dj kinetic

An Interview with Australian Funk Hustler DJ Kinetic

DJ Kinetic has been at the forefront of the Australian vinyl trading scene for years. Known as the go-to guy for rare local funk, you can always be assured he has a bunch of records that you would happily rehome into your collection. We asked him a few questions to get an insight into his world as a collector, trader, and Discogs seller.

Discogs: Tell us who you are and how long you have been a Discogs user.

DJ Kinetic: [My name is] Mark AKA DJ Kinetic. I signed up way back in 2003 — very early days, indeed. I still recall adding so many local Australian releases to the Database at a time when the rare Australian record listings were pretty sparse. It’s a very different story these days.

dj kinetic collection

D: How did you get into selling records?

K: It was a natural evolution of collecting for me. At a certain point, you amass a certain amount of vinyl and you start to realize you have things you don’t need, or you realize there are some things you come across that you may not be into but have value to others. That’s how I started selling. And before Discogs, I used to sell on the old music marketplace. Really clunky compared to Discogs, but I still miss the messiness of it in some ways.

D: Do you have a story that you’d like to share about record-selling? Please tell us!

K: I remember some years back, a guy from Melbourne contacted me through Discogs and wanted to buy a huge stack of hip-hop records from me and collect them in person when he was visiting … It was $600-$700 worth of stuff, and maybe 20 records all up. I drove into the city and met him at some bar that the guy had nominated. I remember, for some reason, thinking as I was waiting for him that this might all be some elaborate scam and that I was gonna get rolled for the records that I was carrying for him. And then all of a sudden, all these loud guys walked into the bar, and looked kinda rough and jacked up … and then this little guy popped out from behind the group, who were all his mates, and was the friendliest guy ever and the whole thing was totally fine. I still think back to that deal and feel a little stupid that I had gotten so oddly paranoid!

dj kinetic spinning

D: What is that one record you would love in your collection that has always eluded you?

K: Um … there’s a fair few soul and funk 45s that are right up there. I’d say the number one title would be this disco-funk 45 that I heard on a DJ Shadow mix ages ago called Funky Skunk. I’ve only seen it sold twice before (and it was the same copy that changed hands, and not in great condition). It’s so rare that it’s still not listed on Discogs actually – it’s called “We’re The Ace Players” by The Ace Players, and it’s really funky with a long midway breakbeat. I feel like it will elude me forever.

D: What is your favorite record store and why?

K: All my favorite record stores seem to have closed in recent years, so I’m going to name one that no longer exists. Back in the early 2000s when I started seriously digging in the crates, in the era of the still-breathing mum-and-pop store, there was a second-hand record store out in the Western suburbs of Sydney called Lazy Days. It was owned and run by this ex-standover man turned Jehovah’s Witness named Bill. Bill was a super friendly guy and it wasn’t long before I became a regular at this shop and gained full access to his vast back room of excess stock. It was in this shop that I discovered many, many rare lost Australian records from the ’60s and ’70s that would form the backbone of my Aussie Funk blog and fuel my desire to unearth all the local treasures that lay hidden at the time. It was a great shop and so many records from my collection were sourced from there.

dj kinetic aussie funk

D: Who are your favorite local Sydney acts?

K: When I think of Sydney-based acts, I always get transported back to my late teens and the first time I saw Def Wish Cast perform at a festival at Penrith Showground. Def Wish Cast immediately made me believe that I could be a DJ, too, and that this music was attainable for a kid like me, growing up in Western Sydney.

D: Do you have a favorite record of all time?

K: When you have as many records as I do and you DJ all the time, your taste is constantly evolving and changing. But … there is a record that’s probably the most special to me currently, and that’s a really rare rhythm and blues 45 that I paid a significant amount for because I just love it. It’s Your Voodoo Working by Charles Sheffield. It only clocks in at a minute and a half, but what a song. It’s a little spooky, and my favorite kind of tempo rhythm and blues, with really raw vocals and a wailing horn solo. Just perfect.

dj kinetic charles sheffield

D: What is the most valuable item you’ve ever sold?

K: Through my Aussie Funk blog I have established a reputation as the go-to guy for rare Aussie funk records. At the top end of this spectrum sits That Rongeng Sound by Leong Lau. A peerless mix of Malaysian influence, sparse funk, and Australian accent, the record has become a cult classic among collectors of Australian rare grooves. At the height of its popularity, The Australian Magazine did a feature on it and called me to get content for the article. The week after the article came out, I sold my spare copy for over a thousand dollars and it’s consistently sold for four figures since.

D: What has been your best record find?

K: My best find was a score I had at a local Vinnies in the Blue Mountains when I lived there. The Op Shop had recently closed its old location, and as I was passing back from work, I noticed its new location had opened, so I stopped in on a whim to check it out. The usually small vinyl offering had increased ten-fold, and the bulk of the records appears to come from a record label executive. Among them were numerous, pristine white-label pressings of soul and funk albums, many with promo or review sheets attached or inserted into them. Much of the collection was mint or close to it, and some were sealed. I recall buying about 50 records, all a dollar each, but I think they rounded my total down to $40 because I was buying so many.

D: What is your No. 1 tip for Buyers and/or Sellers on Discogs?

K: For Sellers, that’s easy: Write more rather than less in the description field when you’re describing what you are selling, particularly in relation to the condition. I would have said be comprehensive with your shipping prices too, but Discogs has sorted that out now making it easier for everyone! Buyers don’t want surprises unless it’s a free record! And for Buyers? Ask any questions you have before completing your purchase.

D: What we have our eye on from DJ Kinetic’s store:

Our Crate Minds series showcases some of the best sellers on Discogs. You’ll meet the people behind the crates (virtual and otherwise), get some insights into the life of a record seller, and learn tips on selling records from the best in the biz. You can check Dj Kinetic’s shop here.

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