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RAH and MZA share their cherished record store memories

Posted 1 year ago Written by SINGAPORE COMMUNITY RADIO
RAH MZA Analog Vault Singapore Community Radio
Photo credit Soul Jazz Records (left), RAH (right)

Now that we’ve shared some personal anecdotes forged at the record store, as told by musicians, we thought to ask some of our cratedigging local DJs about their own.

It’s no secret that DJs have been the ones keeping record stores and vinyl alive all this while — even before a vinyl resurgence of any sort, DJs from underground scenes were the ones still holding fort with piles of 12” singles and new discoveries with every visit.

RAH and MZA, both record store fiends themselves, share their own unforgettable experiences in different record stores — from finding a deeper appreciation for culturally-embedded samples to nabbing a long-elusive record.

Watch RAH, MZA, and Darren Dubwise perform at The Analog Vault’s fifth anniversary here.


Ok first of all, lemme just say that I don’t think there’s a record (yet) that eludes me – I recall really wanting Lata Ramsar’s The Greatest Name That Lives, and that’s still the only thing on my Discogs want list. And still so expensive.

I’m quite the lazy digger and would only really buy stuff when I’m travelling. Visiting record shops is always a trip, and something I always look forward to when travelling.

So two special moments that come to mind — the first was in Rotterdam’s Demonfuzz Records, highly recommended by Dutch friends (“it’s Madlib’s favourite record shop!”).

I really like Rotterdam, and this record shop is amazing — I must’ve spent hours there — picking out stuff, putting them back, chatting to the guys about stuff. Anyway, there’s this one record I got, it’s a Soul Jazz Brazilian comp, called Tropicalia. It’s a double LP and I was like “Ok, dope, am def getting this.”

Fast forward to a week later I was in Berlin and listening to the Tropicalia record and Jorge Ben’s “Take It Easy, My Brother Charles” comes on, and I’m like whaaaaaaat this is the OG sample from Drumagick’s “Easy Boom” — which I also have on vinyl, also a comp “Gilles Peterson WW2”, and how I discovered the track (great Brazilian D&B).

I think just being on a great holiday and listening to a Brazilian record in a hipster Airbnb in Berlin just elevated the experience for me.

The same week, still in Berlin, I went to another record store, a friend Nip who runs Potatoheadz Records (really good label, check it out) brought me there — I forgot what it’s called.

So looking through their 45s and was over the moon when I found Tilahun Gessesse’s Lanchi Biye on Philophon, another great OG sample from K’naan’s America feat Mos Def & Chali 2na. Two OG samples in one trip! I was ecstatic. Nobody could take me down. Invincible.


The record that had eluded me for a while was Alfa Mist’s Antiphon, a modern UK jazz classic, if I have to say.

I was close to picking up the second pressing in 2017 but hesitated somehow — ended up never getting that close again till one day in 2019, midday scrolling through Instagram and I happened upon The Analog Vault’s account posting it as a new arrival.

Immediately, I texted Nick asking to hold it and promptly headed to the store after work to pick it up. Victory in my hands, finally.

Record stores mean the world to me — from being just an emo The Smiths-loving poly student collecting records at Vinylicious Records till eventually working in the store. Eight years on since that fateful first shift as a record store clerk and I’m still in music retail pushing music culture.

There is truly nothing better than opening a new record or seeing a customer enjoy one of your recommendations. It’ll be a sad day if the only “record store” left was Amazon so I urge everyone to support your favourite independent record stores today.