Waxmajor is a boss. He should walk through life with a three piece suit on. I have a tremendous amount of respect and appreciation for the guy. A true soldier for the scene. He's all about connecting the dots and bringing the community together to share love and passion for the music in numerous ways from radio shows to connecting with people on social and setting up video meetings. A real record collector. His collection - the Bustillos Archives - is something to marvel at from soul over reggae, dub and rocksteady to proper Hip Hop telling the story of his life. Love chatting to Victor. We have a lot in common. He brings me many "Ah Ha" and "Oh sh*t" moments. Such a warm, soulful brother...
For those not in the know. Can you tell a bit about yourself?
My name is Victor Bustillos, however in the soul scene I am mostly known as "waxmajor" of South Bay Soul Collectors. I have been blessed with the opportunity to hold the position of creator and co-host of Bridge City Radio. A small LPFM radio station and YouTube channel based in the South Bay Harbor Area of Los Angeles, California. We focus primarily on showcasing and interviewing collectors and producers of obscure and esoteric records in all genres (but have a special spot in our hearts for that Sweet, Deep, Lowrider Soul, 80's & 90's Hip Hop and Foundation Reggae from the late 60's to the early 80's).
You had a fascinating run to where you are today, music-wise. Can you take us through your journey?
I remember in the late 70's early 80's as a child, my mother and father (who where children themselves at the time) having their friends and family from the neighborhood over the house. There is one pretty vivid memory I have of 45's scattered on the floor by the record player, a slightly hazy smoke filled living room with 7 or 8 of them sitting around laughing hilariously at the sight of me bringing them beers from the refrigerator, mimicking them as if I were drinking and smoking refer as they were. This is my earliest memory of records being played.
The sweet sounds coming from the speakers, the smiles on their faces and the alluring sensation of feeling good. I guess this was where the seed was planted for me. I remember as time went on trying to be a part of the action, wanting to be one of them, one of the "adults", but when I look back at it, it was the music that I related the good times with.
Fast forward to the late 80's when Hip Hop was on the rise. This is when I can truly say, was the beginning for me. From the graffiti, to the fat laces, from the break dancing to the record scratching, from the movies Breakin' and Beat Street to Yo' MTV Raps... This is when I realized I wanted to be a DJ!
I begged my mother and father constantly for turntables and a mixer, but we just didn't have that kind of money. I knew I wanted 1200's but was so desperate I'd settle for some trash finds. In 1991 my parents and younger brother were in a car accident in which they received a small settlement. Since I wasn't with them they each put in $500 for me to buy whatever I wanted. It was a no brainer for me.
After a couple years of begging my poor parents, I had finally received my first DJ system around 1991-92. It was the most budget system ever. No one had ever heard of the brand before. It was all Lineartec equipment, from the belt driven turtables to the huge 4 channel mixer, and the cheaply made amp. The four 12" speakers looked just like Cerwin Vega but were called "Blitz". I knew it was a budget set up, but didn't care. I was 12 years old and completely overjoyed. I started with my parents records (Motown compilations, 4 tops, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Parliament, Funkadelic, Slave, Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd, etc...).
I collected all genres in the beginning. Hip Hop, Oldies, Classic Rock, House, you name it, But Hip Hop was primary. I did this for roughly 15 years, until I had my first kid. At that time I realized I had to find something new to collect. This is when reggae came in to play for me.
I collected mainly Jamaican presses from the late 60's til the early 80's. From Ska to Dancehall, I bought it all. I started with LP's and eventually switched to 45's. Keep in mind that both my mother & father still lived and had that gangbang mentality. My aunts, uncles and cousins all the same, (with the exception of a couple here and there) so oldies and soul music still lingered strongly throughout my family.
I remember my cousin playing these heavy heart breaking tunes he had accumulated over the years from various compilations. I remember listening in awe at the eerie organs and belting vocals. But still Reggae was my heart. After about 9 years of hardcore Reggae collecting I had decided It was time to switch it up. I remember hearing of the "Southern Soul Spinners" and it couldn't have happened at a better time. I knew in my heart it was time to go back to my roots, but this time I needed to dive deeper.
My first esoteric soul purchase was "The Flirtations - Settle down" on "Festival"... I fell in love instantly and haven't looked back since...
What a tune! Wanted to ask you about your very first record. Do you remember?
This is a tough one for me, as I had been receiving records for birthdays, holidays and special occasions from my parents and other family members. I remember asking for records any chance I had. I'm most certain the first records I personally paid for came from either birthday, Christmas or paper route money. I believe this was in 1989 or 90 and they were Beastie Boys (Licensed to Ill), Run D.M.C. (Raising Hell) and L.L.Cool J (Radio). This was just before I had equipment.
What's in your book the greatest most moving soul song of all time. The one that hits you the deepest?
Wow! Another question that is always hard to answer from a music lovers perspective, as their are always so many. If I had to narrow it down to one song I would have to say Elijah and the Ebonies - I confess. Of course there where many others before, but once I heard this song, it was game over.
Not only does this song hold that comforting memory of Hypnotized by one of my favorite female artist Linda Jones, but it also carries that hard hitting, heart piercing sound, all around. That sound that I long for and desire most. From the horns to the drums, the tempo to the vocal, this is one song that never ceases to fail. Still til this day, a heavy want. I'm hoping some day I would have the blessed opportunity to pick up a near minter from one of the homies in Belgium, wink wink!
Haha! As you might have read Jay also put this one up as his biggest want and i resisted the urge to mention all the vultures after my copy but no no no (Dawn Penn voice) that one stays in the box for all the reasons you just highlighted. Mary Sexton on vocal duty. Talking about wants. What else ranks high on your list nowadays?
Hmm, so many seem to slip away these days... I rarely shoot down song info on those who ask me (unless your one of those who think an audacious "Artist & Track please" is acceptable) but this particular want is very personal to me.
I can say however, It is the one record that I have gone as far as tracking down the immediate family members and communicating back and forth with them several times on how to obtain a copy. As you can see the hunt goes on.
This is what I love so much about collecting. Sometimes its not obtaining the record that excites me as much as doing the research and hunting for it. I have landed several high wants in my short time of collecting rare soul and it seems "sometimes" the moment I have them in hand I either lose interest or realized how overplayed they are. Only to file them away and continue the search for others. I sometimes wonder if I'm the only one who feels this way...
So with you on that one! It's the junkie inside searching for a new rush of black plastic crack. Is there a record you get especially melancholy by? That reminds you of a certain period in your life?
There is one that undoubtedly comes to mind. Ralfi Pagan's "To Say I Love You" on Fania records.
Shortly after I received my DJ equipment my parents marriage spun out of control. It was the most tragic time of my life, possibly still today. I remember my father lip syncing this song to my mother on car rides around town and can still see him singing to her on those early weekend mornings, waking up to the both of them cleaning house, music blaring. Those where always joyous and comforting times for me and my younger brother. The songs of Ralfi Pagan, Joe Bataan and the Isley Brothers really meant so much more to me after they divorced. Till this day I can still feel a part of that bandage on my heart being plucked at when I hear certain songs from those times.
Any record you are done with? Played to death?
Haha! This one is so funny to me because I enjoy the song and it isn't so much that I played the song to death as it is that everyone else has played it to death. The Temptations "I Want A Love I Can See". It's unfortunate because it is such a great song. I can't say that I would never play it again in my lifetime, but it hasn't made the box in over 2 years. Sometimes a tune needs to simmer for a while before I can give it some love again. I'm sure I'll catch some backlash for this one... lol
Let's talk about your collection - Bustillos Archive. Heavy duty! Do you know how many records you owe and do you have a special system to keep everything organized?
Today, I have been very blessed to finally have a dedicated record/music room in our home. About 10 years ago my girl finally dropped the hammer and gave me two walls in the house. NO OVERFLOW!!! Lol. I remember being upset by this but she dealt with it for many years by this time, so of course being the good spouse that I am, I complied (mostly). This was actually one of the best things that could have happened to my collection. I was finally forced to PURGE! I went through every single record I owned at the time and made boxes. Boxes to sell, boxes to give away, and boxes to donate. I finally had my collection like 90% solid, No fillers. I have tried my best to keep it that way but unfortunately today I would have to say the percentage of solidity has dropped to about 75%. I have been meaning to purge again but it is just so overwhelming.
I try my best to be as organized as I can, however I do frequently have to refile and reorganize. I have roughly 4000 LP's and roughly 3000 45's. (This is not including the garage overflow which consist of roughly 5 crates of LP's and 3 boxes of 45's). Though the majority of my LP's are alphabetized by first name and separated by genres, they are not hard filed. For example all the Reggae A's are together but not in an AA AB AC filing system. I once tried to clean, digitize and file each record but it was far too much for me. Today, I just clean them as I play them and maintain the rough alphabetical order.
My 45's are not as organized. As for my soul 45's I'm happy just to try and keep all my commons together, my uptempo together and my favorites together. Even though my soul 45's are separated from my reggae 45's, there is no real method to the madness. Fortunately, somehow I continue to have that collectors memory of where a specific tune is roughly filed.
Where do you source your records from mostly? In the field (store's, flea markets, yard sales, etc.) or online? Or both? Do you have any feelings towards either?
I started in the field. Out there is where my heart was from day one. Mom and pop record shops, record shows, thrift shops, yard sales, you name it. I was never a morning person but had no problems lining up a 5am to get first finger at them boxes, or wasting my lunch hour searching for thrift stores and record shops because I was working in a different city or town that day. I'm sure many other collectors could relate to them times I would part ways with the family for hours during our "family vacations". Such an addictive adventure.
About 2005 outdoor hunting started to slowly trickle. I fell in love with finding what I want, when I wanted it, in the condition I wanted it in, at the price I was willing to pay online. I realized I could satisfy my urges anytime, anywhere. I had access to millions and millions of records in my pocket. I was wasting time and saving time at the same time (if that makes any sense).
It just got to a point where I would go out and find nothing. I was over the stage of buying records just to have them and was at the point in my life where I would only buy what I had to have. I absolutely love the interweb marketplaces today, but I have to admit, I will still occasionally satisfy my urges to hit those early morning swaps, shows and conventions.
I ask everyone on the state of the scene. Sweet 'n deep has gained immense popularity in recent years. How do you feel about that?
I love that the music is being excavated, exposed, and rekindled. This is the most amazing part for me. However it is a shame that a lot of the artists aren't around to witness the love and passion that is going around today for the music they've made. I am all for the younger generation coming in and running with it, this is how we keep the music alive. I just hope true passion follows along. I have seen many scenes peak, plateau and plummet in my time. Though I am not very old, I've been interested and involved in obtaining and learning about records the majority of my life. Some styles or fads fade in and out, but only time will define the true soldiers from the band wagoners. Even I myself have been known to switch up on genres over the years from sheer monotony. Though I may one day grow apart from the "soul scene", I will never lose my love for the music.
Great answer! Can you share a story related to record collecting? Something that happened while diggin'? An artist you met? Can be anything...
I find alot of moments throughout my years collecting special, from the looks on an artist face when they say "Wow, i don't even have a copy of this" to the mini collections and small stacks I've been given from those who respected my passion for collecting. There are so many cool stories, however, I always seem to share about the time I had to do community service at a local thrift shop. It was one of those times that helped me realize that everything in life happens for a reason. I don't have to dwell on the negative, but can try to find the positive within it.
It was my last day of community service hours to fulfill for the courts orders. I remember separating and tagging items for the store the whole time I was there. For whatever reason on this last day they decided to have me help them unload a delivery truck full of furniture. It was said to have been the remaining belongings of someone who had just past. I remember about 3 or 4 of us unloading the truck. Since I've always been a big dude, I usually got stuck with moving the heavy stuff. Well, i didn't realize the reward i was going to receive that day.
Another hefty gentleman and myself off loaded a stand up dresser with 5 or 6 drawers. Though they said the dresser was empty, I thought it was just a bit too heavy to be completely empty. After setting it in the yard I opened all the drawers starting from the top down. Come to my surprise, the last drawer at the bottom was stuffed with over 400 - 7" 45's. Mostly unsleeved and scuffed up but I had to ask anyhow. "What are you guys going to do with these"? The lady in charge of the yard said put them out for sale. I asked if I was able to buy them, she said I could talk to the manager after my shift was over.
The end of the day couldn't come soon enough. I didn't stop thinking about those records. At the end of my service I told the manager about the records that came in and asked how much she was selling them for. She said "which records?, bring them to me and I will let you know". I went to the back and found a large clear plastic tub and placed all the records inside and brought them to the front counter. She looked at the tub and rang me up for $5.
I was absolutely beside myself. I brought them home immediately to find a decent copy of the Diamonettes "Don't be Surprised" on Dig and decent copy of "Super Funky" by Thunder, Lightning & Rain on Saadia, among a whole heap of soul tunes i had never heard before and a bunch I had. Til this day, I still dip into that box to see what I can rediscover.
Those are the moments! Before we call it a day... Name 10 records currently in heavy rotation?
Ahh! This one is easy for me. Though the newest arrivals always get a few more spins than the others these here rank most played for me. This has been my go to playlist for the last year or so. (Must be played in this order to get the real feel.)
Mike Davis & The Twi-lighters "My Love" on Cheeco
IV Royals "One Girl" on Tahia
Shaparells "Come back" on Bennett
Danny White "King For A Day on Kashe
Richard Smith "I Don't Wanna Cry on Hi-Q
Willis Johnson & The JM's Funk Factory "Tell Me" on Saluda
Joe Walker "Just To Spend My Life With You" on Bold
Gerald Trotter "The Love In My Heart" on Modo
Jhamels "I've Cried" on Igloo
Soul Fantastics "Just Look At Me" on Taboga
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