Valentina Bodini discovered her love of vinyl as a teenager; a passion that would soon consume everything she did. After moving from Italy to Berlin at the age of 18, she began collecting incessantly, and eight years down the line not much has changed – only the sheer size of her collection.
Under the guise of Budino she shares these musical discoveries with the world, be that as a resident for Discodromo and DJ Boris’ party (and label) CockTail d’Amore, where she can be found soundtracking the floor at their late home Griessmühle, or formerly as a co-founder of Oscillator, a regular party that she ran alongside friends Trent and Dama, with Beppe Loda as their resident DJ.
Her Diggers Directory mix is themed around that same subject that drives her passion for collecting records; obsession. From slow, hypnotic electronics to new wave, Italo and dreamy house, every song within the mix conjures up that feeling for Valentina, each one taking her back to the first time she heard it (then consequently played it over and over again for the following few days). This sits alongside an interview about her love of vinyl, her “best friend” Discogs and her favourite spots to dig.
DJs and producers often mention their musical education came through their family’s record collection. Was this the case for you? Can you pick out any pivotal records from your upbringing that informed your musical journey?
I wish it was but this is definitely not my story. My mum used to listen terrible (in my opinion) Italian pop music and my dad had a better taste for music but far away from being a record collector or a musician. He’d listen to The Doors, The Concert for Bangladesh, The Rolling Stones while cooking but it didn’t happen often; also some afro-cosmic tapes because when he was young he went dancing at Typhoon, the club where Beppe Loda was playing at the time, but I laughed at my dad every time because he kept saying that was club music and for me it was slow and boring and I was proud to be into bad banging stuff… damn! This was me when I was 15 years old, but a few years after I’d go to sleep listening to these tapes every night and think how great that music was!
These tapes changed the view I had for music for sure, however I don’t have particular records in mind that have informed my music journey, at least during those years.
I remember though I started to listen to Pink Floyd a lot after I started smoking weed with an old friend from my small village when I was still living there. I remember during summer we’d drive with his old car in the countryside listening to Pink Floyd and smoking. I think that was unconsciously how I got my first appreciation for psychedelic music.
People buy records for a multiple of reasons. What first drew you to collecting records and what motivates you to continue digging after all these years?
When I started buying records I didn’t know what I was doing but definitely digital music wasn’t an option. My friend Dama, since the beginning suggested that I play with records and I trusted him.
I started with four records that I bought with my first turntables. Just those for months. Then I started buying records from a German website and I lost my mind! I couldn’t stop listening to records. Unfortunately I could’t buy many because I was still a student and had no money; just sometimes I went to help my uncle at his office to have some extra money for records. Then I finally grew up and after moving to Berlin at 18 years old, being economically independent working as a waitress, I started spending all my money on records.
There is a feeling of excitement I get, when I walk home with new records or when the postman rings the doorbell and has a package with records, which is very special indeed. The fact that you can hold with your hands the music you love, that you carry around, put on a turntable and play. It is magic! Also mixing with records is very exciting and the sound of vinyl is the warmest you can find.
There are still so many records I want and I am sure with the time there will be always more! Still so much music to discover out there! This is my biggest motivation.
Where do you store your records and how do you file them?
My records sleep with me in my room. I sort by genre and a lot of them are just lying on the floor and definitely not in order however during this off-time I started to create a new system which is still under construction. It is more focussed on sorting them in a way that is more functional when I need to pick them for gigs. I don’t need to go through all my collection and the mess on the floor because there comes the point where I get lazy and I end up bringing the same records to the gigs and the rest I’ll play the recordings of my records I have on stick. Same music sure but a different feeling! Once we will go back to play in clubs I’d like to bring more records to clubs like I used to do, so I hope my new system will make it easier 😉
What are your favourite spots to go digging and why?
Second-hand shops/markets for sure! If you are lucky, you can find crazy good stuff for a cheap price. Not always, most of the time it’s just dirty hands but if it happens it is amazing!
For a few years it has been the neighbour of my hometown. He had a crazy afro-cosmic collection and I got a lot of records from him and discovered a lot of music.
In Berlin there are a lot of great shops even if after eight years here I’ve become a bit lazy because I know I can go record shopping when I want. But if I’m travelling to other cities I love going because I know that’s my only chance and I could discover something that I might not find in Berlin.
And then, my biggest friend “Discogs” which I have spent more time loosing myself in than anything else and what I love is that you have access to every music of this world! Isn’t it crazy and amazing at the same time? How can you move your ass from your chair when you know there are amazing records out there that just need to be discovered? Impossible.
Digging isn’t just about the records you find, but the people who help you find them. Who are some of the colourful characters you’ve met on your travels in record stores round the world? Any unsung heroes you’d like to shout out?
I remember a couple of record shop’s owners who gave me good records to listen and told me the story behind it. Nice stuff! One in Tel Aviv and one in Portland, unfortunately I can’t remember the names.
Then of course DJs who played at the parties I have been organising, I went record shopping with a lot of them, especially with Beppe Loda. I used to run a party in Berlin at Griessmuehle together with Trent and Dama called Oscillator, and Beppe was our resident DJ, so for few years Beppe came to Berlin every second month to play at our party and we always went record shopping all together. I have so many great memories! Beppe always suggested amazing records!
Is there a record (or records), that has continued to be elusive over the years?
There are a lot of old records that have a ridiculous price on Discogs and definitely not affordable for me. The vinyl market can be a bitch! Or records that are impossible to find because no one is selling them. If I open my Discogs “want list” I could write a very long list considering these two things but thanks to people and labels that have started to reissue more and more of these records, I could/can buy a lot of them and I am very thankful otherwise I wouldn’t have the chance to play this music.
Do you prefer record shopping as a solitary process or with friends to nerd out with and search or strange sounds together? If the latter, who do you like to go digging with?
I love going with friends. You feel a certain satisfaction when you find a record you have already and you can suggest it to your friend and firstly know the record will be in good hands and secondly that you are sure it is a good tip! I’ve also got amazing records suggested from friends.
Even if we live very far away, Ivan Berko is one of my favorite record shopping buddy! I remember this one time, we were on a trip together in Italy in my hometown during summer and we went to a political-music concert and there were few stands with records. Mostly Rock, Pop but then, in a corner, we found the perfect seller for us! So so many Italo-House records from the 90s, Italy has got a lot of stuff around this style and we were very lucky! I believe just very few people are into this style in my hometown and because of that we found so many records! Pure paradise!
Walking into a record shop can be quite a daunting experience. Do you have a digging process that helps you hone in on what you’re after?
It can be daunting and exciting at the same time. I usually feel a bit of pressure when someone is waiting the next turn to listen to records. I always try to be as fast as possible because I don’t want people waiting long and sometimes I don’t put the right attention to what I am listening and I buy stuff I don’t like. So I love empty record shops!
Anyway, my digging process depends on how big the record shop is and if is based on selling mostly new or second hand records. I went to this one record shop in Washington D.C. called “Joe’s Record Paradise” and it was just a huge basement full of records! I honestly didn’t know where to start. It opened in 1974, just imagine how many! Never seen so many records in one room. In second-hand shops like that, I go through the sections that interest me like old electronic music, soundtracks, afro, disco, funky, Italo, EBM, New wave, Techno, House.
If the record shop sells mostly new stuff, I start from the boxes on the floor, because it is – usually – where the unknown/cheap/old records are (and also all the very bad ones haha) and it feels wrong if I don’t check all of them. Then I go up and check the rest! It takes time but it is exciting!
How big a role does album artwork play in your digging?
I don’t like to judge a record from the artwork especially because I bought a lot of records in second hand places just because the artwork was amazing and the record was NOT, and also you can find something unexpectedly good or that you can edit/sample in a record with an ugly artwork. But definitely a beautiful one plays its role and it gives the first impression of what you are going to listen, even if most of the time it’s wrong.
Could you tell us a bit about the mix you’ve done for us?
First of all, thanks for asking me to contribute to the Diggers Directory series. I enjoyed going through my records and finding the ones to pick to create the vibe I had in my head and that could fit with the theme I have chosen which is “Obsession”. All the records have in common, for one reason or another, that after listening them for the first time, I’ve got obsessed. I’d just listen to the record over and over again for days! And if I listen to them today, they bring me back there and I can feel the same excitement.
I played some of my favorite peaceful electronic music such as Klaus Schulze, Jean-Michel-Jarre, interrupted by some dark-hypnotic-beats like Section25, Minister of Noise. I love weird effects, minimal sounds but also crazy drums like the track from Erotic Drum Band. I played one of my favorite Italo record from Kirlian Camera – Communicate, some disco-funky records like Mezzoforte – Funk Suite No.1 and few Italo-house like Ocean by Fidelfatti, this record touched me a lot when I listened to it the first time, and it still does.
In the mix you can hear all those different influences and all have been an obsession for me! Hope you enjoy!
Any standouts in the mix you’d like to mention?
Talking about obsession, one record I played in the mix “Lime – On The Grid (Dub Mix)” is associated to a fun moment. It was my first time in NY at my friend David’s place for an after-party. After a few hours he played this record and it blew my mind. That percussive-disco-groovy rhythm got stuck in my head since the beginning. The record is 9:30 minutes long and when it finished I asked my friend to play it again… and he did. I just couldn’t get enough of it and asked him one more time and he did. After the third time, I gave it one more try and he turned around and said: “Dear, STOP!” and we started laughing. It didn’t matter though, I kept listening to it when I went back to the flat of my other friend. It was such a special day for me and every time I play it, it brings me back to that day! The power of music!
Casting the net wider now, who are some of the record collectors you most admire and why?
There are crazy collectors out there! People who would kill their best friend if that’s the only way of getting that record! Haha I’m joking. Anyway, there are many great diggers and it is nice to see how deep can be a passion for records and music. Thinking about two friends of mine, Tom Bolas and DJ Sofa. Both of them have an insane collection with the most unknown stuff from all over the world! It is great to talk to them about music and see how passionate they are.
Are there any young collectors emerging who we should keep a close eye on?
A lot! Travelling for music makes you meet a lot of talent people around the world (also here in Berlin) and I’m happy about it because music discoveries and sharing come from crossing paths with people who have the same passion as you. For example when I played in Florence I met DJ Blasy, we could talk about all the different style of music and have something in common, amazing! He has a very good taste for music and a great collection! 😉
Anything on the horizon you’re excited about?
I am excited about a lot of things even if this time is trying to take all the excitement away. I know this will be a difficult, weird and long process but I am so excited if I think about the moment I will go to dance or play in a party again and realise that everything is over! I can’t wait to be in the middle of a dance floor and be carefree!
Anyway, going back to where we are now, I have been working on a new project for the past few months and it turned out to be one of the most exciting things I have ever done with music and it definitely gave me something nice to feel good about after the Covid situation has started. It began like a joke but it became a bigger project than I expected and put me in contact with a lot of people and friends which I had the pleasure to talk to, especially after the lockdown started. That was absolutely great! I won’t say more because nothing is official for the moment, but I’m really looking forward to it!
Thanks for reading/listening 😉