Collector Series - Treasure Hunting with an Itch

Collector Series - Treasure Hunting with an Itch

There are many different motivations for Vinyl collectors out there from the purist who believes vinyl LPs reign above all, the librarian who loves archiving and finding the rarest, the casual who collects records every now and then or the musical conductor, aka the DJ who finds joy in presenting their valuable finds. Everything comes from the sheer love of music, and Ichiro (aka Itch) is all of the above in our opinion.

The motivation to do what they do as vinyl collectors give the musical journey a sort of focus, allowing one to learn from the chosen path. It can be broad, it can be zoned in or even both, no matter what there's always something to take away! So let's dig into the mind of collector DJ Itch and see where this mystical motivation comes from and leads to.

Hi Itch! Thank you for doing this interview, could we start off with just a little bit about yourself? 

Hi Analog Vault, thank you for asking me for this interview.  I’m Itch, a DJ and a vinyl collector, and have been actively collecting vinyls inspired by the passion for “local exotic funk a-go-go” music from the ’60s to early ’80s in Singapore, Nusantara, and around the region. The music genres I’ve been collecting are A-Go-Go, Hala-Hala, Melayu-Indo grooves, Chinese Disco, Pop Yeh Yeh, Asian City-pop, and so on.  My DJ set specializes in Asian sound and exotic music introducing forgotten local music gems from the past to modern listeners, and brings back nostalgic vibes for old-timers. My vinyl collection journey started from early 2017 when I visit Red Point Record Warehouse to purchase some second-hand Jazz or relaxing music vinyls.  But, the owner recommended me to listen to locally produced funky music, and when I listened to it first, it was quite an addictive exotic funky tune that I haven’t heard before. From that day, my digging journey of local gems has started.

* Treasure Hunting with an Itch - Photo Credit Rizman Putra 

Yes! we have always noticed your great collection of rare South-east Asian titles from attending some of your gigs! Could you expand a little more about this particular interest and what is your motivation behind this research initiative?

My interest came from after knowing about a Golden Era of Music scene back in 60s/70s Singapore.  For many years, I’ve been listening to many kinds of music, and always enjoyed listening to Jazz or Motown soul music in 70s, but I didn’t know much about the same era music scene in Singapore. This curiosity motivated me to start listening to those music from online or YouTube.  The vinyl collection of South-East Asian vinyls started when my DJ friend from Japan, Yohei Hasegawa, introduced me to vintage record shop in Singapore, which also helped me to open my journey of digging “local exotic funk a-go-go” vinyl records!

*Recent finds of SEA titles by Itch 

1. Saloma - Entah Di-Mana EP

*Recent finds of SEA titles by Itch 

2. Mahani Mohd & Jopie - 1000th Ku Nantikan

With that in mind, how do you go about choosing which ones go into your record bag and which ones remain when digging for SEA titles? Is there a particular mood or sound that you usually look for?  

Choosing vinyl is the most difficult part. When you start digging, I just look through the shelves randomly and check any title I’ve been searching for.  If I find it, those will straight go into my record bag!  If not, I sometimes ask the shop owner for any recommendation or new stock, then search from that stack.  But my budget is limited on one visit, so I just select those which can be used in the DJ event. The interesting part of digging is to find the dope groove music from the cheaper second-hand records!  I try not to buy the expensive one. When I go digging, I just focus on the music produced in 60s to 80s from around the region which can be used on my DJ mix.  Recently, I’ve been listening to soul and funk music from Malaysia in 70s, and there many wonderful covers and original songs.

We are also curious as to how you would organize them in your own personal space. Would it be by the era, style, mood, or region?? It's always nice to have a system in place for easier navigation especially for a DJ like yourself.

Never knew that my record collection can become so big in three years, and its always problematic to organize these records in my space.  Currently I organize by its region (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japanese, others), then after that will put those in alphabetical order or its musical style.  Otherwise, it’s difficult to remember where I put the vinyls.  But, usually I always keep my favorite vinyls in my DJ bag, so I can listen to it anytime!

Apart from that, we also realized your love for Japanese City-pop and Funk, where you also have your very own night called “NightCap”. Could you tell us a bit about what the style means to you and maybe one of your favorite City-pop albums for a much-suggested listening.

Yes, “Nightcap”, my monthly night at White Label Records, is a good platform to introduce some of my favorite Japanese City-pop music mixed with Malay Funk or Nanyang Chinese Disco. Am happy that this monthly event turned one in February! As an Asian rare groove DJ, and as a Japanese, I wanted to share some of my Japanese rare groove music collection (Japanese Funk & Japanese city-pop).  Some funk and boogie music produced in Japan have great vibes!  Tatsuro Yamashita’s “Sparkle” (included in the LP album ‘For You’) and Miki Matsubara’s “Stay With Me” (EP) have been played every time at “Nightcap”, and always happy to see the audience singing together!  My favorite City-pop albums will be Tatsuro Yamashita’s “SPACY”, Ruriko Ohgami’s “Typhoon Lady”, Taeko Ohnuki’s “Sunshower”, and so on…

2. Takako Mamiya - Love Trip

We are always fascinated with collectors who purposefully dig for old records that are super rare to find, it's almost like a treasure hunt. Could you share a little about your focus on your musical journey recently? Is there a DJ / Collector / or ethos that you are inspired by? Maybe one or two rare records that you’ve been wanting to find as well.

Yes, digging vinyls especially the old ones are like treasure hunt! Recently, I’ve been focused on more Malay and Singapore soul and funk from 70s and 80s; Ahmad Nawab, Uji Rashid, Rahimah Rahim, Sharifah Aini, Anita Sarawak, Carefree, Flybaits, etc).  Their music has wonderful soul, groove, and boogie with a bit of exoticness, and they can blend well with Japanese City-pop at my events.

I was first inspired by NADA, a sound duo comprised by Safuan Johari and Rizman Putra, who reinterpret Malaysian traditional music with modern technology. I learned a lot about 60s to 80s Malaysian music from them and inspired me to DJ.  Then, I always get inspired by music selection by my favourite DJs, Iramamama, Vinylheavy, Tiko Disko, Yuichi Kishino, Hibiki Tokiwa, Yohei Hasegawa, etc.. Their music help expand my music knowledge about Asian music!

To end it off, We would like to say that you are one of the rare music lovers out there with such a sincere and genuine approach. Each record probably brings its own memories and experience back to you. Could you maybe tell us what do these records mean to you at the end of the day and how does it gel into your everyday life? 

From these vintage records, each record has its own music culture history and these music brings back the vibes from those era into our daily life.  Besides the music, the design or fashion from those era can be seen from the vinyl record, which is interesting part of the vinyl digging experience!  Singapore has developed and changed very fast, but through the vinyl record I still can see how Singapore was before.  Each vinyl has its own history and story.

A mix by DJ Itch for our Mix series - Providing an all Vinyl mix, picking flavours from the South-East Asian Region, songs and melodies that are nostalgic to all of us here.

- The End -

Thank you Itch for taking your time off and shining some light onto some of these musical gems. By doing this interview it has inspired us to always keep the musical search going! So much to learn from the past and so much to look forward to at the same time. Hopefully through reading this, it will inspire you to go on your own musical search and continue to keep your curious nature alive. Keep the fire burning :) 

You can find out more about DJ Itch aka Ichiro via the mediums below! Please also check out his weekly mix that he has been doing during the Circuit Break era called "Stay Home Singapura". We Highly recommend to put them on for some time travels and spot on vibes. 








Soon To Be Reissued Is Jack Kerouac's Debut Album 'Poetry for the Beat Generation'

Soon To Be Reissued Is Jack Kerouac's Debut Album 'Poetry for the Beat Generation'

Famed beatnik writer Jack Kerouac's debut spoken word album Poetry for the Beat Generation will be reissued for the first time ever since its 1959 release via Real Gone Music.

The album will be pressed on black and white "beatnik smoke" vinyl limited to 900 copies. Featuring TV personality and musician Steve Allen on piano, the collaboration came about after Allen had rescued Kerouac from a disastrous first set at the Village Vanguard.

According to the label "the duo’s collaboration was so impressive that legendary engineer Bob Thiele brought them into the studio to record an album for Dot Records". With the entire album being recorded in just one session and one take for each song. However, Dot’s President Randy Wood rejected the album due to its then-daring language and subject matter. Leading Thiele to leave and start Hanover Records with Allen and subsequently release the record in 1959.

The album is set to be released on 7th April.

Check out the full album below:

J Dilla's Life Story Published As A Children's Book

J Dilla's Life Story Published As A Children's Book

Following the recent acquisition of J Dilla's fabled MPC, by The Smithsonian as part of a permanent collection at their National Museum of African American History and Culture. The life story of J Dilla's early years is the subject of a new illustrated children's book. Inspired by stories from Dilla's mother, Maureen 'Ma Dukes' Yancey-Smith, who also narrated an interactive audio component to the book.

Two versions of the book will be available, a standard edition and a deluxe edition which includes an audio USB. All proceeds will go to the J Dilla Foundation. The book is out on 22nd November.

Source: The Vinyl Factory

Upcoming Biography On Curtis Mayfield's Life, As Told By His Son

Upcoming Biography On Curtis Mayfield's Life, As Told By His Son

Curtis Mayfield's impact on soul music is undeniable and various accounts on his life has been written through the years. This October a new account written by none other than his very own son, Todd Mayfield, promises to bring more intimacy and depth to the soul singer's life.

The book will be titled Traveling Soul: The Life of Curtis Mayfield, written by Todd and in collaboration with writer Travis Atria. As reported by the Chicago Tribune“In presenting his story through my eyes,” Todd writes, “I have tried to tell it like it is and like it was, even when a crafted piece of public relations would have made him look better.”

The book chronicles Mayfield's life from childhood until his death in 1999, offering more depth with personal anecdotes from Todd. The Chicago Tribune provides several samples such as Mayfield moving to the dangerous Cabrini-Green housing complex on the Near North Side of Chicago, and befriending fellow soul singer and songwriter Jerry Butler. Eventually joining his group, The Impressions, and creating hits such as “Gypsy Woman,” “It’s Alright” and “I’m So Proud.”

Following a successful solo career in the 70s, an accident with some stage lighting equipment left him paralyzed from the neck down in 1990. After releasing one final album in 1996, and being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hame of Fame in 1999, he passed away in December of that year at the age of 57.

“At that moment, I didn’t know what to think or how to feel,” writes Todd in Traveling Soul. “A part of me felt relief that he was gone and didn’t have to suffer any longer. Another part of me felt alone, with no father to be there for me if I really needed something.”

This book will definitely be movin' on up to the top of any self professed Mayfield fans' book list this fall. Book was released on 1st October.

Source: Okayplayer

Jamaican Illustrator Wilfred Limonious Gets Due Recognition

Jamaican Illustrator Wilfred Limonious Gets Due Recognition

In Fine Style: The Dancehall Art of Wilfred Limonious celebrates the vibrant art of Jamaican illustrator Wilfred Limonious who had a definitive role in creating the island's burgeoning dancehall aesthetic in the 80s.

As reported by The Vinyl Factory, "His vibrant work played a definitive role in the island’s emerging dancehall aesthetic, splashed across labels, record sleeves, cassette inserts and posters, providing all he touched with what CKLN Toronto radio host David Kingston has called “a stamp of authenticity that this was indeed a bona fide Jamaican product."

A recent exhibition of the same name was held recently as well, while Limonious is surely not a household name, the exhibition and this book hopes to shed more light into the Jamaican illustrator's invaluable contributions to the scene as shared by Professor Paul Gilroy of King's College London who said, "This amazing book fills in pages that have long been missing from the official history of Jamaica's popular culture. The artful, comic insights revealed in Wilfred Limonious’ drawings and designs are not only an overlooked contribution to Jamaica’s musical heritage, they are clues to the deepest layers of the island’s rebel identity."

Check out some preview images and find out more about the book at One Love Books.

Source: The Vinyl Factory, One Love Books

[UPDATE] Second Wave Of Marvel's Hip Hop Covers Features Wu-Tang Clan, Chance The Rapper And More

[UPDATE] Second Wave Of Marvel's Hip Hop Covers Features Wu-Tang Clan, Chance The Rapper And More

Update 17/09/16: As reported by Mass Appeal, Marvel has unveiled a new batch of hip hop covers featuring ScHoolboy Q, Insane Clown Posse and Action Bronson to name a few.

Check them out below.

Doctor Strange and The Sorcerers Supreme / ScHoolboy Q

Foolkiller / Insane Clown Posse

Solo / Action Bronson & Alchemist

Great Lakes Avengers / MC Lyte

Rocket Raccoon / Tyler, The Creator

Original Article: Hip hop and comic books have had a long and storied connection, from MC Daniel Dumile's moniker MF DOOM paying homage to the Fantastic Four's metal faced villain to Wu-Tang Clan's Ghostface Killah taking on the pseudonym of Tony Starks for his 1996 album, Ironman.

Marvel continues their run of covers which features classic hip hop album covers turned into comic book cover art, with their second wave looking set to hit this fall. Featuring homages ranging from classic albums like LL Cool J's Bigger and Deffer (aka BAD) to Kevin Gate's recently certified platinum Islah.

Look out for these covers coming this fall, and check out the side by side comparison via Playboy below.

Luke Cage / LL Cool J

Luke Cage / LL Cool J

Champions / Wu-Tang Clan

Infamous Iron Man / Big Daddy Kane

Ultimates / Salt 'N Pepa

Nova / Chance The Rapper

Jessica Jones / Kevin Gates

Source: Playboy, Mass Appeal

'Love In Vain' Illustrates Legendary Bluesman Robert Johnson's Career

'Love In Vain' Illustrates Legendary Bluesman Robert Johnson's Career

Legend has it that bluesman Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads to play the blues. The mythic bluesman is now the subject of an upcoming graphic novel illustrating his short life and career in music, having passed at the age of 27.

Love In Vain: Robert Johnson, 1911 - 1938, by Mezzo and J. M. Dupont will chart Johnson's childhood all the way to his meteoric rise in music. Having written some of the most timeless blues standards which has been covered by later music legends such as Muddy Waters, The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton. Love In Vain is sure to intrigue blues fans and rock fans alike. 


Love In Vain: Robert Johnson, 1911 – 1938 is scheduled to be released on 6th October.

Check out a preview of the inside pages of the new book above and listen to some essential tracks below:


Source: The Vinyl Factory