Heavy Metal Collectors: An interview series
Part 28: Riku Makinen (Finland)
Inspiration can come from a number of unique sources. The concept behind this interview series was developed over time but recently crystallized in my mind. As the owner of a large library I’ve often pondered about the nature of collecting Heavy Metal music (Cassettes, vinyl, CD’s, memorabilia etc) and how and why people accumulate Metal ‘stuff’. In 2017, Martin Popoff wrote a book called METAL COLLECTORS which I read, thoroughly enjoyed and reviewed. It occurred to me that there are lots of people out there with pretty massive Metal collections so I decided I wanted to chat to some of them and interview them for the site.
My concept is to, over time ask people with some pretty impressive, monster collections the same series of questions. I’m basically stealing that idea of METAL COLLECTORS (Sorry Martin!) and expanding into an interview series. Lastly, the name for this series was spawned by a gentleman by the name of Ray Wawrzyniak. He appeared in the Rush documentary TIME STAND STILL. Ray is a Rush super-fan and in one particularly charming scene in the film, the genial and friendly (but clearly obsessed) Ray shows off one piece of his Rush collection and refers to it with barely hidden glee as ‘Spectacularly Majestic’. It was in fact ‘just’ an old piece of paper, (a Rush ad from a magazine from 1979) but that phrase alone and his enthusiasm I feel embodies the spirit of Metal collecting, because I suspect that many Metal collectors have those same moments. Check out the 1:30 minute mark of the video below.
If you, or know someone you know, has a monster Metal collection (in the 1000+ range) please feel free to get them in touch with me!
Tell us how you started collecting Metal! When did you start?
Hi, Joshua! I believe my first metal album was Anthrax “Among the Living” at 1987. I can’t even remember why I wanted it, but at that time we listened all kind of music with my friends from Pet Shop Boys to AC/DC and maybe it was time for me to get something “heavier”. After Anthrax I found Sepultura, Possessed, Autopsy and finally at 1993 I found my true love from black metal when I first time heard Immortal song “The Sun No Longer Rises” at local radio. Back then I started tape trading, ‘cause I had this certain need to get more and more this fantastic stuff, but I had not enough money to buy everything. But I believe that’s also when my collection started, even if it was quite slow at the beginning with less money. And at that time it was also much much harder to find new bands when there was no internet yet.
How big is your collection?
According to my Discogs account it’s 7,340 items. I have 99% of my stuff listed there.
Can you give us a break down? (Vinyl, vs. Cassette, vs. CD vs. digital)
I don’t do digital. Digital sucks. It has to be physical. For me it’s mostly CD, but I do also have hundreds of vinyl, cassettes, dvd’s etc.
How do you count your collection? For example. If you have say for example, multiple copies of KISS-Destroyer on the following media; Vinyl, 8-Track, Cassette, CD, and digital format do you count that as five items or just 1 item?
As I said before, they are almost all in Discogs and as they are listed there as several items, that’s the way it goes. Besides, I don’t do that much counting anymore. I have never counted for example how many CD’s I have. I believe the amount of them is between 5,000-6,000.
When you collect certain bands, do you buy all of their stuff such as Live albums, EP’s, Compilations, box-sets etc?
I try to get all their full-length albums first and then some other stuff if something comes in my way, but the main focus is in full-lengths. In some cases it has been actually even pretty funny. Like for example I had no Iron Maiden’s “Live After Death” until last year, because I really don’t care about most live albums. Well, now I have 4 (2 x CD, VHS, DVD) of “Live After Death” (CD, VHS, DVD), don’t know what happened.
How do you organize your collection if at all; by genre, Chronologically? Alphabetically?
I’m a perfectionist and I had to have them all organized alphabetically or I would probably break down. I usually buy 30-100 new items at month and I have one shelf for my latest purchases from which I try to organize them to actual collection once in a month. It usually takes whole day nowadays, but then again, I love it.
Do you insure your collection?
Basic home insurance.
How do you store your collection?
For my CD’s and DVD’s I found this great carpenter from our capital city Helsinki almost 10 years ago. I have now 10 shelves made by her and probably need few more later this year. She is not cheap (women never are!), but it’s the only way you can get them just the right size. For vinyl I use Ikea Kallax.
What is your preferred genre(s)? Do you have a genre break down of your collection? For example 15% Death Metal, 25% Black Metal etc?
I believe it’s still mostly black metal, say 80% black metal probably. But I’m quite a seasonal listener and for example last year I was really into old school heavy metal and ordered a lots of old gems (Metal Church, Jag Panzer, Cloven Hoof, Omen etc.). Then again the beginning of this year has been quite much death metal based and I’m actually thinking of complete some missing pieces of death metal this year. For example I realized few days ago that I haven’t got a single Cannibal Corpse album here while I was thinking to buy their latest album! Maybe I should do something for that as well as get some other missing death metal gems.
Do you sell and trade or strictly buy?
It’s all about buying, man! Well, in some incidents I have bought an item I already have (which is quite unusual nowadays when you can check it from Discogs even with your phone), then I can sell or trade it. But I’m quite lazy to even sell my dublicates, so they usually lay here for years, ha ha! But I have no intention to thin out my collection. I did it 20 years ago and sold some Alice Cooper vinyl to get more black metal and I still regret it.
What is your preferred format?
As I said before, it’s CD. Maybe it’s because I started to collect when first CD’s came out, but also because I think vinyl is way too overpriced nowadays. I will probably start to collect more vinyl when the trend is over. But then again, I really don’t even care about formats. I collect music, not certain formats.
How do your track your collection? Do you use a spreadsheet or one of the on-line services or even a hand-written list?
Besides Discogs I have two separate Word documents. One that has my whole collection and another one for current year purchases. I don’t know why I do that, but it’s easier to count at the end of the year how many items you scored that year, ha ha!
What is your most valuable piece? (not in terms of sentimental value, but in actual terms of resale value on the open market. ie. Goldmine etc. )
Besides boxes (like Abigor “The Complete Hörnix Recordings”, Vlad Tepes “A Catharsis For Human Illness” etc.) I can give you 5 items with the highest median price at Discogs from my collection, they are:
1.Mayhem – De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (first press CD)
2.Guns N’ Roses – Use Your Illusion II (double vinyl)
3.Iron Maiden – Fear Of The Dark (double vinyl)
4. Summoning – Of Pale White Morns… (limited earbook with CD and 7”)
5. The Coffinshakers – Dark Wings Over The World (vinyl)
What is your rarest item in your collection?
Well, since I really found metal at the beginning of 90’s and especially black metal I went into underground doing few ‘zines, distribution and stuff. Therefore I do have some demotapes here which are probably quite rare. Like for example first demotape of Horna “Varjoissa”. I also have Inearthed’s (formerly known as Children Of Bodom) second demotape “Shining” signed by Henkka T. Blacksmith and Alexi Laiho. R.I.P. Alexi.
What is the most you have paid for an item?
Not much really. I don’t honestly enjoy of paying hundreds for a single release. Few years ago I had this certain need to fill some missing pieces of 90’s Scandinavian black metal and I had to buy few CD’s with a small overprice, like Sort Vokter “Folkloric Necro Metal”, Tulus “Pure Black Energy”, Ancient Wisdom “For Snow Covered Northland” etc. They cost something like 50€ each back then. Some boxes I have that have cost more, but let’s say 50€ for a single release is most.
Do you collect other non-music Metal memorabilia such as books, DVD’s, T-shirts, stickers, hot sauces, wine/beer etc.
DVD’s of course and some books I also have, but I’m quite lazy to read, ha ha! Before this Covid-19 pandemic started me and my girlfriend went a lot to flea markets and if I see something (be it books, flags whatever) that has something to do with metal with a cheap price I buy it. I have few bottles of AC/DC wine and Motörhead beer, but since I quit drinking alcohol seven years ago I haven’t had much interest to collect bottles.
What is the one item you have been searching for that you cannot seem to find?
Well, as I said before I don’t enjoy paying hundreds of euros for a single release and therefore there are some albums I don’t have even though I wish I had them. For example almost the whole discography of Peste Noire is missing here, ‘cause I haven’t found them cheap enough. But these kind of things doesn’t really bother me. Of course I would give a good home for a first pressing of Burzum’s debut, if someone sells it with enough cheap price, but I can also leave without it.
Why do you collect Metal music?
Why not? Ha ha! I have an addiction disorder and I have to do something with it. 7 years ago I almost killed myself by drinking too much. I almost lost everything, but I didn’t. I realized that I can canalize my disease to healthier hobby. I counted the amount of money I had spent to alcohol monthly and gave myself a freedom to spend it all to records if I quit drinking. And now, here we are! I don’t drink anymore, but I’m still as broken as during my alcohol years, but now with a massive collection, ha ha! Of course I do also love this music still and always will. Great music is great music when it evokes feelings. And when it does that, it helps you to survive through all the misery and sadness etc.
In a morbid and Metal question, what do you plan to do with your collection when you die?
I have three children and I hope they continue the collection. But if they don’t, I hope they will sell it to someone who will continue it with equitable price.
Final thoughts? Feel free to use this space to share any unique or interesting items about you and your collection and/or share ideas and advice for your fellow collectors.
Thanks for the interview! Here’s my advice for those who spent most of their weekends at bars drinking beer and are now reading this interview with bitterness that they don’t have enough money to spend on their collection. Just ask yourself how much you spend money every month for drinking? Life is all about choices, make your own.