Digging for vinyl has always been a true music discovery experience and as the hobby continues to explode with a wave of new gen-z consumers, you just never know when there might be a moment to score some new records. Last weekend while attending CRSSD in San Diego, we were lucky enough to check out the Stellaremnant pop-up record shop which was actually located on the festival grounds. While flipping through crates of classic and rare electronic records, I had the pleasure of catching up with UK-based Queer DJ ABSOLUTE., who was actually making his US debut later that afternoon. After selecting a few records to add to his personal collection I asked him a few questions about his own relationship with vinyl and how it continues to influence him every day.
Tell us about the first record you ever purchased and what kind of impact it had on your career as a DJ.
ABSOLUTE: So the first record I ever got was actually "Theme" by S-Express and when I heard that record it was probably the first bit of dance music I had actually ever heard as a kid. I remember it was during this carnival in my local town and there was this massive parade and all of a sudden there was a majorette with loads of batons and I just remember thinking "What is all this?" It was obviously very campy and this was before I was queer but I was very drawn to everything going on and then I just remember hearing the energy of this dance tune playing and it all just made me feel like nothing I had ever felt before. I've literally been hooked on dance music ever since!"
When you are digging on your own, what kinds of records are you looking for personally? Are you always thinking of new music for your sets or is it a bit more personal than that for you?
Well because I play such a wide range of music from disco, to banging techno, to breaks to jungle and all the way through, I just sort of look for whatever I'm drawn to, and then I usually leave the record store with way more than I imagined. So it's always dangerous for me to go into a new record shop because I just want to buy everything!
How do you feel about this recent resurgence of vinyl across the music industry and are you happy to see more young people get involved with collecting and djing?
I just love it. I mean I started on vinyl, that's what I grew up on, that's what I started DJing on and everything about vinyl makes you feel like you really own the track. Whereas everything now, you just don't have the same connection and there just isn't as much soul towards the music you're listening to or the artist it's coming from, which is really a shame. I've just recently rediscovered going on Discogs and have enjoyed just finding loads of stuff that you just can't get anywhere else. Even though this is all online it's still just a more connected way to discover music and I just. love that.
Finally, with so many festivals looking for different ways to connect with their attendees, do you think record store pop-ups are a good way to help spread vinyl culture and get new people interested in collecting and DJing?
Personally, I love this! I wish I could play some of these new tracks I've just picked up in my set later but I don't want to freak out the sound tech by asking for a vinyl input! But I think it's amazing and I think anywhere you can discover new music, especially underground dance music, I think it's just an amazing thing.
Check out ABSOLUTE.'s remix of TIBASKO's "Icaro" below.
Stellaremnant Pop-Up Record Shop at CRSSD Spring 2022
I'll be taking this interview series on the road as I come across other interesting opportunities to dig for records with artists and DJs so be on the lookout for more conversations in the future.