We're selecting some of the best DJs in the business and taking them back to the record shops that mean the most to them. They will then lay down an immensely special set from their record shop of choice. Needless to say, the mix is 100% Vinyl
The series launches with none other than Cassy. Known for consistently throwing down flawless sets and releasing tracks on Cocoon, Perlon and Ostgut Ton, Cassy also has two years behind the counter at a certain record store....
We caught up with Cassy to discuss influences, record collecting, best vinyl buys and more. Enjoy her beautiful techno set from the notorious Hard Wax in Berlin above. And you can check out a very special insight into Hard Wax here.
What was the first record you ever bought?
Madness, 'One Step Beyond'.
What's the most prized record in your collection?
I have a Nat King Cole collector's box of six LPs on vinyl that I stole from my dad, and it's my most prized record for sure.
Which record shops do you use these days?
I love Halcyon in Brooklyn, obviously Hard Wax, Rush Hour Records and Distortion in Amsterdam, and I really love Gramaphone in Chicago – that place is amazing!
What makes a record shop great?
I think they should either have absolutely everything and cater for anyone, or be really niche and super-specialist. It's also really important you have people in a shop that you connect with, and a member of staff who has worked there for a long time always makes a difference.
What needles/carts do you recommend and why?
Shure M44-7H, because they're the best!
What's the best bargain buy you ever made in a record store?
My best bargain was at Amoeba in San Francisco – you can't listen to the records there and I bought about 60 without listening to any, all for about two to three dollars each. When I got to listen to them back I didn't like maybe one or two.
Do you ever get rid of any vinyl? If so, how do you choose what to lose?
I used to get rid of promos I didn't need or had doubles of, but I'd just take them to the record shop and try to strike a deal!
How old where you when you first started buying vinyl?
I was six. I used to have a really old Ladybug turntable, and I remember listening to Sleeping Beauty, Wind in the Willows, Cinderella – all spoken-word stories. There was a whole series scored by a classic composer, and his son, who was an actor, would read the stories. It was education meets music. Looking back, it was those records that gave me my musical foundation. One of the most important records I had growing up was 'Peter and the Wolf'. It's how you explain classical music to kids, that every animal is essentially its own instrument and how each one has its on melody.
Classical music gave our civilisation its musical foundation. If you can understand classical and its arrangement you can listen to the most complicated jazz or techno even the old stuff on Warp that loads of people don't get due to the arrangement being so complex.
Any bad record shop experiences / memories?
You do get quite a lot of attitude as a girl going record-shopping, and I've encountered some extreme stupidity. Some people have quite narrow-minded attitudes towards women buying records. Behind the counter I would sometimes encounter people making a lot of money in the music industry but then not re-investing it –and that's something artists should always do.
Are there any labels that you love the most?
I used to love so many of the German labels like Klang, Playhouse, Perlon, Kompakt – in the days when I was buying most of my records these were the ones I turned to.
When was your favourite time for buying vinyl?
The early 90s to mid 2000s was a fucking amazing time to buy records. It's getting better again now, too. But in between, people just seemed to stop buying records, and even some of the major parties just stopped. Love Parade was over in Berlin. That techno and house music era came to an end. At the end of the day, good things come and go. Things have to end for new things to start. It may feel like a crisis, but it comes back like waves, so now it's back on the rise again. Good stuff just doesn't die, and it doesn't need any promotion.
What are some of your favourite record sleeve designs?
I'm very conscious of artwork; I really like what some people may think as ugly artwork. Honest Jon's does the most beautiful artwork. But it's the full package: great everything, music and cover.
Out of all the artists on the scene, who do you think has got the best record collection?
DJ Three for sure. Also Danny Howells and Derrick Carter. If I saw their collection I would be floored! I admire them so much anyway, but they really have a record collection.
What makes vinyl so special?
The feel, the sound, the look – it's tangible, it's indestructible, everything just clicks when you're listening to it. It's just the simplest, purest and most solid form. The best thing you can do in a club is to play a record – it will always be like this. When the set-up is right the record will always sound better than anything else.
Why does Hard Wax have such a special place in your heart?
Hard Wax was the first real record shop I went to in Berlin, and the owner is amazing. I worked there for just over two years when I was about 30, it really used to feel like home. It had a big effect on my career. I learned a lot, but not just about music – like to just do my thing and not care if others like it.
Hard Wax deliver records worldwide and also have a great download section so get ordering here