Fuse's Crate Diggers web series recently explored RJD2's extensive record collection. In the episode, the producer-DJ opens up about his collection as well as his own musical journey, which includes a number of interesting twists and turns.
For RJ, record collecting has always been about finding "a record I had never seen before." As a kid, he would dig through crates at his local record shop, looking for albums that were strange or unfamiliar. As a result, each LP and 45 in his collection has a story, and RJ shares a number of interesting anecdotes about digging around in boxes of vinyl, such as finding an entire room full of 45s--all for just a quarter each.
His love for digging became a passion that drove him to work incredibly hard as a producer. As he recalls, he didn't play an instrument for about five years after high school. Instead, he was exclusively "in the zone of a producer," putting in twelve and even fourteen hour days sampling music and searching for new material in record stores.
His intense work ethic had a drawback, however. RJ describes how he went through a personal crisis in the mid- to late-2000s: he no longer listened to music for enjoyment. "I was not buying music to listen to at all," he says, calling that period of his life a "dark time for me musically." That dark time didn't last forever, though, and RJ eventually found the light in the form of the jazz fusion band Weather Report. Pulling out one of their albums, he recalls how they "totally rewrote how I see music." After that watershed moment, he recovered his ability to listen to records without always seeing them in terms of their sampling potential.
One of the most interesting parts of the episode comes when RJ shares his thoughts on the relationship between vinyl and younger generations of music listeners. "Why should they care?" he asks, arguing that vinyl has not been a part of their lives as it was for people in his age group. Although vinyl has been enjoying a resurgence among younger listeners, the producer has no illusions about the power of digital media, and he's aware that not everyone will go through the trouble of digging for vinyl. "What I experienced in my generation isn't repeatable," he says, "and that's fine ... but it should be documented."
Crate Diggers, it seems, is doing just that. Check out the full episode in the video above.