“With CDs or songs, you download them from the internet and just drift off to continue to do what you’re doing. Vinyls really make you listen,” says Nick Langford.
We’re big fans of all sorts of music at Honeycombers Hong Kong, from shoegaze to electronic bands like The Bilinda Butchers, Mount Kimbie and Sleep Party People. That’s why we fancy going to the vinyl pop-up sales in Central that happen once a month. With a diverse range of records – covering everything from Canto music to North American rock, folk, industrial music and Japanese hip hop – it’s the perfect hang-out spot for indie kids, music obsessors and collectors to spend their Saturday afternoons. We interviewed the organiser and founder of Vintage Vinyl HK Nick Langford to find out more about his love for LPs.
Interview with Nick Langford from Vintage Vinyl HK
Hi, Nick. Thanks for chatting with us. Can you tell us more about the monthly vinyl record sale that you organise?
I bought my first collection of vinyls from my brother’s wife in Vancouver. They had these records that they didn’t know what to do with, so I said: “I’ll pay you back,” and brought 10,000 records to Hong Kong. We then rented the premises on Elgin Street, called Culture Club Gallery, and I invite a lot of sellers in Hong Kong to come along and bring their records to sell. The sale has transformed from a couple of hours on a Thursday night, to four hours on a Saturday afternoon. It’s for all-ages, and people from across the cultural spectrum including locals, expats, young and old. We also changed the venue to Frank’s on Wyndham.
What do you do apart from managing the record sale?
I’m in education. I used to be in finance, so I’ve been transitioning out of that into more meaningful stuff. I work for a charity called PLK and I work here in Causeway Bay in the children’s home and a school in Tai Wai. I teach English, as well as science and critical thinking.
We don’t see record sales happening in Hong Kong very often, so how have the events been received?
We turn up at 2:45pm as we open at 3:00pm, and there’ll be people queuing up trying to dig through the boxes in the streets. That’s what the whole spirit is about. I can’t say it’s hugely commercial for me, but it’s just such a nice thing to do. Finding all these old records and gradually meeting new people; it has been crazy.
I think I may have checked out your booth at Clockenflap two years ago. Vintage Vinyl HK is really getting its name out there. Where do you see this heading?
Clockenflap in 2015 was the first time I went out into the big wild world. I made great friends and started a nice network. We’re actually looking at music type projects now, we’re working on an Italian jazz project in terms of actually producing a record.
And maybe starting a store! Ideally what I want is a social space, if you get everything right, the commercial side will come to you – that’s what I believe. I’m not in here trying to squeeze the last dollar out of every tray. I want to create a community around this fine, real touchy feely thing.
What was the first vinyl that you ever bought?
When I was 11 years old, my first 7” record was Pretty Vacant by the Sex Pistols. Picture sleeve, very nice, my parents weren’t particularly happy, as you can imagine, but the Sex Pistols were the hype of the punk rock scene in 1976. From then on, I just bought records when I could afford it, which was not very often.
What do you think about the vinyl scene in Hong Kong?
I think it’s very exciting. It took me a while to get into the local scene, as it really is driven by the locals. But it’s super fun. The individuals involved are very passionate big collators. Most, if not all, serious collectors just rent cheap storage, and they just buy, buy and buy. Classical is really big here, but for me, that’s just something I haven’t been able to touch. Jazz is getting bigger, although it’s mostly mainstream, with avant garde, abstract, free improvisation jazz, they don’t get quite as much of an audience here.
Sidenote: these are our fave jazz bars in Hong Kong.
As a fan of shoegaze or post-punk type of music, jazz sometimes strikes me as too sensual, so can you tell me why you enjoy listening to jazz music?
For jazz, I like the really crazy shit, it’s surprising, engaging, trying to work out what’s going on, which instrument is talking to which instrument in this improvisation. I like particular instruments, so I like bass, baritone, saxophone or double bass. That sort of end of the spectrum really gets me going.
Where do you usually get your vinyls or check out gigs in Hong Kong?
The one thing I’ve got through the record stuff though is finding out about live music in Hong Kong! This place in Aberdeen called The Empty Gallery, I try to go to everything they do, it’s just crazy stuff. Peter Brötzmann, he was one of the top instrument players in the world. I sat in the front row and the whole thing was so visceral. You can see the veins popping out of his neck and his forehead. It was just amazing! There is also a little venue just a few doors down White Noise Records, SAAL in Kwun Tong and Salon 10 in Central. They all have some interesting stuff going on.
Find the best vinyl stores in Hong Kong.
Do you have any favourite local bands?
Teenage Riot, A New World If You Can Take It, Prune Deer and Blood Wine Or Honey.
What albums are you currently listening to?
I was listening to a Japanese punk rock band called The Mods, and a Southern America jazz rock psych band called Bethlehem Asylum. Lately I also bought a record by Hong Kong experimental electronic pop band called No One Remains Virgin, and their record is called Life Fucks Everyone.
See what’s up with Vintage Vinyl HK.