Records still big business in South Africa

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Cape Julian DJ “Dr Jules” Brache says his love affair with turntables and records began in 1991. Photo: Supplied

IT MAY be the crackle when the needle gently kisses the record for the first time, or the silky smooth feeling when your hands touch the wax for the first time, the djs around are undecided on what they like most about the record. vinyl rotation.

Records first appeared in 1867 when a man named Emile Berliner patented the gramophone. It was to become the first vinyl record player.

Much has changed since then with the advent of reel machines, cassettes, CDs, and USB drives. Throw some streaming music into the mix, and DJs have it so easy these days.

But vinyls have made a comeback. And here in Cape Town they are particularly sought after. In fact, it’s a big deal.

Several marketplaces and social media groups exist for enthusiasts to buy, sell, trade and even haggle for discounts on everything from 7 to 12 inch records, turntables and accessories.

And it’s really a case of repeat that you lose, because as soon as the used stock goes up for sale on social media, it’s gone.

Some Cape Town DJs spoke candidly to Weekend Argus about their addiction to collecting records. Most described the sale and exchange of vinyl records in the city’s close-knit music community as a “disease” because, as one collector put it, “we just can’t stop buying records.” .

Used records can cost you between R50 and R1,500. A used turntable will likely cost in the region of R5,000.

Good Hope FM radio personality Julian “Dr Jules” Brache gets excited when he starts talking about his vinyl collection.

Brache, whose first glimpse into record life began in 1991 at a morning disco party at Club Fame in Elsies River, now has over 800 records.

“I’ve sold and given away a lot that I’m no longer interested in because the emphasis is on quality and not quantity,” he says. “Vinyl is for me more of a sentimental pastime because each record has a story or a great memory of moments of my career. Notably ’90s dance favorites like 2 Bros on the 4th Floor – can’t help it or Strictly Rhythm label stuff like Rhythm Factor’s Joy or Reality, Yolanda.

Brache admitted that “(I spent) every last penny I had to buy records when clubs had turntables.” It was then. Now he is budgeting around R1,000 each month to complete his collection.

And Brache isn’t the only one with a “vinyl addiction”.

Meet Oliver Smith from Strandfontein, club DJ for almost 30 years.

Smith is a regular guest DJ on Bush Radio’s flagship old school music show called The Retro rewind, every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. And if he doesn’t shoot tunes on Bush Radio, he mixes a storm on The Feel Good Friday mixing experience on Radio Atlantis FM.

Pressed on his favorite genre, he replied, “I have a great love for the 80’s nightclub classics. I have a great love for the 90’s Club classics and an even greater love for the club. Hip Hop R&B from the 90s and 2000s.

Smith said his love affair with vinyl began “during my elementary school years.”

“My dad was in a band before he got married, so growing up there was always music in the house, old records and so on,” he recalls.

“Even the langarm stuff that every household in Mitchells Plain played during the holiday season. Going back to the love story, I remember when I was 12 I went with my sister to a morning in Westridge City to attend a dance competition and found myself sitting next to the DJ box.

“And that’s where I stayed most of the day. Mesmerized by the DJ playing tracks I had never heard before, and all from vinyl, I knew right away that I wanted to be able to do that too.

“When I was 13, I was cycling from Rocklands to Lentecheur with my BMX to take my turntables lessons with Angelo Prins, aka DJ Cosmo.

Smith said by the time he reached standard 9 in high school (11th grade) he had started playing at a local club. “I bought my records from DJ Syndicate (in Cape Town CBD).”

He said the most expensive record in his current collection was the one he received as a gift – Suzy Bunce – Hot for you / addicted to your love.

“Currently there are no copies for sale on the popular Discogs site, and a few years ago one in a similar condition sold for R5,000 more.

Cape Town DJ Mark “The Guru” Brown said he started collecting records in the late 1980s while still in school.

“They were mostly compilation records bought with pocket money,” he said. “I started DJing in the early 90s. Today I have around 2,000 records including one of my favorites. Summer time by Nocera, given to me by the late great Mark Adams, aka DJ Catt.

Brown also started producing his own record cleaning fluid called Guru Juice.

“Bottled and sold for R100, it thoroughly cleans the groove of the records, removing dust and greasy deposits, thus improving sound quality.

“I have also managed to save records that have been exposed to years of moisture, by eliminating mold and liquid damage. I have only received rave reviews from DJs and collectors.

And teenager Hannah Poliga from Pietermaritzburg dispelled any notion that this was a boys’ club, or for older people only. She is only 17 years old, but has amassed nearly 200 records since embarking on the hobby about a year ago.

His Michael Jackson collection is his pride and joy.

“I have 15 MJ albums. Vinyls are my passion, ”she boasts.

“I made a lot of friends, a lot of vinyl collectors. It’s very rare, as it seems in my generation, and in my age bracket, who loves old music from days gone by, like vinyl records and cassettes, CDs, DVDs and hi-fi systems and turntables and all.

Shane Kissoon from Johannesburg used to have a lot of problems with his wife because of his vinyl spending habits.

“In nine months this year, I have built a collection of almost 1,000 records,” he said. “I spent almost R20,000 a month to buy new shares.”

Kissoon sold their entire collection and turntables recently and made R250,000.

Dr Jules adds: “Records are able to make emotional connections because of that vinyl feel when mixing with them, or the unique scratching sound when just listening to them. They evoke memories of great people, great times and unforgettable moments.


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