Ravi Rao is based in Sydney and has an ecletic collection of records that cover a wide variety of styles, but no doubt has something you want. Ravi is my first port of call at any record fair, as he always has good records for sale at affordable prices and has already dug through every crate at the fair so can generally point you in the right direction of records to dig through. Take a peek into his collection...
Name: Ravi Rao
7”s: 400 +
12”s: Around 1350
Test Pressings: maybe five or so, only things that I have stumbled across not really anything that I've sought out.
First Born: Billy Bragg - Talking with the Taxman About Poetry. I bought a really, really shitty turntable for $10 and the guy threw the record in for free. This was at a record store in Penrith called Lazy Daze. I wound up working there when I was in year 12 and most of my earliest records originate from there.
Latest addition to the Family:
A bunch of 7"s. Nothing amazing but there was a Television Personalities 7" I was happy to find
The Pride of the Fleet: Replacements - Let it Be. I don't listen to this LP that much anymore but it is one of my all-time favourite records and it took me a surprisingly long time to find a copy.
The Hen’s Tooth: Sonic Youth – Нация Мечтателей (Russian bootleg of Daydream Nation). Not particularly valuable but more of a novelty item from when they toured Russia. The original cover is a painting of a candle by Gerhard Richter, while the Russian boot is just a photo of an actual candle. It is a total relic of western pop culture seeping into communist era Russia. I picked it up in Estonia for 5 euro.
Not Cheap: For a long time I never spent more than $45 on a record but I've started to break that rule recently. Earlier this year I picked up an Australian Shock Records copy of My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless for $120 and a copy of G.I.S.M’s Militalty Affairs Neurotic for $200. I’d been after Loveless for a long while but the G.I.S.M LP was more of an impulse purchase, which I kind of regretted, as I already had the bootleg (which still sounds great) that came out a while ago.
White Whale: No real white whale, just a constantly changing list. There are plenty of classic punk records I’d love if I came across them at a bargain price.
Why Did I Trade That: When I was 18 I picked up pretty much the entire discography by The Fall. I wasn't a fan at the time, so I sold the lot for $200. I've always regretted that.
Bargain Buy: Wire - Pink Flag. At a flea market on the outskirts of Paris in 2009. It was a deleted stock copy and I got it for 1 euro. The guy had dozens of copies. In hindsight I should have bought the lot. I also grabbed a copy of Saccharine Trust - Past Lives and a Townes Van Zandt LP off him for a euro too.
Are you a completest or collector of any band or label in particular: Not particularly, plenty of bands where I’ll buy every release but I won’t go into variations and things like that.
How do you usually acquire your records? Shops, distros, internet, fairs, trades, friends etc?
Mostly through shops (Repressed, Egg, Revolve, Vintage) but I also buy stuff at markets and fairs. Not so much online anymore as postage is killer and the exchange rate is terrible.
Most memorable experience acquiring a record?
I used to live next door to a guy who worked at the Cheapest Load of Rubbish place in St Peters. Every so often he would give me a bunch of records he found. 99% of the time it really was garbage but once he gave me a stack that had Radio Birdman, The Kinks and The Meanies.
Represses. Do they devalue collections or add to them? Do you fuss over the press of records?
I have plenty of reissues and I don't care that much. I'll always pick up the original if it is easy to find/reasonably priced but otherwise I'll buy the reissue. Sometimes reissues are great as they make a rare record readily available and far more accessible. However, a lot of things that get reissued are not warranted as they are still readily available with a little digging. Eg. Springsteen’s Born in the USA got reissued last year. If you can’t find an original of that record for $5, you’re not looking hard enough.
Autographed records. Do you own any and do you think it makes them more valuable?
I own a few but for the most part I don't care for them and definitely wouldn’t pay more for a record if it was autographed. I do have a copy of X - Aspirations though where Ian Rilen has written "I love ya lots Mandy - love Ian". I think that is kinda cool.
Guilty pleasure or secret shame: Not really sure but probably some cheesy 80’s pop. Madonna, Pet Shop Boys etc
What’s the absolute limit you would ever pay for a record? I’d prefer not to cross the $50 mark again but I’m sure I will. I guess $200.
Are record collectors all really pretentious arseholes? Probably, it really is a pretty nerdy pursuit.