Kristian Sorge is a record collector from New York City. I first met him when he opened his very cool and curated store, Limited to One Record Shop, in the East Village.
It's definitely my kind of spot because it caters to the real collectors and owned and operated by one. He is one of us and knows exactly what we want! Kristian never ceases to amaze with his rare punk finds but he collects across all genres as you will read.
Make sure you stop by his shop when digging in NYC. You just might find a grail...
How did you get into collecting records?
I got into collecting sort of naturally. I have always been a big music person since I was a kid. I remember that my dad used to give me a $20 allowance each month and I would always buy two cassettes with it. One of the first punk bands I loved was the Misfits, and I always dreamed about owning all the Misfits singles. So when I started to go to punk and indie shows I would buy any and all singles. I was still collecting mostly CDs at the time but I would always buy singles and occasionally LPs.
Then, about 15 years ago, I moved into a new apartment that had a lot more space than I ever had before and I started focusing on LPs. I had sold my entire CD collection, which at the time was like 900 CDs. I remember getting a dollar a CD at the time and was super psyched on it.
Since then, I have been collecting seriously.
What was the first record you bought with your own money?
I honestly don't think I remember what the first record I bought with my own money was, however, I remember getting Faith No More's The Real Thing before owning a CD player and then one time years ago when I was visiting my mother in Arizona, I bought Elliott Smiths first LP and Danzig's Lucifuge for two dollars a piece. I have them both still and I never took the price tags off of them [laughs].
I also interned at Fat Wreck in college, so I got a lot of the earlier Fat stuff on vinyl, like I said before, most of them were singles but I did make a few exceptions at the time.
What is your collecting philosophy? What do you collect and why?
My collection philosophy.. Well number one is: I only try to own the most limited pressing of any record, (excluding tests) this way, I don't end up buying the same record a bunch of times. If I miss the most limited pre order, I'll just wait to try to find one on the secondary market. Also and I think this is a weird one but I really don't listen to an album on anything before owning the physical LP.
I enjoy listening to a record for the first time on vinyl. If I can't find the LP press I am looking for, I will wait, sometimes months or even years till I own it to listen to it.
As far as to what I collect, my taste is really all over the place as I am sure most people's are these days but I just want to own every record I have ever loved in the past. And for new music, I have a tendency to buy a lot of new music, if I don't like it, Ill just sell it in my shop.
We all have one record that we sold that we completely regret, what is yours?
Right now there's a few records that I regret selling. Since I own a shop, sometimes I go through my collection to make room for new stuff coming in and to sometimes try to get some new exciting titles in the store.
I think right now here are a few titles that I will probably end up buying (again..):
- Poison Idea, Pick Your King (on clear)
- Metallica, Ride the Lightning (French green cover)
- DYS, Brotherhood (first press)
- Misfits, 3 Hits from Hell (on white, 2nd press)
I am sure there's a few more but that's what I think of immediately.
How has running a store shaped your collecting habits? Talk a little about record store life.
I have always wanted to open a record shop like most people I know. I was working in the film industry and I was getting burnt out on it pretty badly. At the time, I was doing a podcast with a few friends called RecordNerdz and we would constantly talk about what we wanted in a record store and I thought about what if I opened a store that my friends would love to shop in. The idea was simple, focus on rare and hard to find stuff, focus on genres and bands that stores rarely focus on, grade every record, put all the pressing information on each sleeve and make the store as clean and easy to browse through quickly.
So, I opened to Limited to One. The store obviously is a play on my friends constantly asking each other, "What's it limited to..." when talking about LPs. However, we get a lot of people coming in saying, "Does the name mean we can only buy one record at a time?" But I always just say, "That would be a terrible business model, wouldn't it?"
As far as my collecting habits, I have a tendency to just collect more. However, my single favorite thing ever is having new records and collections coming into the shop. It's really so so exciting to see what's going to come through the door at any time. I always tell people I take home about 5% of every collection that comes into the shop.. sometimes it does feel a little higher though but why else would you want to open a shop, right?
What do think about the values of rare punk and hardcore records skyrocketing? Do you think the bubble will burst?
It's really fascinating to see the value of hardcore and punk records skyrocket. However, for me, and I know this is a touchy subject for people, but I think this is natural for any hobby. And I think if you look at something like comics or baseball cards or sneakers or Pokeman cards... we are a newer sect of collecting so it's kind of nice to know that people see vinyl as a viable hobby and an investment.
I still think you should play every record you get and you should take care of your records. And if you want to play them and smash them after, that's your prerogative. I am sure the hype will die down a bit at sometime for vinyl but the people who love the music and love the hobby will always want to own their favorite bands and records.
What’s the most you ever shelled out for a record?
A lot. I am definitely not one of those people who have a ceiling when it comes to buying records. But, you know, there's a difference between valuable and rare, and sometimes there are LPs you just can't find and I'd rather pay a little more cause who knows if you will ever see another one, ever.
But I will say this, the most I ever paid for a record is my Cousins press of Minor Threat's In My Eyes. I bought it from one of the guys from the Tar Babies who got it from Ian back in the day. And it is still my most prized possession.
Name a record or records you can’t live without?
Man, how much time do you have? I can list a bunch that just mean the world to me:
- Refused, The Shape of Punk to Come (EU press with slightly alt cover)
- All of my Misfits singles, I am missing two essential ones (Cough/Cool, of course, and Fiend Club-numbered Evilive)
- Any of my Minor Threat LPs. I have a mint first press Out of Step that is just so so pretty.
- Any Elliott Smith
- I have an original UK Pink Moon by Nick Drake that I love.
- I have one of those friends only Shellac LPs, which I just love the story behind.
I have this one of a kind (or Limited to One, if u will...) City of Caterpillar single that was made for a friend that has a handmade cover with all of their fingerprints on it. I have this promotional alt cover of De La Soul Is Dead (which I am desperately looking for a nicer cover of... anyone?).
I have test presses for every Fugazi LP with the exception of one... (anyone have an In on the Killtaker test, they want to sell?). My white and peach press of Texas Is the Reason and Sense Field Building, respectively, my demo collection.
I know it's not records but I have been collecting demo tapes of old punk, emo and screamo bands I love, I have Orchid, Converge, Saetia, City of Caterpillar, Rage Against the Machine, Cave In, Refused, Gorilla Biscuits, Avail, Promise Ring, Karate, Thursday, and more.
What are the top records on your want list currently?
Like I said before, the two Misfits singles and one Fugazi test, Turnstile GLOW ON record release, Fiddlehead rec release of first LP, Descendents Ride the Wild first press, Boys Life demo, pg99 demo, two Converge demos, any limited test press of the first three Soft Kill releases, Dirty Nil lathe singles, both GG Allin and Jabbers singles, Avail 4am Friday on clear, NOFX The Longest Line on purple, Sick of It All Gilman sleeve, any of the "staff" releases from Fat Wreck, Jawbreaker Unfun on clear, and so many more.
What’s a record or genre in your collection that might surprise the readers?
I am a massive Paul Simon fan and have most of his early LPs (I collected the Japanese presses of it to have fun versions of them). I have gotten into jazz a bit so have quite a bit of rare jazz. I am also a huge hip-hop fan and have a few hundred rap records, including a lot of Def Jux, Anti-Con, Griselda, Wu-Tang-related, Native Tongues and so forth.
I have that weird space jazz record from L. Ron Hubbard (as kind of a joke), and I have three singles featuring Bill Murrary, for some reason. I also collect comedic records, including David Cross, Patton Oswalt, Bill Burr, Sarah Silverman, and more.
Is there anything that really bothers you about the collecting scene?
The only thing that really bothers me in the collecting scene is collectors not looking out for each other. Remember, if anyone falls down in the pit, you pick them up. That also works as a metaphor.
What do you foresee for the future of vinyl and collecting?
I honestly can't say, sometimes it feels that only the people with money will have all the good records and then someone comes in and changes mind by doing something really thoughtful and sweet. And I hope that I can continue to be apart of this community and that people will continue to enjoy the shop.
Do you plan on growing old with your records or do you have an exit strategy?
Well, if my floor doesn't cave in, Ill continue to collect. I am almost at 10k records.
Check out more of Kristian's collection on Instagram. If you're in NYC, make sure you visit his store, Limited to One Record Shop, at 221 East 10th Street (west basement), NY, NY 10003.
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Tagged: record collector