Death by Vinyl- A visit with DJ Rob Metal
When I first started going to metal shows in San Francisco regularly, I began to notice the name DJ Rob Metal on all the flyers. At first I didn’t think it was important to list who was DJing at a metal show. I was more interested in the bands playing than the music in between. The more shows I attended, however, the more I noticed how much more the overall experience of going to a show could be improved by the music between bands. If the choice of house music was left to the venue or, worst case scenario, a jukebox, the time between setups could really drag on. Over the past year or so I began to appreciate that someone was there to play Enslaved or Deathspell Omega along with time honored classics. I met Rob recently at a Miasmal show, and asked if I could photograph his vinyl collection. He was kind enough to let me into his lair. Vinyl junkies and record collectors take note. Photos of his record collection and a few gems after the jump.
Rob has been collecting records for decades. He has bought and traded his way to a massive library of vinyl that takes up an entire wall of his apartment. Two smaller yet no less impressive shelves hold his tapes and 7 inches. A true collector and audiophile, Rob simply busy everything he likes on vinyl. He’s not so concerned about owning rare or limited records (though he has plenty), but rather just owning the object and relishing the process of obtaining and listening to them.
When I showed up at Rob’s house, he was in the middle of shifting. Having worked at a music store, I knew that meant. When you get something new and no longer have room for it, you have to shift all the other product over to make it fit. Rob had just got some new pieces of vinyl and was putting them in their right place, in alphabetical order. He obtained his massive shelves from a defunct record store.
Rob first put his impressive collection to use about ten years ago when he was asked if he’d like to try DJing. He eventually got the hang of it and began to create playlists and make mental notes when listening to music of songs that would flow together due to a similar tempo or vibe. One thing I really appreciated was hearing about how much thought and research he puts into crafting his DJ sets. He has the task of DJing a show in July which includes Brooklyn black metal whipping boys Liturgy, dark folk goddess Chelsea Wolfe and Common Eider, King Eider. He listened to all three acts to find their underlying influences so he can already pick out records that will compliment all three artists.
This record collection is so expansive and contains so many rare and sought-after items, that he’s been accused of lying about it on the message board Earth Dog Lounge. Check out some of Rob’s personal favorites that he pulled out to show me while shifting.
I would like to thank DJ Rob Metal for letting me into his home for a chance to photograph this monster. It was a pleasure talking to him and hearing about his wealth of knowledge of all things metal. DJ Rob Metal can be found behind the turntable at various venues around the Bay.