Record Collectors

Record Collector: Christian Molenaar (Those Darn Gnomes)

Christian Molenaar is a member of San Diego noise merchants Those Darn Gnomes. Check out their music here, and see how truly twisted music can get. When he's not destroying his ear drums with Those Darn Gnomes, Molenaar spends a lot of free time looking for records. That's why it shouldn't come as a surprise to have him join our Record Collector club.

When did you start collecting records?

I found a big stack of my parents' old records in the garage when I was 13 or so. After going deep on those I started to buy my own whenever I was at Goodwill or wherever and from then on I just had the bug!

Where do you usually find your records?

I'm fortunate enough to have a couple cool record stores near me where I can hang out - shoutouts to Record City, M-Theory, and Taang for always having some weird shit around! Taang especially gets some interesting stuff, because they sell actual, literal garbage in the form of broken CDs and cases, old Windows 95 software, shitty radio promos, and whatever other crap was pressed and forgotten about. I spend a lot of time at the swap meet too, which will have some unexpectedly great stuff, like this guy I found a couple weeks ago. I also use Discogs occasionally when I've got something specific I'm looking for but I've cut down on that habit quite a bit. It's easy to find cool stuff and burn through money rill quick.


HBD Russell!

A post shared by Christian Molenaar (@cdmolenaar) on

What is the most you ever paid for a record, what was it, and how did you obtain it?

I don't remember how much it was exactly, but I think the most expensive record I ever bought was Kayo Dot's Hubardo, though it was part of a preorder bundle so the price of the record itself was just one part. The Flenser just reissued that album but I'm still stoked to have the first edition. I am unbelievably stingy though, so I'm not usually one to drop bands on records except in bulk.

Of all the records you own, which one is your most prized?

My most prized records would probably be my copies of Fragile by Yes and Purple Rain by Prince. Both are original pressings and hardly in great condition but that fantastic Roger Dean artwork on Fragile still looks gorgeous. Musically, both albums mean a whole lot to me and were sort of guiding lights while writing our last album.  

Is there anything about the current record collector scene that bugs you?

The resurgence in vinyl that's occurred over the last few years is by and large a great thing and has done a lot to revitalize the format, making it once again a viable format on which artists and labels can release music. That said, actually trying to get vinyl pressed is a nightmare thanks to events like Record Store Day and the apparent need for every terrible piece of media released in the last 30 years to have its own associated picture disc. Not every Stacey Dash movie needs its soundtrack reissued, people!

On a philosophical level I find the need for physical media objectionable as a pure expression of wastefulness and materialism (to say nothing of how it fits in with the commodification of art as a mass-produced object) but of course I then go out and buy 20 random chunks of vinyl [laughs]. I guess I just wish there was less stuff being produced that was just going to sit in a warehouse until the day it's sent to the landfill. We have a song about that! 

What are some records that you've been on the hunt for but can't track down?

I've always wanted to own Kayo Dot's Choirs of the Eye but it's never been pressed... until now! I preordered as soon as I was able though I missed the special edition. I'm stoked though; that's my favorite album of all time aside from King Crimson's Red and I'm really happy I'll finally be able to own it. I'd also love to get Shudder to Think's Pony Express Record on vinyl (already got the CD a while back courtesy of Portland's excellent Everyday Music) but that's a little rich for my blood.


Follow Christian on Instagram, and check out more of Those Darn Gnomes' music on their Bandcamp page.

Tagged: record collector