Don't know many record collectors with Hawaiian roots. Actually, I know none besides Alston. I also don't know nothing about soulful Hawaiian records (sauf Lemuria) except for what Alston occasionally puts on offer or posts on social. Alston has the baddest Instagram handle in my book. @iwant45s. That's just boss. He might want to consider changing that to @igotalotofkiller45s. Cool, down to earth, laidback dude. Happy he wants to kick it with us. Dive in...
Alston "IWANT45s" Paresa from Hawaii originally, but have been in New York for almost 15 years. 1/2 of Couple Two T'ree radio show on The Lot Radio with Joe Cristando and part of LeFeelings with Oliver Seguin and Jade Chang.
Tell us how you got started with collecting (soul) records. Where did it all start?
Started being interested in records/soul music from skateboard videos. Started dating a girl named Jade who was into records and her older sister Ren was friends with djs playing out at raves and hip hop nights. Became really good friends with Oliver Seguin who was a young fixture in the hip hop scene in Hawaii and had been buying records and djing out. Around the same time a friend of mine, Sean Payne, had bought a sampler and started sampling records and making beats. I followed suit and bought a sampler and started raiding all the thrift stores I could get to. I was buying everything at the time and would bring boxes over to Olivers house with Jade and we would just listen to them all night, finding samples and hangin and making music. That was the beginning of it all for me. Shout out to Lauren Muneoka and Matt the Rat back home.
Do you remember the very first record you ever got?
Im not sure what the first used record i ever bought was, but the first new release record I bought was the Deep Puddle Dynamics "Rain Men" 12" in 1999 at Too Gruvz, a classic 90s hiphop/dance music oriented shop back home by the University of Hawaii. Shout out to James Viso!!
What’s that one song that moves you the most? The one that hits you straight in the heart?
The first one that comes to my mind is Ray Frazier and the Shades of Madness "Lonliness". The words are SOOOOO damn good and its just full of feeling. The music is slightly uplifting which contrasts the words, which is a beautiful compliment. "Being alone will make me learn something to live for and thats your return". That line in the song gets me every time and yelling "I dont want to be lonely" as the song fades out is just too good. Never get tired of it. I think everyone has felt what they think extreme heartbreak and lonliness is and its different for everyone. This song makes the feeling relatable, which ironically makes it feel less lonely.
That's deep Alston. And a killer track. Kudos. Along the same line... Is there a record you get especially melancholy by, that reminds you of a certain period of your life?
I think a record that is really special is the first Kalapana record. It reminds me of Hawaii, home, family, friends and a simpler time in life. It seems like it was the soundtrack of my childhood and would always be around during high school and even now in life.
Tell us a bit about your record collection. How many records do you own? Any special system in keeping things organised?
I got a couple thousand records in the collection right now, if I had to guess. Every year the number goes down, which is great haha, can't own em all. Some are Alphabetical, but most are a free for all and some are organized by when I got them (mostly chaos if its not in a "play out box"). I got some in my living room, but most are in another room connected to the bedroom.
Any records are you done with, and can never put on again?
Hahaha, good question. Im not sure if there is a record i can never put on again. I always keep it on the back burner and give it periodic listens.
Is there a record you have been trying to find for years that you still haven’t found? What’s your biggest want?
Thats a BIG question for sure. I dont know if anyone would really publicly say their biggest want out in the open haha! I will say its a few records from home up there on the list. Now that all the Hawaii records are blowing up its tuff to find copies for a decent price.
Tell us something about how you source your records. In the field or online? Do you have any feelings towards either?
I dont have any feelings of how people are getting records. Online or out in the field doesnt matter to me. I prefer going out to stores, peoples places and flea markets. Flea Markets have not been as fruitful in the past few years but when i have time its always nice to go look.
Collecting deep and sweet soul records has become quite popular globally over the last years while before it was limited to certain regions or subcultures. How do you feel about that? What do you think about the state of the scene?
Its pretty wild how the scene has blown up. I think its great that more people are appreciating the music, but it also has made the market for the records insane. I dont know how long the bubble, if it is a bubble, will last, but trying to buy a "big want" record is kind of out of my mind right now because I assume the price will be too crazy. A major positive that happened as the scene became more popular was the ability to meet a bunch more people that are passionate about the same thing.
Can you share a cool story about anything related to your record collecting? Something that happened while looking for records or deejay’ing. An artist you met? A special moment?
Once around 2014 I was on a trip with my girlfriend at the time driving around America. We hit Chicago in the late afternoon and im itching to go to a shop but after we get a place to stay and get situated, it was too late. The next day I decided to pick one shop i wanted to go to and it was Out Of The Past. On the way there something felt different. As I looked around the car it was a little misplaced and then i looked in the back of the station wagon and all our shit was everywhere including a box of 45s I had bought along the way. I was kinda laughing at how considerate of a robbery it was hahaha. We pulled over and took inventory. They took phone chargers, a new pack of socks and a few tshirts, THATS IT. No broken windows, no fuckin' up the car and all the records were there, just thrown everywhere. I shrugged it off and laughed about it and had a great dig at the shop hahaha.
Crazy! Can you name top 10 records currently in heavy rotation?
"Little" Samuel Wallace "Midnight Love Affair"
Mal Johnson "She's Got A Lover"
J. Phakta "Is It Love"
Vann and Reggie "If This Ain't Love"
Ken Reid Band "Dreams"
World "I Am Singing"
Jimmy Wilson "What Ya-Gonna Do"
Jesse James "I Can Feel The Love Vibes"
Aaron Cofer Jr. "Girl Don't Move To Fast"
Jerome Jones "Don't Change"
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