DJ DB aka DB Burkeman – Brooklyn, NY
A: Well, I guess I’m in what they call a “transitional faze” I’ve been a working DJ for nearly my whole adult life & also worked in an industry that’s shrunk to almost extinction, the music biz.
Now I’m kind of trying to reinvent myself, finding other creative ways to make a living.
A: Not sure what the first album I bought was, but the first records I bought were 7” singles. “Band of Gold” by Freda Pain, amazing soul tune, still sounds hot & danceable today. The other, & this explains my whole life’s musical psyche, was “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath. The two tracks being polar opposites of what you’d think a twelve year old boy would be into. That juxtaposition of loving dance & hard rock n roll has followed me my whole life & still motivates me today. I recently started a project with a talented producer called SZ, we’re remixing our favorite indie rock tracks into Drum & Bass tunes.
Q: What prompted you to start collecting? What age did you start? Was there a specific event in your life, an era, which signify your transition from music lover to a collector?
A: I think if I could, I’d collect everything I love, but my wife wont have it : ) I started a record collection when I was around 12 I think. My mom used to visit friends in the States & return to England with the latest U.S. albums for me. Again, it was soul stuff like Sly & the Family Stone, but also the MC5 & psychedelic stuff from CA.
Q: What’s up with that Stones 7″ ? Is it a bootleg? how and where did you get it??
A: “Cocksucker Blues”, so the story goes, was delivered by Mick & Keith to Decca Records as a “Fuck You” & a way to get out of their contact. I bought the bootleg 7″ in the early 70′s when i was really young & dont remember what year, but then in the 80′s when I started working for the Stones as sort of their unofficial DJ (I played lots of their private events, including Jade Jagger’s 16th birthday party & the band’s Life Time Grammy Award party) , I made the sleeve from a magazine photo & asked Mick to sign it.
A: My mom loved (& still loves) music; I grew up with Aretha & The Beatles.
A: Lets just say my mother refers to Keith Richards as “the devil” : )
Q: Why vinyl?
A: Originally because of the sleeves : ) I would spend hours staring Hipnosis covers, Floyd, Zeppelin etc. Then because I became a DJ & that’s what you used.
Q: And these days? why do you keep collecting?
A: Nothings changed : )
Q: C’mon man!! give me somethig here… you were collecting because that was the only format available back then. but now, you could just have MP3′s or CDs…
A: I still have an insatiable appetite for new music, looking at my iTunes right now, I have 25177 songs on it, but MP3′s dont hold any charm for me. Not that much has changed, I guess I’m still motivated to check out a record because of its visual presentation. The main difference between then & now, is that I stopped buying records simply because the sleeves excited me. I had so many crap albums at one point. I’ll still spend silly money on a new vinyl release from one of the few bands that I still am nuts about, but resent paying 99c for an MP3.
A: I’m not a hardcore digger, I get bored quickly. I really started collecting specific artists again in the late 90s when I discovered eBay. When I had a label at Warner Bros, I would spend silly amounts of time & money looking for rare Stones records. I’m now told that I have one of the largest vinyl collections of theirs that exists.
Q: Tell me a useful record storage / shelving tip!
A: When my wife & I decided we were going to leave Manhattan & move to Brooklyn for a bigger space, It was “suggested” by her that I should reduce my collection. So I went through every record & cut my collection down from about 10000 to about 3000 albums, 12”s & 45’s. It was actually a very cathartic experience; I now know & love every record I own.
Q: What’s your partners’ reaction to this obsession?
A: She’s cool with it. Its not like I bring home records every week. I bring home stickers every day & stick them on the kitchen mirror till they can be scanned. She’s even cool with that, (mostly).
Q: Name some golden grails from your collecting history.
A: Too many to mention really, Stones, White Stripes, The very first Sex Pistols single (Sorry Steven, its not God Save the Queen) It was “Anarchy in The UK” on EMI & 99% of the stock was destroyed because the label dropped them like a hot potato, even though the record would have gone to #1. I found it on eBay in 1997 & couldn’t resist dropping big coin for it.
Q: Out of your collection, there must be a few records that you like going back to at any time. Name a few. What makes them so special for you?
A: Not really, I don’t listen to old stuff that much. I have an insatiable ear for new music, so my iPod is filled with 90 percent stuff that’s come out in the last few months. I should add, that this is not music that I necessary want to own on vinyl. It has to be very special for me to want new music on vinyl, IE Radiohead, Dead Weather, The Verve, UNKLE. (and of course Drum & Bass vinyl for DJing. The sound quality difference in a club when I play a CD with an MP3, compared to Vinyl is HUGE !)
Q: I know that every “your favorite” question is a tough one, but try to remember. Can you name a few of your favorite album covers?
A: “Wish You Were Here” Is probably the one I spent the most time staring at, but only because of the acid ; )
In the 70’s & 80s one of my favorite designers was the late Barney Bubbles, but I did not know it, because he never was credited on the sleeves. But he did pretty much all of Stiff Records & the later Elvis Costello stuff too.
Also Factory Records designer Peter Saville had a huge influence on me & I still love everything he puts his hand to.
Now days I also love Stanley Donwoods art or anything by FUTURA.
Q: Is there a specific musical instrument that attracts you when listening to music?
Q: what about digging buddies? Do you share or you go solo?
A: In London in the 80’s when Rare Groove & then House Music first took off, I used to go shopping with my DJ partner Tommy D. We would go to this one store where they had “The Good Shit” & spend five pounds for every Chicago import.
Q: Tell me a particularly sad record story!
A: I sold my rarest Punk singles to buy drugs once. STUPID STUPID STUPID!
Q: Tell me about a record that has healed heartbreaks! Name one that made them worse!
A: “Tumbling Dice” always makes me feel better. “My Funny Valentine” covered by Elvis Costello always makes me cry.
Q: Tell me about a record you still regret not picking up?
A: The first few singles that Jack Whites label Third Man Records put out.
There will always be a niche collector & so they will always be labels willing to produce it. In the last couple of years, vinyl sales have actually risen.
In the words of Fischerspooner – Looks good, Sounds good, Feels good too.
see his sticker of the day project:
Catch some more mixtapes from DB here: