PIP SORET – A Dive…
Previous last year we did a few "record collection interviews" with selected people from the international metal press. The interview series went very well and we decided to continue with this, though with another group of people. So, here we are, this time digging in the collections to the people behind the record labels. We started with Haavard Holm from Aftermath Records and continues with Pip Soret, who is in charge of Release Records in Europe.
Are you a vinyl freak or more of the modern CD type?
I’m very much into vinyl. I still love CDs though. As convenient as MP3s may be, I don’t think they’ll ever satisfy the need to hold and have something tangible from your favorite artists.
Do you have a record player? If so – do you use it?
Well, I have multiple record players. Unfortunately, since I moved to the NL about a year ago, I haven’t yet bought a European one. All of my record players are sitting in my mom’s basement back home in Philadelphia. I just haven’t gotten around to buying one here in the NL yet. It just pisses me off to no end that none of my other 3 record players, 2 of which I spent a ton of money on, will not work here because of voltage changes.
Do you remember the very first record you bought?
As a teenager in the early 90s, I bought CDs first, since my mom was into vinyl and you know how what your parents think is cool, you automatically reject as a teenager. My first CD was Black Sabbath’s ‘We Sold Our Souls for Rock n Roll’ (a best of collection). I then went backwards and have been collecting vinyl for about 15 years. The first vinyl I got was a Depeche Mode vinyl. I think it was ‘Black Celebration’ or ‘Some Great Reward.’
What is the rarest album you’ve got?
I don’t want to count any of the Relapse clear vinyl albums in this as that’s cheating. Aside from those, I have a lot long sought after first presses of records like the Iron City press of Neurosis’ ‘Through Silver in Blood’ and the Escape Artist 1st press of Isis’ ‘Oceanic’ on clear.
Does Pip’s record collection consist of metal only? What else can one find that Pip highly appreciates?
No way, there is WAYYY too much cool music out there to just listen to metal. Granted, I love metal as do all of my fellow Relapse employees, but like them, I have a wide spectrum of interests. Aside from metal, my collection ranges from classical music (Smetana is my favorite), to synth-heavy bands like Kraftwerk and Devo, to good, early dancehall dub like King Tubby and Max Romeo, with bands great like The Black Heart Procession and The Gun Club thrown in for good measure.
How do you preserve your collection? Is it categorized or is it just helter skelter?
I have too many records to just have them laying around helter skelter. I have them alphabetized by band and then by album. In addition, I have an extensive excel file with them all as I use that to try to avoid the occasional accidental repurchase.
In advance of this interview I received information that Godflesh “Streetcleaner” and The Cure “Pornography” are your all-time favorite albums. Let’s start with the older of those two; The Cure and their fourth full length from 1982, “Pornography”. When did you first discover this album and what was your relationship with The Cure before you heard the album for the first time?
Prior to hearing ‘Pornography,’ I had only heard the pop songs The Cure wrote, which I thought, while well played, were a bit too poppy for my tastes. When I was 16 or so, I was at a garage sale back home and some guy was selling his tape of ‘Pornography’ for $1. Needless to say, it opened my eyes.
Was it love at first listen or did it take some time before you found the “tone”?
Absolutely love-at-first-listen. The record is just angry, hateful, depressing, and emotionally crushing. It’s perfect.
And what about Godflesh “Streetcleaner” from 1989? This is Godflesh’s debut album and I can’t think of too many bands that did their best stuff on the debut.
I’d agree with you. Most great bands’ first records are good, but not great. This one, however, is different. It’s about as perfect as a record gets. Mean, cold, and spiteful beyond words. There haven’t been too many records in any genre that have the sheer level of emotion that this album has.
When did this “love affair” happen?
Much like ‘Pornography,’ this was a record that I got when I was also around 16. It’s been 15 years and I still listen to it almost weekly.
What is it with these albums that make them so good?
The first thing you notice about both albums is how absolutely real and authentic they feel. There is just such anger and power behind both albums, but it manifests in each band in remarkably different ways.
These two albums are quite different in style.
Yes, they are on first listen. However, the sheer level of despondancy, vitriol, and spite is very similar in each record. They are both mean, cold albums for a mean, cold planet.
Is there any other album that has the potential to take over the place as a favorite album or is that too many memories and too much history behind the choice of these two albums?
Well, when you initially asked for my all-time favorite record, I was like ‘What? Just one? How could you do that to me?’ There are a lot of albums that I absolutely adore like diSEMBOWELMENT’S ‘Transcendence into the Peripheral,’ Depeche Mode’s ‘Black Celebration,’ Woven Hand’s ‘s/t’ album, Puissance’s ‘Total Cleansing,’ Sisters of Mercy’s ‘First, Last, and Always,’ Dead Can Dance’s ‘Spleen and Ideal,’ The Dwarves’ ‘Blood, Guts, and Pussy,’ Only Living Witness’ ‘Prone Mortal Form,’ Queensryche’s ‘Operation Mindcrime,’ Handsome’s ‘s/t’ album, and Kraftwerk’s ‘The Man Machine.’
You are home after a long day’s work and want to relax with some music. What do you, most likely, want to listen to?
Given that I spend much of every day listening to metal, I generally put on things like Kraftwerk, Massive Attack, and Slowdive at night. There are only so many death-growls one can take on a daily basis.
Where do you stand when it comes to original albums? Do you want a first press or are you pleased with re-mastered re-publications?
This is a case-by-case thing for me. It often depends on how poor the quality of the original production happens to be. If all you can hear is the snare, chances are that I’ll opt for the remastered version. I value quality over rarity in that sense. If I don’t feel that the original version needs a remaster, I’ll stick with the original version.
There are split opinions about live albums. Where do you stand and what’s your ultimate live album? What’s so special about this record?
Live albums are hit-and-miss. Some are great, some not so much. My all time favorite is easily Black Sabbath’s ‘Live Evil.’ I realize this is blasphemy to some, but I’ve never really liked Ozzy’s voice on the classic Sabbath albums/songs so to get a great live album of many of the classic Sabbath tunes with Dio singing them is absolutely perfect. This record contains the heads-down best version of ‘N.I.B.,’ which is my single favorite Sabbath song.
What about the gender distribution in your collection; how is that coming along?
Sadly, most of my collection is male-based. For whatever reason, there haven’t been a ton of records that have been predominantly created by women that have really grabbed me.
The vinyl tax collector is standing at your doorstep and demanding one – 1 – vinyl record as an instant charge. What record do you choose to give away?
Probably a double of some record that I already have. I’ve rebought things a few times by accident.