If anyone has a vinyl obsession, it's Portishead DJ Andy Smith. He's been collecting records since 1978. If you've caught any of Smith's sets or heard his mix CD, The Document, you're familiar with his lightning-quick, now you hear itnow you don't DJing style. A wonder to behold, but it begs the question where does he put all those records?
What was the first record you ever owned?
Me mom bought me The Jungle Book.
What was the first record you ever played out?
I can't remember actually, but it's probably something really dreadful. Probably something like "Heart of Glass" by Blondie.
What did your family and friends think of your collecting?
My mom and stepdad thought I was crazy. I was having a conversation with my stepdad and it was when I was about to buy my Technics, and I was spending quite a bit of money to buy the Technics. I remember reading the paper, he showed me an article and he said, "You don't want to buy these record players. Why don't you buy these new things with the lasers?" It was an article about CD players, and he was saying that I should wait and buy a CD player and not my turntables.
What's your most prized record?
I don't know, actually. . . . I've got the theme soundtrack from the TV show Space 1999. I really like that whole album; it's like incidental music from all these TV shows.
What's your strangest record?
I've got an Alfred Hitchcock album where he talks and introduces the theme tunes to his films. I've got an interview record with Henry Mancini. The idea is that the DJ's got a sheet of questions, and then he can let the record off with his answer on it.
How many records do you tour with?
I've got one metal box, a bag, and about 60 45s in another bag. You never really know what kind of club or night it's gonna be.
How much space do the records take up?
I've got a flat in London. I've got one complete wall-full. But downstairs, there's another rack-full. There's like four boxes in the bedroom, and I'm still moving boxes from Bristol. I've even got friends that say to me, "Oh, by the way, when are you gonna come get these boxes of records that you left at my house?" I can't even remember putting them 'round there. It's ridiculous. There's just records everywhere.
Do you have an organizing system?
Not really. I jet in from somewhere, so I come in and just swap records around and go back away again. They're just in my apartment everywhere. I'd need a couple of weeks, actually, to get them sorted out.
How do you find a specific record?
That's what my friends say! This has happened to me very recently, where I find records that I didn't even know I had. I was in London, it was a '60s kind of night, and I was going through all sorts of 45s and there were things in there I couldn't believe that I had. One record, actually, that I'd been looking for [in stores]—actively looking for—after I heard a DJ play it two months before. And then I found it in my collection. It was "Can I Be Your Squeeze?"