Simon Hawemann plays guitar in the Tampa-based metal act, Nightmarer. It's a fitting name for the band's dizzying death metal assault that leaves you with a lingering sense of uneasiness. Even if you aren't familiar with Nightmarer yet, some of you vinyl hunters might know Hawenann from his Instagram page where he posts as simonxsludge. The page is packed with tons of metal and hardcore goodies, as well as images of guitars that will make you green with envy.
Join me in welcoming Simon to the Record Collector series.
When did you start collecting records?
I'm not sure, to be quite honest. I'm going to say it's been over 10 years for sure, at least when it comes to collecting metal, hardcore, and extreme music records.
My uncle gave me a record player and some classics when I was 14. Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones... you name it. He is definitely the one who turned me on to vinyl. Believe it or not, he has an entire apartment just for his record collection, right next to the apartment he lives in with his family. His collection holds north of 10,000 records, but he doesn't know the exact number.
My collection is a little more humble than his, but I also have a dedicated vinyl room in our house.
Where do you usually find your records?
As much as I like to go to small independent record stores, I buy the majority online. The convenience of it obviously plays a role, but if you want a limited pressing, you pretty much have to pre-order through the labels. I stay on top of things by signing up for label newsletters and following record stores and labels on Facebook, Instagram and so on.
What is the most you've paid for a single record, what was it, and how did you obtain it?
I think the most expensive single release I ever purchased was the red promo pressing of White Pony by the Deftones. I lived in Germany at the time and I got it off of eBay from a US store... maybe it was Amoeba, but I couldn't say for sure. It cost $200 at the time, but I've seen them go for up to $400, so I guess it could have been worse.
Of all the records you own, which one is your most cherished, and why?
That is a tough question! I'm gonna go with my two copies of Solace by Ion Dissonance. It's probably my favorite record and the vinyl is extremely hard to come by. Apart from the fact that there are three different colors, there is no pressing info whatsoever and they rarely ever go up for sale.
About two years after it was released, I saw a splatter copy at Green Hell Records in Münster, Germany. I was on tour and broke at the time, so I couldn't take it home. It took me years to find another copy. A friend of mine actually found it for sale on the most random and borderline sketchy website, without any color information, but I didn't care - I just finally wanted to own it and pulled the trigger. It arrived sealed and I was so stoked to find the splatter copy inside of the sleeve.
Years later I stumbled over a really grainy photo of a silver copy of the album on Instagram. I didn't even know it existed and there was no entry on Discogs for it at the time. I talked the guy into selling it to me over an entire year, hahaha... he finally gave in and even gave me a solid deal on it. Maybe one day I'll get a black copy, but even those are going for pretty ridiculous prices, so probably not.
What gets on your nerves about the current record collecting scene?
Flippers. Record Store Day is obviously famous for those. People are so greedy now, they list their RSD purchases on eBay from the seats of their cars, for 5 or sometimes 10 times the value. These motherfuckers can't even wait to get home to rip you off. The same goes for lots of pre-ordered, more limited metal releases. Once a pre-order is sold out, the listings pop up on eBay for ridiculous amounts, months before the records even ship. It just takes some of the fun out of it.
I also remember the days when Discogs was a place where you would get stuff you couldn't find anywhere else - and the prices were reasonable. Now it's just crazy and even the most fringe microscene release often goes for $100 and more once it's sold out. So you have to stay on top of things, or just get the not so limited variants. That's always a solution, obviously.
What are some records that you've had a hard time tracking down?
Not that many, to be honest. Most of the stuff I always wanted has either been reissued in the meantime, or I ended up finding a copy for a reasonable price. I'm past the point where I'm willing to spend too much on a record, so if I have to, I'll wait. Sometimes a record you've had on your Discogs wantlist for something like seven years just pops up for cheap and you're the lucky one to grab it.
One record that's definitely been on my wantlist for a very long time is Death Alley by Zeke, but whenever copies are for sale, they go for about $75. For a punk rock record... let that sink in. That's not a very punk rock kinda price now, is it?! Maybe I'll get one for $30, seven years from now [laughs].
Follow Simon on Instagram for killer photos vinyl and sexy guitars.