We couldn't possibly have a better second feature than the homeboy Akro1 as it links in nicely with Kev Cane's story. Anthony and myself were already chatting for a few years on social media, liking and commenting on each other's record finds and posts, but it was at Kev's all-dayer in Durham, UK that we had the opportunity to hang out in person. Highly knowledgeable yet humble collector and just a straight up, solid dude. We shared the decks in the evening, going one for one, while sipping on bourbon and feeding of each other's energy. The man was dropping bombs. In the moment we decided to call ourselves the bourbon brothers (i believe we even announced it through a makeshift mic). Sounded like a powerful franchise at the time. Let's get you acquainted with this cool cat...
My name is Anthony Perez. I’m known as Akro1 from San Jose, California. ½ of the Flipside Lovers with Stephanie "Ambitious0utsider" Ramirez. Been lucky to have had the chance to DJ in UK and Europe as well as across the US.
How did you get started in the world of Soul record collecting? Can you take us through your journey?
I came into Soul records like some others who were teenagers in the 90s, by way of hip hop. I was an early music lover and in the early 1990s, when I could start buying my own records, I started collecting soul and jazz records after hearing my favorite rap records using these as sample sources in their records. I since have not stopped buying records. Over the years my collection has continually expanded to include Soul, Jazz, Reggae and anything that catches my ear. The beginning of the internet in early 00s really allowed me to be more specific with what records I am buying. Growing up in California, sweeter deeper sounds have always been the soundtrack to our daily life. In my early collecting days my Dad would suggest 45s to find, so I could put them on tape. Here we are 20 plus years later and I am still after those 7s.
What was the first record you ever bought?
I can’t remember where I got the money but I was about 10 years old and bought a Cheech & Chong 7inch for “I’m not Home Right Now” at the local K-Mart. Thinking back, don’t know why that is what I wanted but I remember going home and playing it over and over watching the records spin, already hooked.
LOL @ Cheech & Chong! That's a peculiar want for a 10 year old. I remember that song, the video clip was hilarious! Since then, and 1000s of tunes later, what is in your book the most moving Soul song of all time? The one that hits you straight in the corazón?
Tough question. Probably depends on my mood. The Soul catalog always has something to perfectly express my mood but one of the records that always cuts deep for me is Fred Moss' "I‘ll Always Love You" on Vanessa. The way he unapologetically lays his heart out for his love, the way the horns roll in it all just hits me right in the heart.
Feel you on that one. Along the same line. Is there a record you get especially melancholy by, that reminds you of a certain period in your life?
Anything by Smokey and the Miracles or Brenda and the Tabulations can instantly take me back to the 90s summer nights, driving around town all night. Very nostalgic those records.
Your record collection is serious business. Tell us a bit about the collection. How many records do you own and how do you categorize them?
Been many years since I have counted records. About 10 years ago I cleared out some of the LPs. I think right now I am down to about 3k records, half being 45s and half LPs. My stuff has only been organized twice in the last 20 years. Once I did by name and once by label but currently and my normal is just chaos. Stuff stacked everywhere and usually a new arrivals pile. Like most record people the chaos seems to work better. I can usually tell you where something is by memory even in the chaos. All my stuff is lucky enough to be in one record room which is where I go to dig through stuff and just unplug from rest of the world.
Are their any records you are done with, and can never put on again?
I have learned if I am tired of a record to just put it away and after some time, I usually will love it all over again. Too many times I sold off stuff I was tired of and regretted it.
What's on your wants list nowadays?
Wants list is sealed until they land in my box LOL!
Haha! Where do you source your records from? In the field or online? Or both?
I buy both online and in the field. Started collecting pre-internet so I have a love for going out and just digging through old boxes of records at flea markets, garage sales, record stores or anywhere else they might be. Online is where so much of the stuff I thought I would never see is now available so of course I love buying there also. I think the most important and best part of collecting to me is building relationships with other collectors and being able to help each other out and sharing sounds. So many of my favorite records came from homies passing on a helping hand to land that white whale on the list. I think patience is key and they all come around eventually you just have to be ready when they do. There is so many Soul records out there to find. Just knowing that keeps me going every day.
How do you feel about the current craze around deep 'n sweet Soul records and the state of this scene?
Definitely seems to be on the rise out here in Cali and even over in Europe. I think it is good to have people interested in the music. At the end of the day that is what it’s all about. In the end the real collectors will be doing it to the end and the bandwagon Billy’s will fall off as fast as they popped up. I will be ready to buy up anyone’s records who is ready to get out of the game and move on to the next fad!
Can you share a nice story from the playbox?
The playbox has allowed me to meet and build instant connections with people from all over the world, who are different in age and culture but we instantly became homies based on some little black 7inch vinyl records and the sounds carved into their grooves. That to me is the best part about collecting. All the solid people I have met all over the world from record collecting. Been shown some of the warmest hospitality from people I am meeting for first time all based on a shared love for collecting and playing records. Shout out to the soul brothers and sisters worldwide!
Here here, that's love! To end our little chat... Name 10 records you currently have in rotation?
Karen Brooks "My Mistake" – Soul O Watts
Church "How Long" – Silas
Larry Sanders "I’m In Love" – Hot Cakes
Geno and Pharoahs "Miss Heartbreaker" – Allen
Ronnie Love "Always Be Good" – Dtwon
Geo Castillo Y Los Del Kings "Teddy Bear" – Capri
Hill District "Your Scared" – C Way
Fabulous Caprices "My Love" – Camaro
Larry Connor "Cold Day" – Sugarbush
Chocolate Sunday "Second Story Man" – Dynamic
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