Krystal Klear

“My Records Keep Me Warm At Night”

Words: Florian Obkircher
Photography (Right): Krystal Klear/Boiler Room Perspective Feature

Krystal Klear is one of the most versatile DJ’s out there - in celebration of Record Store Day The Red Bulletin sat down with the Mancunian to talk about his passion for vinyls

Mancunian producer Krystal Klear has made a name for himself as one of the most eclectic DJs and bridge builder between old school funk vibes and deep house beats, working with Chic’s Nile Rodgers and other legends. In anticipation of Krystal Klear’s gig at the Red Bull Wax Works party in Manchester in celebration of Record Store Day, the avid vinyl fan told The Red Bulletin about his passion and how to buy records properly.

Krystal Klear’s recent single “One Night Only”

THE RED BULLETIN: What was the first vinyl record you ever bought?

KRYSTAL KLEAR: It might have been MTV Unplugged in New York by Nirvana when I was eleven years old, simply because my cousin was listening to Nirvana and I wanted to be like him. But I think the first record of real substance I bought was “Nights Over Egypt” by The Jones Girls. I was 15 and I didn’t even own a turntable at the time. I was hanging out at All City record shop in Dublin religiously and I remember the owner used to play records throughout the day and one of them in particular was that track. And I loved it the first time I heard it and I still do.

Where does your love for vinyl come from? 

The record thing for me was just part of hip hop culture originally. Because when I started getting into graffiti and making beats, it came hand in hand. You wanted records in the same way you wanted a pair of Karl Kani jeans. It was part of the culture. Now for me – I’ve been buying records for ten years – it’s like a blanket. It keeps me warm at night, knowing I have the records around my house. I can’t picture my life without stacks of records in my living room. 

 

“The best advice I’d always give anyone is, never pay over the odds for a record that you don’t absolutely have to have”
Krystal Klear

What’s your favourite record store?

I’ve always loved A1 Records in New York. I always make it my business to go there and I’ve always gotten great records there. I went to shop in San Francisco years ago, it’s called Groove Merchant. That place is really cool as well. But there are loads of good record shops everywhere. With the vinyl culture taking a bit more of a boom again, there are a lot of good new shops opening up with a bit more diversity in their range.

What section do you browse through first in a record store?

When I walk in to a shop, I generally check out the disco section first, because that’s what I know best. I’ll be able to tell quite quickly what kind of money I’m going to be spending if I see the disco section. If it has a diverse range then I know that I’m going to spend some time in that shop. After the disco section I usually move on to the house and techno stuff.

Krystal Klear’s DJ set at Boiler Room. This Sunday (April 19th) Krystal Klear will perform alongside DJ Jazzy Jeff, Todd Terry and others at the Red Bull Music Academy event Wax Works in Manchester. For details click here

What’s the record in your collection with the best artwork?

When I was 17 I bought George Duke’s Master of The Game. I wasn’t aware of who he was, but the cover was amazing. It’s got this massive checkerboard print on the front with two big hands and a person sitting in them. And the back has this fat looking Jimi Hendrix character with synths and guitar. I was like, ‘wow, this must be some crazy shit’. I bought the record, but I didn’t listen to it at all. At the time I was making weird hip-hop stuff, so it didn’t correlate. I just bought it because the artwork was dope. Years later, I was in my apartment and it was the only record there. All my other records were boxed because I was moving house. So I put it on and it was one of the most incredible records I had ever heard. I was like, ‘holy shit, I cannot believe I slept on this!’

 

“I organise my record collection by genre”
Krystal Klear

Do you have tips for record digging?

Definitely. If you’re buying records a lot, then I would always suggest buying a portable turntable if you can afford one, because a lot of big record shops don’t have many listening stations. If you’re really spending five hours in a shop it’s good to have your own turntable with you. But the best advice I’d always give anyone is, never pay over the odds for a record that you don’t absolutely have to have. For example, I buy a lot disco and boogie records, but I very rarely buy it in the UK or in Europe. Because anytime I’m buying a disco record I want, it’s at least 7 pounds in the UK, but I’d always know that this record is probably going for a dollar in America. So unless you wanted it forever, hold out, most records come around a lot of the time much cheaper than you’d expect.

How do you organise your record collection?

I just do it by genre. Alphabetical was an idea, a concept I once attempted, but it became very difficult when it actually came to putting records away. At the moment I just have a disco section from 1977 to 1982, one for funk and new jack swing, a separate section for edits, and then house, deep house and techno. 

What are you going to play at the Red Bull Wax Works night?

I haven’t really thought about it. We’re supposed to play records we’re buying on the day. So I think whatever I buy will play a role. But as I always try to diversify when I’m playing, it will be a mixture of disco, house and techno.

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