@ZackTeibloom With the festival season on hold until March’s SXSW, I decided to start a new blog dedicated to everything vinyl-related in Austin. “The Collectors” will be a regular feature of Austin Vinyl, where my blog partner @RachelDonnan and I go into the home of Austin’s vinyl collectors, gush over what they’ve amassed and wish we could afford it. WOXY DJ and vinyl-lover @Shivvy invited @RachelDonnan and me into his home to talk about our love of all things vinyl and let us dig through his 1,000+ records Saturday afternoon.
As we moved from room to room to dig through each box of albums, it was clear @Shivvy had a little speech prepared for us to explain the origins of his passion for vinyl. “My mother put those gigantic 1970’s headphones on her stomach when I was in utero,” he says proudly. He went on to say that the early exposure to music caused him to freak out whenever music wasn’t playing, so he was given a stereo for his third birthday. He only had two albums then (Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours and the Grease Soundtrack,*) but that was all it took for his vinyl obsession to begin.
@Shivvy estimates he now has well over 1,000 pieces of vinyl including his impressive collection of singles. “I worked in radio for 16 years. Combine the free stuff with all the things I buy, and I could take a mail crate full of records out of here and you wouldn’t even notice. My collection is all over the place. I have so many god damn boxes.”
He plans on outfitting his extra bedroom with IKEA shelves, alphabetizing everything, and possibly making a special section for his singles and extensive Bjork, Madonna and Prince catalogue, but for now they’re haphazardly strewn about in boxes. The thing that surprised me most, was that he hasn’t even had a working record player since he moved into his new apartment in September.
You aren’t likely to see @Shivvy picking through the dollar bins. “If something’s in the dollar bin, it’s probably there for a reason**.” He’s a Waterloo/End of an Ear shopper for the most part. His collection is probably 90% records that were bought or received new, with a preference for exquisite packaging. He’s clearly into the collecting because he loves the music, but there is an visual aesthetic he’s drawn to. Specifically, the colored and marbleized vinyl and deluxe packaging.
“I’m a collector [for the] fun side of it. I’m not obsessed with having things of a limited pressing, but it’ll push me to the edge to buy it,” he said.
His collection has a decent amount of old albums, including a strong Beatles section and some classics, but it’s primarily newer albums. He could talk for hours about Prince singles, and we didn’t even get into his Madonna section, but the highlight of the collection is the amount of Bjork vinyl he has.
“Bjork, more than any other person, has put me in debt because she’s a crazy bitch,” @Shivvy says before saying she’s his queen. He admits he’s “pretty intense” with his Bjork collecting. The Icelandic singer released five singles from one album, each with a deluxe package featuring a DVD, CD and extensive packaging. Of course, @Shivvy had to have every one (pictured at top.)
I held my breath as he would occasionally fling albums around his apartment, not treating them with the devout care you’d associate with a collector. “They’re not even in order,” he said. “I don’t buy things to collect them and never touch them.”
The collection is always growing. He says he “could have paid for my new stereo system by now with all the money I’ve spent on records since I moved.” When he goes record shopping, he says he never goes with a master plan.
Being a DJ at WOXY over the years has gotten him some incredible relics. He has dozens of signed albums, including the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, Ra Ra Riot, Blur and the Chemical Brothers album (pictured left.) To test the glow in the dark power of his Arcade Fire “Power Out” album, we blew out a candle in his bathroom and held it up to the light for a minute to generate the glow***.
@Shivvy has some valuable albums like a live Oasis album (valued at around $200) that he considers selling, but the collection is really just for him. It’s his passion. It saddens me to think that all these albums are sitting there collecting dust until he gets his new stereo, but he insists he brings some into WOXY to play, and assures me they’ll all be in alphabetical order soon enough.
You can catch @Shivvy on the air at WOXY.com at noon Monday to Friday and Xtra Beats Friday at 9 p.m.
*He still has the Grease soundtrack somewhere, but had to replace Rumours after playing the shit out of it.
**Austin Vinyl’s collection is almost exclusively built from the dollar bin, so we tend to disagree, but then again we have nothing on @Shivvy’s stash.
***It kind of surprises me that this isn’t more common. Seems like it would be ideal for DJ’s if all records glowed in the dark.
If you or someone you know in Austin has a record collection worth sharing, let us know at Austinvinyl (at) gmail (dot) com. We’re always looking for “The Collectors” so we can live vicariously through their stacks and pretend they’re our own.