Diggers Directory: Ian Pooley

Often, record collectors can get swept up in their most recent acquisitions; the online order that just showed up in the mail, the handful of finds from a fair, or unpacking a full bag from a jaunt overseas. But it’s also a lifelong passion that builds up a personal archive, which can be a deep source for both musical and personal retrospection. 

Ian Pooley is a legend, with a record collection to match; one of the early proponents of Hausmusik in Germany, with a career stretching three decades. In recent years, he’s resettled in his hometown of Mainz, revamping his studio and getting reacquainted with his record collection. For his Diggers Directory mix, he dug heavily into house from the early-to-mid ‘90s, a period that coincided with his first few years as a producer: the teenage collaborations with DJ Tonka, as well as his first solo records on Force Inc., classic deepness like Louie Vega’s “Sole Fusion” alias and D’Pac rubs up alongside Pooley’s own productions in this 90-minute masterclass.

Reading our interview, it’s not surprising that early encounters with Kraftwerk and an adolescent obsession with Yello laid the bedrock for a lifelong fascination with electronic music, as he reminisces on early purchases and praises the serendipity that comes from going through your record collection and rediscovering something you already own!

Ian Pooley’s Studio A Pt 2 is out now on Rekids.

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?

My Mum always had a quite eclectic taste of music. Everything from Classical to Rock and Electronic. I particularly remember a Beach Boys Instrumentals album and two Kraftwerk records. I remember listening to ‘Trans Europe Express’ when I was 7 or 8 years old all the time.

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?

I was so young, 11 years old, I really can’t remember why. I loved being at record stores that’s for sure. My first real obsession was to own everything by Yello. Every US or UK import, every Special Edition.

Where do you store your records and how do you file them?

Some here in my apartment and some downstairs in the basement. There’s no one way for me to file them. Sometimes by city, for example Detroit. Sometimes a whole section for an artist, for example Chez Damier or Masters at work. Some by genre, I have a big Brazil, 60s electronic or late 80s Acid House collection.

What are your favourite spots to go digging and why?

I have too many records at the moment so i’m not alllowing myself to go digging. I’m buying a few things of Discogs. Records I can’t find anymore or they’re in bad shape after decades of playing out.

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?   

Wah Wah Discos in Barcelona was always an experience! Vinyl Junkies in SohoFat Cat in Covent Garden.

Is there a record (or records), that has continued to be elusive over the years?

UR presents Galaxy 2 Galaxy – A Hitech Jazz Compilation. I have this record but I can’t find it anywhere! I’ve looked everywhere, a total mystery to me.

Do you prefer record shopping as a solitary process or with friends to nerd out with and search for strange sounds together? If the latter, who do you like to go digging with?


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?

Not really, I just go with the flow of the store.

How big a role does album artwork play in your digging?

A lot, and credits.

Could you tell us a bit about the mix you’ve done for us?

It’s a collection of mid 90s House and some newer Pooley tracks.

Any standouts in the mix you’d like to mention?

The longer version of Deep Dish – Mohammed is Jesus (In Dub). I’m so happy I rediscovered it. It was in a completely wrong section of my shelve, I knew in the back of my head that it existed somewhere in my house.

Ian Pooley’s Studio A Pt 2 is out now on Rekids.

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