For The Record
We asked photographer Erin Wulfsohn to do a monthly photo essay on anything she’d like. As you’ll see, she went a step further because that’s what Erin does. Erin caught up with long time DIY contributor, DJ Fuego Heat aka Ryan van Rooyen, about Khaya Records, a kief new record store at the bottom of Florida Road.
DIY: So, how long has Khaya Records been open?
Ryan: The actual store opened in about June last year in the same building as the current premises. I started working for Paul (Buttery) in November. When we moved here we categorized and alphabetized it and sorted everything out. Well, Paul actually did most of it. I just did like, the alphabetizing of the jazz section. Paul and Benny spent a week and they did EVERYTHING. Before, the store was a lot smaller and it was just like crates and crates of records, no order. If you wanted to find anything you had to spend several hours digging.
DIY: How has the response been from the public to the store?
Ryan: Paul has been online for quite a while so when the store opened, we already had the regular customers that knew about the place and followed Paul and would come in. There has been a lot of new interest in the store too. We’ve done a couple of events to showcase our space and have been pushing our social media presence. People are learning about us! So far everyone seems stoked. We’re currently kitting out our outside area here so people can come hang out here. We have a number of plans for the near future to try and make sure Khaya Records is not just a record store. Can’t give too much on that away yet though. I think it also helps being located next to Ike’s bookshop – we’ve got a bit of a “secondhand community” I suppose!
DIY: What is your personal interest in records? How did you start getting into them?
Ryan: My parents owned records so I inherited their stash and I guess that’s how it all started. I started collecting at the Car Boot Market. My housemates and I would go every Sunday and buy as much as we could for 5 bucks a pop and it just snowballed from there (shout outs to Tiger Den crate digging days). Then in Unit 11 days, Anna Savage found out I had records and asked me to start DJing. In the beginning I used to buy separate records. I’d have DJing stuff because I started off just DJing like 80’s music and then I’d have my own personal collection. Now I have slowly started merging the two playing music more that I like rather than specifically for everyone else. So far the change from 80’s cheese to soul/funk/rhythm & blues has been going quite well!
DIY: What was your first memorable record?
Ryan: “The Band – Last Waltz”. They were this 70’s rock/country influenced band. Then for their last show they had a crazy dinner theatre, where they got like 5000 in there and put on a five-hour show. They had guest appearances by Muddy Waters, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and just a bunch of badass musicians. That’s the first album I ever remember listening to. Thanks to my dad! They had a song called, “The night they drove old Dixie down”. That song.
DIY: A bit of a general question, is it relatively easy to find a decent record player? Do you guys sell them?
Ryan: You can buy from us. Paul refurbishes record players and amps, if he can’t do it he has contacts that can get them fixed. If you’re having problems with your turntables you can also bring them to us and we can try sort out the issue.
DIY: The age-old question. Vinyl over CD/Mp3?
Ryan: It’s SUCH a big debate. People always say records sound better. I mean I’m not musically trained to pick up the little odds and ends but I’ve read a bunch of interviews with actual record producers, they say if you want the sound to sound the way they have mastered it then digital is the way to go. There are a lot of issues with the bass and frequency on records and groove distortion. You’ll often find there will be slower songs in the middle of the record and shit like that. Apparently the inner grooves are lot more prone to this distortion hence heavy tracks on the outside. Apparently this results in the warm sound that ous enjoy vinyl for. But yeah, I don’t know. Then again, I enjoy records because I enjoy the process. If I put on digital music, I’ll just put it on and go about my business. But when you put on a record you generally sit and listen to it. It’s not something you just do and then leave. The little cracks and the hums have a homely sound to it. Also, the bigger artwork of the vinyl I enjoy. It’s such a big format and there’s certain record covers, when you shrink it down to a CD size or computer screen it doesn’t really give you the detail of what’s on there.
DIY: Can you tell me a little about the monthly events that are being held at Khaya Records?
Ryan: The events are a cool way for musicians to showcase their music. We’ve had a couple of gigs and we’re planning on starting two monthly events. One on the second Thursday of the month with acoustic acts, quite chilled, hot dogs on sale that kind of thing. The next couple of gigs will be donation based. We are also looking at doing a similar sort of thing on the third Thursday of the month with guys that are live mixing beats. They normally play in environments where its just a party vibe so this gives people a chance to come sit, watch and listen to what these artists are doing. We’ll look at doing bigger events on a Friday or Saturday night event once every two months.
DIY: So we can find all the info about your events on your social media?
DIY: Lastly, have you got any advice or suggestions for people keen to start up their own record collections?
Ryan: Don’t do what I did when I started. I just went out and bought everything I could and now I have a couple of crates of junk vinyl’s sitting at home! Buy what you’re gonna listen to and make sure you have a record player that’s not going to cock it up. Oh, and come to Khaya Records to get your records!