For The Love of Vinyl: Roi Perez
For The Love Of Vinyl is a blog interview series with record collectors from across the Globe. Up next: Roi Perez. Roi Perez is a DJ, record collector and runs a small record shop in Berlin. The native Israeli DJ started playing records in Tel Aviv but moved to Berlin in 2013 and soon started playing regularly at Berghain’s Panorama Bar. Roi is known for his long and eclectic DJ sets, spinning a bit of everything from obscure, under-the radar House and Techno to Disco and Electro.
1. Hey Roi. Where did you grow up? And who or what sparked your love for music and vinyl?
Hey Miguel, I grew up in Israel in Ashkelon, it’s a bit of a small, distant southern city closer to rural areas near the Gaza strip. It has a beautiful beach where I could have walked for hours without seeing a single person. I still do that sometimes when I visit my parents there. I’ve had records around me since I was little. I got most of these records from family members, but I think that the urge to discover music was triggered by my aunt, who was like a big sister to me. She was the one who first introduced me to a SONY CD stereo system. It allowed me to experiment with music for the very first time. I was very loud, and my neighbors definitely felt it. Today, every time they see me when I come visit (after all, it’s a small town) they would still mention it. Later on, in my early twenties, I moved to Tel Aviv where I discovered the rave scene. Those were a few good years of dancing, meeting inspiring people, and collecting records – at first, mostly for treasuring good dancing moments.
2. Still remember your first DJ gig?
Yes of course. My first one was a complete surprise. It was a private party at my friend’s place, with many DJs around playing b2b sessions all day. At some point, the DJs who were playing got tired, but the dance floor kept on going. I was then able to jump in the booth. I started listening to records that were not mine, and while I knew some of them already, the others were new and my eyes were seeking for familiar labels names. I never mixed before! but I managed to mix the next track just from hearing plus pretty rough finger work on the turntables. A bit stressful at first, but then I didn’t want to stop! A few weeks after, the Breakfast Club in Tel Aviv had an open mid week night, and they asked me if I wanted to play. I agreed right away, but I was really nervous to be honest.
3. What attracted you to vinyl as a record collector?
I mostly like the feeling of being subject to the limitations of physical material and space, that mostly don’t exist in a digital collection. I do also have a digital library, which supports my DJ sets, but ultimately the records in my bag are the ones I follow. To ‘own’ a good record is something. But I’ve always wondered what turns someone into a “collector”. I know some people who really have the need to own every record from a specific label, and no matter how much it’ll cost or how rare it is they will eventually get it or otherwise they would feel their collection isn’t complete. I’m obsessed but I’m not like that. I’m into good records that inspire me, and especially those that I can play in my DJ sets. It’s a tool, but it’s not only a tool.
4. When did you start collecting records? Do you still remember the first record you bought?
I started since I was about sixteen years old. I think that the first record I ever bought was of an Israeli singer, Yehudit Ravitz. It is basically Israeli disco, you can’t find a lot of those stuff these days, and this particular one is now a bit pricey. Or was it The Postal Service album – ‘Give Up’? didn’t keep the receipts so really hard to tell :)
5. How big is your record collection and how do you organize your records?
It’s not too big I think, most of what I own now is stuff I bought during my years in Berlin. I never actually counted, but I guess it’s something around 2000. Together with the old stuff that I left in Tel Aviv, which is about another 500. I tend to be very organized, mostly classifying by genre, then artists, labels, topics or another idea I have in mind. I have one shelve for music that is closer to my heart, yes, mostly things I grew up with and made an impact. Besides that, I have what I call ‘my playground zone’, it’s like 8 different spaces on the shelves, at the height of my chest where I put all the stuff that I’m into playing right now. Its changing constantly, which is natural for me as a resident DJ. I play at Berghain / Panorama Bar on a monthly basis, I have the urge to experiment with new things every time. I’m also doing the ‘Phonica Records’ (London) section at ‘The Store’ in Berlin. I’ve been selecting the records there for more than 2 years now so I get to listen to many records during the week, and I’m naturally buying more. I’m currently building new custom shelves for those that are on the floor.
6. Any rarity you’ve been looking for forever?
Yes few stuff actually, I’m a huge KLF fan and I’ve been waiting for ages to have that Madrugada Eterna release. It was in their Chill Out mix, that is basically the most beautiful ambient mix, I’ve zoned myself out on this one so many times. I’m also keen on having the first The Knife record ever released on 7” – Afraid of You. It would be incredible to have the Solid Space album - Space Museum (1982), I’ve listened to it online hundreds of times. Other than that I’m usually not that patient about waiting for records. That doesn’t save me money.
7. Do you collect other stuff?
I collected stuff in the past – books and cactuses. I’m also capturing moments with my film camera if that counts. But I’m now trying to avoid collecting things, I like to be minimal in my space and if I could I wouldn’t even have any furniture at home, but that doesn’t make any sense.
8. If you could curate a movie soundtrack, which movie would you pick and which tracks would you select?
I think I would go for Victoria, it’s a movie made in Berlin in 2015 in one take, 138 minutes of pure cinema by Sebastian Schipper. Nils Frahm made the music and used tracks of his own and DJ Koze. It has a party scene too, and the movie is always on move, like driving a car almost, but not a quiet ride, like a bad pouring rain weather ride. I would choose Illumination - The Way Out Is The Way (1998), or Kiani & His Legion - Das Videotheca, such an epic house track. In the party scene I would go for an acid track but not a too hard one – something that is developing well, like this release I listed to now from Slacker - Tape Rock (2016).
9. What’s your current setup at home?
Rane MP 2016 rotary mixer + XP 2016a external processor, 2 x MK-1200 Technics and Dynaudio monitor speakers.
10. Which artist makes you want to have their whole discography? Why?
I don’t think I would actually want to have someone else’s collection, I’m quite enjoying my way.
11. As a DJ you get to travel a lot around the World. Tell us about some of your favorite countries to go crate digging.
When I travel it’s mostly a short stay over and you really need time in order to find some goods. Also I live in Berlin and running a small record shop, so if I’m away somewhere I’d honestly take the time to do other things. But of course when I go for longer to the USA for example I’d give a visit at A1 or Academy records (NYC). In Amsterdam I mostly always pass by Rush Hour and sometimes Redlight records. In Australia Sydney I have found some really amazing disco gems at a second hand shop called Revolve records. I’m looking forward to be in Tbilisi next month and visit Vodkast records, got few recommendations on it. And I really hope to visit Japan soon enough, I’d certainly like to explore there, I’ll keep you posted!
12. Favourite record shop Worldwide?
There are many but I’d naturally say Phonica Records, and then Sound Metaphores in Berlin, great people are running it, great taste.
13. If you weren’t in the music business, what would you do?
Tough question, I don’t know really, maybe I’d start by getting a dog first.
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Photo credits: Roi Perez, Marco Krüger, Eugen Bergmann
Posted by: Miguel Ferreira
Founder & Selector at That Special Record. Miguel loves writing stories about outsider electronic music & vinyl culture.