben Kessler all the time.” I hadn’t been in the store in a while, and they had moved a few doors down from where they were to survive; that’s what they did in the mid-2000s, when Yale students started getting into vinyl records. It was nice that he thought of me as that one little kid, and because of that demographic, I stuck out in his mind. Nice people.
The way that I met Katie [Alice Greer] from Priests was that she was working at Crooked Beat Records in D.C. I had a friend that worked there. I knew her band, I had seen her band, and we became friends because she was working there. That being said, in terms of the importance of the record store, having said all that, I’m not that protective about brick-and-mortar record stores. If I’m in a city; every city I go to, I’ll look and see what record stores are near my hotel. The way that everybody knows what the market is for records, you can essentially find whatever you want if you’re willing to be patient and pay money. At the level at which I collect, you can have anything you want. It’s not collecting rare 78s; I’m buying records, even if it’s small runs of things, so-called “mass produced.” There’s some records I could buy right now, but I don’t want to spend the money. I’ve had my good record store experiences, but this might be sacrilegious, but I don’t weep for saving all record stores. That’s a tangent too…
MV: To go off of that, here in the District, even though you’re not super protective of the stores, what are some of your favorite ones out here?
BK: When I first moved back here…I was walking distance within Crooked Beat. Crooked Beat has since closed and moved out of here; but have since re-opened in Virginia. Crooked Beat and Smash Records on 18th…and the fact that I was walking, that was mind-blowing to me. Being at Amherst, we had one really good used store, and a Newbury Comics, a Massachusetts chain. They would stock new stuff, but it wasn’t this idea that every new release would be in stock on vinyl. Amazon hadn’t really made that transition yet, InSound was starting at that time, in terms of stocking everything. I think that was important to me, in terms of comfort level after college. I made good friends with people who worked at local records stores; it’s a way to meet people. Joint Custody does a good a job as anyone in terms of curating a store. I think D.C.’s a fine place, but in terms of regulating the money I spend, it’s easier to say I know I want this thing, so I’m going to buy it on Discogs as opposed to walking to a record store and buying five things that you didn’t know you wanted before. I think there’s something good to be said about both of those approaches.
MV: You also mentioned hotel stays, and how you try to visit stores near your hotels. Are there any stores in the world that have caught your attention?
BK: So my parents live out in San Francisco, and they’ve lived out there since I went to college. They moved out there 13 years ago. Amoeba is good just to walk through, almost to see what they are choosing to display. I’ll walk through their new releases just to see what is selling. Any record store I go to, I’ll look at their new arrivals. I think you can get a pretty good idea of how good a store is by how good that section is. I was in Chicago and Boston over the summer. I saw the different Reckless Records locations in Chicago. I always walk out with good stuff. I went and saw Pearl Jam in Europe in 2012 for a bunch of different shows. When I went to a record store in each city, each country that I was in. I remember being in Oslo and needing to find an authentic place with inverted crosses on the walls, or I had failed. I found a place that I bought a T-shirt from. In Norwegian, it says “A Place In Hell.” I felt like I had succeeded in that.
I think what I’m looking for in a store is that I don’t need to have a lengthy conversation with anybody, but if you haven’t seen me in your store before, and I’m buying any number of records, say something to me about my choices. Have something to say. I think that bothers me, with the idea that people can ring you up and not say a word to you. If you’re new to town, and are looking to continue buying records in that city, that seems to be missing. I don’t know. Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s bad luck. I think in a record store, it’s how good is your “just in.” I want to be able to look through that. I don’t want to spend hours in a record store. I get people who want to dig, and want to look at what’s underneath, because there’s something they’ve been looking for forever, but I love buying records. If I’m in a new city, I want to explore. It’s time to go to the next thing. It’s a part of my travels. I think curating is important to me.
MV: While we’re still on the topic of record stores, in 2014 you were featured on All Songs Considered. You talk about Record Store Day and sounded very energetic about it.
BK: I was. I think I was energetic. Bob was gracious enough. He thinks of me when he thinks of buying records. Because of his hard work, and many other fine characteristics, he has a dream job. He is as gracious and inclusive of letting people in on that dream. If there’s someone playing his desk, if there’s a show he gets to go to, if there is an activity, he wants to bring people along for the ride. That was his way of saying “Hey, come on the show and talk about this.” I was properly energetic, and my thing about RSD or any type of releases, if there’s people who want it, fine. If you’re putting out things that people legitimately want, who am I to say that it’s bad? Or that it’s damaging to whoever?
I get the complaints with holding up pressing plants and major labels getting involved. If small record stores can’t return leftover inventory, are you really helping local record stores, or are you just putting them underwater because they’ve made some missteps? I get all of that, and I understand why that’s problematic. But put out things people want. If you put out things that people could not have otherwise gotten through other means; if original pressings are prohibitively expensive for people who are entering collecting, or are relatively new to collecting? Great. I think that that certainly, with this Record Store Day, and this past Black Friday, I didn’t buy anything on Black Friday, I don’t think. I’ll buy anything that The Grateful Dead puts out. They put out a live box [this year]. I have that. The Phish release. If I don’t have it, I’ll buy. There were two Pearl Jam-related things. But there weren’t…there wasn’t anything I was interested in.
For a handful of years, I would help out at Crooked Beat by taking people’s bags, a fun thing. I was out of town, seeing Pearl Jam. I felt bad that I wasn’t available to help out. I don’t think there’s anything inherently bad; I don’t think there’s anything inherently good. If it can make a record store’s year…the list has to be good. If the list is bad, it’s incumbent on the record store to curate and to not bring in too much product, and to understand what the customer wants. That makes it really hard when there’s close to 1,000 releases and we continue to see the list grow. Hopefully there’s a consensus that this last year was…well it didn’t resemble what we had seen previously, both on quality and the list being bloated. I think in anything, for any release, don’t trot out repressing of things that people could otherwise get, or didn’t know, if they were a new collector, that they could get a good quality first pressing for considerably cheaper. That goes with “Are you exploiting the collector? The fetishist?” Because you know these things will sell. It’s a fine line between giving people what they want, but being respectful.
MV: What I’ve noticed, especially this year, is that a lot of the releases appealed to teenagers. More mainstream music.
BK: Everyone’s gotta start somewhere. If that encourages people, great. If someone’s favorite artist is putting out a vinyl release, and that’s that person’s first record, and they start buying more, that’s fine. I don’t think anyone should take ownership of Record Store Day. It should be for record stores. It should be the biggest day. If that can put the record store in the black for the year, that’s the original point. There’s plenty of stuff. The same friend of mine that worked at a record store, we thought about what we would put out if we had publishing rights. One thing we say all the time is if someone would put out the original Broadway recording of Rent on four records. There’s tons of random stuff. Reissued stuff that could appeal to a younger [crowd]. People are equally respectful of that audience; of not just putting out the same record on a new color, or reissuing a record with nothing different. No remasters. I think I was enthusiastic on All Songs because I was excited to be sitting there with my friends. But we were talking about music that we liked. I liked the things that I bought that year. I was excited to talk about it and hear it. If that gets people to put out cool things, great.
MV: Let’s shift gears here and talk about some of your favorite things! You listed “Benaroya Hall” by Pearl Jam, several Beach Boys albums and “Story Of The Ghost” by Phish are some of your favorite, prized possessions.
BK: I think those are the things that I had been thinking about, since I had been looking at the format of these interviews. Those are the things that if they were destroyed, from a financial point of view, a hard press to replace. They would be in the burning building. If I had to grab some things? I’d grab those. I grabbed them after the D.C. earthquake, if you remember that Mid-Atlantic earthquake? I took out renter’s insurance, and now home insurance, on my record collection and concert poster collection. If my entire record collection was destroyed, I think I would take the money and just disappear. I don’t think I could deal with poring over my Discogs list and trying to replace everything.
MV: Because you have over 4,500 records?
BK: Yeah. Those are definitely the things that now it would cost me a lot of money to go out and buy. Those are favorite things of mine, but they are replaceable. There’s not…in terms of the pressings that I have of them, like Pearl Jam’s Benaroya Hall. I think for Pearl Jam fans…one copy sold on Discogs for over $1,000. I’m not spending $1,000 on a four-record…on anything. I wouldn’t have it any more. Phish records that came out, I was lucky to be buying records in the late-90s and early-2000s of things that are now far more expensive than I think they should be. They’re things that sold a ton of copies on a bunch of different formats, but now are $200-$300. That’s not how I spend my money. In terms of my individual copy? There’s nothing special about it. I was thinking about this question, and looking back at other questions.
Going back to my mom’s records…they have a sticker that she put on. When she went to college, she put labels with her maiden name and college house on them. She went to college at a time when other people brought their records to college and she had to make sure they wouldn’t get stolen. They are the records that…if they are that particular pressing of Revolver…tons of kids in the United States had it; nothing special about that pressing, because she was buying it with all the other kids of the United States at that time. That’s my mom’s. My mom heard Revolver for the first time by putting that record on a record player. That’s the stuff that I think I would say that’s a pretty mind-blowing thought. Just the thought of what she was listening to at the time, growing up, I think about the records of the mid-to-late-’60s. To hear something like Sgt. Pepper’s for the first time without any preconceived notions about what you’re about to hear, that you hadn’t read anything about it yet, but you knew a new Beatles record was coming out so you went to a record store, and bought it. You knew what the cover looked like; the cover was weird. That had to have been mind-blowing. We, for better or worse, didn’t grow up with that music. Our tastes, our understanding and hearing evolves, and after a certain point we have…well, to have the records that my mom had those experiences with, I think those are the only records I have that are irreplaceable. Again, I’m not collecting rarity level. There’s nothing historically significant about my record collection. It’s just personal. I think those are the records that everyone should hear.
I’m sure there’s other things that people have given me as gifts, records from friends’ bands, I value those. I think it’s cool. Going back to Priests, Katie and I will talk about this. We independently had this talk and looked at our record collections, and think about if the people on our shelves were hanging out together. Who’s sitting next to each other? Not my albums, but my singles collection has Priests 7”s next to Prince singles. Katie and I talk about Prince a lot. Having friends’ records, having records that belonged to other people, having records that were given as gifts, I think those are the things that are, not to be totally cheesy about it, but those are the irreplaceable ones.
MV: Let’s get cheesy with you then. What’s your favorite record of all-time in your collection, and is it hard to find now? Easy to get for you?
BK: My favorite album of all-time is No Code, by Pearl Jam. It came out in ‘96. I wasn’t buying records at the time. That was the first Pearl Jam record that I have a very specific memory of buying it right when it came out. I bought it on CD though. Once I started buying vinyl, I think I bought it at a record store. They just remastered and reissued it, so I don’t know if it’s easier to find. Obviously the remaster you can go to their website or wherever and order it. That just happened. I think from ‘96 until now, it was, or at least at a certain point, it went out of print. It’s great packaging. It’s not necessarily that it’s the vinyl release, but it’s my favorite album.
MV: You mentioned the irreplaceable ones. Are there any interesting stories how you yourself got records?
BK: You become that person that if someone’s looking to get rid of records, they ask if you want any of them. There’s plenty of that, but that’s not particularly interesting. I don’t know. I think memories of well, these were CDs of a close family friend whose husband had died. She picked out certain things of his, and some of that was music-related. I have nothing that comes to mind except that. Nothing new.
MV: Shifting away from all things records, let’s talk about your audio setup? What’s it like? And are you the type of person who would want to play things on a record more, or do you stream it more or play it on CD?
BK: All my home listening is either vinyl or tape. Tape only if that’s the exclusive means of release, and chances are I would’ve bought that either at a show or going back to Sister Polygon, Priests label. I have said to them that I will buy everything they ever put out. Most of the time that’s tape. My car fortunately has a tape player. I don’t know what I’ll do when I have to get a new car. Home is vinyl, and the only streaming I do is the Live Music Archive. That has essentially every Dead show that exists or is known to exist over a period. During my workday I’ll listen to it. You can go to a certain day and pick it in history, and it shows what’s available for every year for that particular day. My commute is MP3s put on my phone. But home is definitely vinyl.
My setup is…I bought a Music Hall MMF-9 right around college. That was the first big
. I went from secondhand to new, and this was my first serious stereo purchase. Then I bought B&W speakers at some point after graduation, because I felt like I needed speakers that looked like furniture. I couldn’t just have these speakers that had been with me through college, and had whatever horrible things done to them. I was living in a studio apartment at the time, and just couldn’t be there anymore. Just recently, I upgraded my amp and pre-amp within the last calendar year. It’s a Peachtree amp and a Project pre-amp. I don’t focus on that. I take pride in it. I think my stereo sounds good. It’s not something in terms of financial investment. I’m not always looking to upgrade. It was years in between those different purchases. I’m not constantly saying I could upgrade this piece or that piece. Maybe I’d like to buy something? I think I could do better in this thing? I went ahead and did that, but it’s not a total focus. If the hobby encompasses that part of it? I’d rather buy records, buy concert tickets, travel to see music, than invest in a new cartridge or whatever. Although I have a lot of records, it’s way I approach collecting. It’s serious, but it’s not serious serious. My ear is only as good as it is. Sure I think vinyl sounds better, but I’m not…I don’t need to get into a debate with anyone on the science of what my turntable arm is made out of.
MV: Lastly, what advice would you give to someone who is just starting out their collection?
BK: For the first time since I’ve started collecting, I went through some existential moment of panic, and thought that maybe my collection was a bit oversaturated? Bloated? Not curated? I found about over 100 records that essentially if a stranger or someone I thought was cool came through, music idol, whoever and I couldn’t say a word, and they started going through my collection? Not that I would be embarrassed, but I would say that I have no idea why I had it. It was a pre-order because I bought this thing and I was interested, or the second release wasn’t as good as the first. There’s about 100 where I thought I didn’t need these. Not that I’m defined by my collection, but there’s no reason that I have these. When you have that many records, it feels good to get rid of stuff, even if you don’t put a dent in anything. I think my advice would to be patient. Don’t be self-conscious. Don’t buy for the sake of buying.
A big thanks to Ben for talking with us.
Photo Credit: Nicole Capó