We catch up with Bristol rave legend Vinyl Junkie, someone who has been at the core of the city’s underground music scene since the late 80s. Always on the go, we thought we’d see what the Amen champ is up to as we venture out of lockdown…
Hey John, how are you and what are you up to this week?
Eze Nick. Yes, I am all good mate thanks. Usual stuff really, processing orders for the shop, listing tunes on Discogs. compiling an album and sorting tunes for my radio show and podcast. And now doing an interview for the mighty DMC website!
It’s been a very tough year or so, how have you been coping with the restrictions?
I’ve been coping ok to be honest. I launched a new business during last year’s first lockdown. Basically, I got made redundant from my day job in August and to survive I decided to sell a few rare jungle tunes that I had, to make ends meet. It broke my heart to do it but needs must… not long after a friend of mine approached me and asked if I could help him sell his record collection so I did. That led to more collections and eventually to me launching my own online record store.
Can you tell us more about the online store?
Of course… It’s called www.vinyljunkie.uk and it specialises in Jungle / Hardcore and D&B. Especially the new style of jungle and hardcore which is basically taking things back to the early 90’s and really gives a nod to those glory days 91-95. It’s early days for the shop yet as we only launched in March but it seems to be going really well. We actually did a live stream from Run Tingz studio in Bristol to launch the shop as well. That was fun!!
Yes! It has so far picked up 38k views on facebook and youtube combined. Tell us about the concept behind it and how it played out on the day.
Well, I wanted to do something to launch the shop and we couldn’t have a party for obvious reasons, so a live stream was the only thing we could do. I wanted it to be vinyl obviously. I had previously spoken with Alex Parker from RunTingz.TV about doing a vinyl show playing oldskool jungle and he wasn’t sure if his viewers would be into it. Run Tingz is predominantly focussed on brand new upfront Jungle / Drum & Bass… that’s what they do and that’s what they are known for. So, he wasn’t sure!! But I kept pestering him and in the end he gave in and he kinda made a bit of an exception for me. So SALUTE to Alex and all the RunTingz family for giving us the benefit of the doubt!! So anyway, Nicky Blackmarket is a mate of mine and he is always keen to dust off the old vinyl so I thought about him as the headliner. Then I thought, what about Ray Keith as well. Who better to launch a vinyl shop than the two geezers that ran one of the most iconic and highly regarded underground record shops of our generation. Obviously I am talking about Black Market records.
On the day it was just vibes man. Ray kicked off the proceeding with Nookie – Give a Little Love, which was totally unexpected. What a tune to start the show with!! Love and happy vibes. Alex had a look of panic on his face… A “Wow i didn’t think he would play this old, everyones going to leave!” kinda look. HAHA. Nobody left though… They loved it! Personally I loved the way Ray did that. It set the vibe for what was to come. Genius!!! From there they just rolled it out in a oldskool jungle D&B fashion, the vibe in the studio was incredible… Funsta & Fearless were proper bubblin… and people have said to me that they have never witnessed a live stream to have such a big vibe!! Alex was really happy with how it went and I think we will be doing another one at some point… So yeah it was a big success and drove a lot of traffic to my website which had just launched on the same day.
If you haven’t checked the stream you can watch it here:
Ray Keith B2B Nicky Blackmarket x Fearless & Funsta // VinylJunkie x Megatron| 100% WAX |RTZ Live 82
Vinyl seems to be making a big comeback over lockdown, why do you think this is?
Don’t know but, here’s a fact for ya. Did you know that in 2020 Discogs signed up 1.2 million new users (buyers). That’s pretty incredible right? That’s over all genres obviously but it just goes to show that vinyl is getting huge again across the board.
But more specifically to our music… Jungle, Hardcore, Oldskool… Yes the vinyl sales have gone through the roof. It’s crazy… It’s brilliant. Why? Who knows man. Maybe it’s just a coincidence that it happened at the same time as lockdown. Maybe people are bored of downloading music and want something tangible that they can actually hold in their hand. It’s exciting isn’t it, digging for hidden gems in a record shop or waiting for the postman to bring your brand new records. That’s all lost with digital music… oh and just for the record, I have no problem with digital music, in fact i love mixing digital music armed with just a USB stick. It’s a whole different ball game to mixing vinyl in my opinion and I have a lot of fun doing both, but… there’s just something about mixing vinyl isn’t there??
One other thing I have come across quite a lot through trading Oldskool vinyl on Discogs is. It’s not all old gits like me and you Nick, trying to recapture their youth. There’s a lot of younger people… like in their twenties or thirties, who maybe weren’t even born when this music was a thing, or if they were, they were very young. And they buy vinyl from the early 90’s. Some of them are avid collectors and they spend a lot of money on records and they are really passionate about it. That’s cool innit?? There’s also a lot of young people producing it too. It’s mad…
You have some releases of your own lined up, right?
Yes, I am re-launching my label Warehouse Wax. We have a vinyl release that is due to drop in August hopefully, but could be later due to all the pressing plants having massive backlogs. It’s a BIG tune from 1992 that goes for big money on Discogs. Don’t really want to say any more than that right now… It’s a secret ☺ We are also doing a digital album on Warehouse Wax to come out just before the vinyl.
For anyone that isn’t familiar with Warehouse Wax, could you give us a brief history of the label?
I started Warehouse Wax in 2002 with a guy called Darkus. The whole idea was to release music that sounded like 1992 hardcore. We did 12 vinyl releases although Darkus left after the second one to set up his own label called Hardcore Projektz. It fizzled out in about 2009 as nobody was buying vinyl anymore. Then in 2011 I brought the label back just releasing digitally. That was the whole 140 Jungle thing…
You mentioned earlier, something about a podcast / radio show. Who, where, when??
So yeah. The Podcast is on all the podcast platforms including itunes, soundcloud, mixcloud and also it’s on my facebook and youtube. You can also stream it or download it straight from the website: (I will give you the embed code for this). If you go to my website to listen it has a full track list with buy-links. https://shop.vinyljunkie.uk/blogs/news/vinyl-junkie-podcast-episode-1 Also… I am just about to start a new show on Eruption, which is an internet station but also goes out on Dab radio in Bristol. As well as from their website. The show is every 4 weeks on rotation with SS / Swift / TeRRoR, from 8pm – 10pm.
You can check it online here: https://www.eruptionradio.uk or on DAB in the Bristol Area. 9A-202mhz
For a city that prides itself on it’s incredible nightlife, and home-grown dance music culture, how do you see the next 12 months panning out?
Difficult question! I have to be honest mate, I really have no idea what’s going to happen. Let’s just hope we can get back to some level of normality soon hey? All I know is, people are itching to get back amongst it.
Over the year’s you have chartered all kinds of waters musically, from initial rave to jungle, happy hardcore to hard house, and then on to rave breaks and all the various sub categories. Where are you at now in the Vinyl Junkie journey?
It feels like I have pretty much come full circle and now I’m back to where it all started for me in the early 90’s. There’s so much good music coming out now that is reminiscent of those times, be it Jungle or Hardcore or whatever. Big name D&B artists making Oldskool again. It really is quite inspiring. There’s so many people involved. It really feels like a movement!
You must have some great stories from the Bristol hey-days, anything you can share with us?
Oh yes I could tell you some stories. But most of them involve stuff that I shouldn’t really talk about or that would embarrass somebody haha. So I think I’m going to have to pass on this one.
What are your top 3 tracks of all time?
It’s tough to narrow it down to just 3 but here’s the first 3 that popped into my mind.
Dance Conspiracy – Dub War
DJ Crystl – Let It Roll
Danny Breaks – Droppin’ Science 1
As this is an interview for DMC World Magazine, what are your own memories from the DMC World Championships?
I think it was about 1990 that a mate of mine, a guy called DJ Perks showed me some clips he had recorded off the TV of Cash Money when he won it which totally blew me away. I’d not seen cutting and scratching like that before. And also the Cutmaster Swift one from the following year which was pretty cool as well… except for that dance he does haha. Nah seriously, both of them were amazing and really inspired me. I was gobsmacked to be honest. It wasn’t long after that I started buying records and learning to mix… I never did master the scratching thing though… but Perks was pretty good…