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House of Wax

Miami’s DJ Mr Brown has dedicated his life to DJing and record collecting

  • Words: Matthew Francey | Image: Michael Raveny
  • 18 March 2016

Miami’s DJ Mr Brown has dedicated his life to DJing and record collecting. In fact, when Mixmag visited, we could barely move for boxes of vinyl...

When did you first start collecting vinyl?

I started in high school when I inherited my dad’s collection. I would take his funk records to school, check out the record player from the library and breakdance in the empty auditorium at lunch.

What is it that you love about it?

In 16 years DJing I’ve never mixed a CD or on a laptop in my life. Totally a personal thing. Tangibility. Sonics. The whole ‘farm to table’ phrase you hear with the organic food industry. It’s the same idea for me. No pesticides. No GMOs. No synch buttons. Basic. Simplicity. Honesty. Skills.

How many records do you think you have? How many do you think you've played?

I think my personal collection is conservatively around 60,000 or more LPs and 12” with no fillers or reissues. Aside from my personal stuff I have another 100,000 LPs/12”s and at least 100,000 45s between my house and storage. I will sort them and sell some when I eventually get my record store. As far as my personal collection goes I listen to everything before it makes my collection. Everything. I can randomly pick out a record from anywhere in my collection and it’ll be solid. There is something I like on every record. Very proud to say that.

When we visited your house it was stacked with vinyl – how many rooms does it take up? Do you have extra storage elsewhere?

I have a three-bedroom house that’s full to the brim, including the living room and most of the kitchen. I have two large storage unit, too. I buy collections, keep the best stuff for myself and flip the rest. A lot of shit has wound up accumulating, but it will go eventually. My personal collection is nearly all sleeved, and I’ve begun to BPM and categorise everything. Please don’t think I’m on some OCD/hoarder vibe!

When you’re playing a set out, how many records do you typically pack?

Totally depends on the setting. My weekly Saturday party is five hours solo, and all wax. I wouldn’t feel comfortable with less than four crates. I would say you could DJ any party with two thoughtfully packed crates. I love the fact that with vinyl you can’t fake it. A good night takes time to prepare for. No exceptions.

Do you know of anyone with a bigger collection than you?

Quantity isn’t really a concern. Vinyl can easily turn into a dick-measuring contest; too many guys are using their records as nothing more than props for promo pics. I’ve spent almost half my life being a strictly vinyl DJ. I’ve had the great fortune to open for some of the biggest names in dance music, hip hop, rock, soul, and play all vinyI. I feel like I’m honoring the legacy of so many greats by sticking to vinyl but still pushing the envelope musically. That’s what I’m most proud of and that’s all that matters to me.

For those UK people heading over to Miami in March, where do you recommend they hit up to check out the real Miami music scene?

The heart and soul of music in Miami is Wynwood, Midtown, Little Haiti, Little Havana and Downtown. Look for parties at places like Gramps, Electric Pickle, Bardot, Coyo, Steam, Sidebar, Libertine. Also you should make it a point to take a break and see some a nature at a place like Bill Baggs State Park.

DJ Mr Brown will feature in Ministry Of Sound’s upcoming documentary on the other side of Miami Music Week. Watch it here

He plays a five-hour residency at Gramps most Saturdays. Find him on SoundCloud

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