Connecting sonic dots and building bridges through the medium of music is the life-force behind Marco Weibel’s movements. With a wide-ranging rhythmic palette that’s been years in the making, he’s cultivated a record collection that’s an eclectic explosion of vast sounds.
Whilst his musical taste knows no bounds and pilots his course towards a collection glistening with hidden gems, there’s something more to digging that Marco cherishes. Speaking fondly of the countless characters he’s come across whilst forming his collection, it’s clear that for him being a digger is as much about the connections forged along the way as it is unearthing golden finds.
As an integral member of Singapore-based label/collective, Darker Than Wax, Marco Weibel has found a vessel for this ethos, be that throwing parties centred around the spirit of community and co-hosting Darker Than Wax FM on The Lot Radio: a weekly staple that’s become the go to for about to blow talent and expert navigation through diverse, borderless rhythms.
Staying true to form, his Diggers Directory mix is an expansive genre-weaving journey that’s interlocked by heavy low ends. Stringing together street soul, weighty dub, broken beats, deep house cuts and more, he dexterously sails through soothing pensive beats and certified bangers. It’s served alongside an interview where he dives into the source of his assorted taste, the joys of taking the off beaten path for digging and the struggles of keeping his collection organised.
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 grew up in the CD age – although my dad had records (lots of classics from The Four Tops to Kool and The Gang, Marvin & Tammi Terrell; I still have them!!) – I was exposed to music mainly through CDs.
I have fond memories of going to massive music stores like HMV, Tower Records, That CD Shop in Singapore when I was younger. My mom went through a big downtempo / lounge phase and was constantly buying Cafe Del Mar and Buddha Bar compilations which would be played in the house. That alongside Sade, Simply Red, Mulatu etc. and my sister who’s 12 years older was listening to alot of Rap / RnB / Jazz / Soul, stuff like DMX, Angie Stone, Aretha Franklin, Missy Elliot…Growing up around those sounds definitely shaped and informed my musical journey.
A pivotal CD that comes to mind is Food For Ya Soul Vol.2 – It was a Mixtape that came out in 2007 via a swiss crew of DJs and record heads – They compiled some of the dopest soul / sample tracks and put them into a mixtape. I remember hearing cuts like ‘Deniece Williams – Free’ and ‘Rose Royce – I’m Going Down’ and that really was a moment where I wanted to seriously start collecting records and uncovering my own gems.
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 just love the tangibility of it. I’ll go through phases when I don’t buy vinyl, but I’ll be finding new music digitally. It’s harder to stumble upon an mp3 sitting deep in your harddrive though so it’s really about creating a library for yourself to pull and reference from.
Running radio weekly forces you to keep your selections sharp and fresh. With so many DJs using tools and stores like Bandcamp, Juno, etc to get new releases, I think that digging really gives you an edge over others because it is a very physical thing. If you put in the effort to get up early and to hit that flea market, or invest time into getting to know your local record clerks, you’ll definitely be rewarded. I really enjoy the activity of going to a record store as well. It’s almost like visiting a place of worship – there’s a familiarity but they’re all unique.
Where do you store your records and how do you file them?
The bulk of my records are in my living room – I’ve been playing them out quite a bit with recent trends towards vinyl-only clubs and bars so there honestly quite a mess atm.
I usually organize them by Genre / mood – but it’s hard to keep them organized between pulling things for radio and gigs weekly. I’m constantly buying new stuff as well, the new stuff mainly lives on the floor near the DJ set up in my living room. I’ve definitely run out of space on shelves too, I’m due for a purge soon.
What are your favourite spots to go digging and why?
In NYC – some of my favorite spots are Human Head, A1, Ergot Records. Their crates are always fresh and the clerks really hustle to make the bins special.
I would say my favourite spots are definitely random suburban digs – out here in the US. I was in Georgia (the state) recently and managed to hit some stores out in the suburbs that had some amazing 12″/ dollar bin finds. I’ll just put ‘vinyl records’ into google maps and see what shows up. Similar situation happened on a road trip to Asheville, North Carolina last year. Those stores that are underlooked / off the beaten path always have gems. I guess I also collect a wide range of music so there’s always something that gets me excited.
In terms of the rest of the world, Japan is nothing short of amazing, especially if you’re cool with sleeves being a little beat up etc, you can find some crazy deals because an album cover has ring wear, cut edge etc. It’s like they only want their records in Mint condition basically ha!
Singapore (where I grew up) has a few special places too – There’s Red Point Record Warehouse which will always have a special place in my heart and a seemingly endless supply of music. Their Indian + Chinese section is pretty wild!
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?
There are heaps! In NYC, I have to give a big shout out to Shawn Dub, one of the most humble + knowledgeable collectors out there. Butter from Mixtape Shop always has a great ear, I love listening to their selections on The Lot Radio. Lorenzo who runs ‘Lorenzo’s Records Wanted in London also comes to mind, a real sweet and warm person with great music taste. Maft Sai from Zudrangma in Bangkok is also one of the deepest collectors out there, I love his store and the work he’s done to bring light to traditional Thai music like Molam and Luk Thung. Roger Bong from Aloha Got Soul / AGS in Oahu for his work highlighting Hawaiian music, Caroline Cardenas at Technique Records in Miami. The list goes on…
Is there a record (or records), that has continued to be illusive over the years?
Too many of them, but i try not to get caught up as honestly the more you know, the less you know. Digging for music is endless and the hunt for something specific can always be satisfied with something unexpected.
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 digging with friends, I think it’s a cool way to learn about things you might have otherwise overlooked. I know many hardcore record collectors would rather go solo because theres a chance ya’ll might be after the same thing, but for me I enjoy the company and connecting. I’ll make it a point to share things I see that I might already have etc with friends – and vice versa, very happy to check out something a friend recommends.
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?
I usually go to the new arrivals section first just to get a feel of the store. Oftentimes I’ll spark a conversation with the staff and see what they’re excited about / ask what sorta recent collections they’ve acquired. I love looking through the dollar bin 12″ sections as well. Looking for specific labels / years / sessionist / instruments and trusting your ears / going through a fat pile of records.
How big a role does album artwork play in your digging?
I’d say that you should never judge a book by its cover, there’s heaps of music that I would have passed over just based on the art. As I mentioned earlier, I tend to read into labels / years / sessionists / instruments more than artwork.
Could you tell us a bit about the mix you’ve done for us?
It definitely has a bottom heavy / low end theme across the mix – sound bath vibes to dancefloor bliss. I wanted to ride across a wide range of sounds that reflected my current tastes so it travels from Street Soul to Downtempo, Bass music to Dub, Broken Beat to House, Electro to UKG, Jungle and beyond.
Any standouts in the mix you’d like to mention?
It’s a proper journey from start to finish and I hope you’ll take the time to plug in and listen in full! We have such short attention spans these days, I was thinking alot about the flow and ebb of this one so I like to think of it as an entire piece rather than stand out moments!
Casting the net wider now, who are some of the record collectors you most admire and are there any young collectors emerging who we should keep a close eye on?
Jin Seow, Munir, Gia Fu, Lefto, Toribio, Barbie Bertisch & Paul Raffaele (Love Injection), musclecars, Dean Chew aka Funk Bast*rd, Bruno (Private Lives), Livwutang, Pam Anantr, Errol (Touching Bass), Ge-ology, Omondas, Radio Rahill, Spurge, Ayanna Heaven, Mesmé, Theo Parrish, Josey Rebelle – They all go deep in their own ways 🙂
Anything on the horizon you’re excited about?
I’m excited about the rest of the year, have a DTW x Eto Ano party at Good Room coming up for memorial day weekend, first time in Boston in June and then for the 4th of July – heading upstate to Glen Falls House to play a weekender with Love Injection and musclecars, this is the second one and last years was nothing short of amazing, so def looking forward to that.
I have a few other mixes in the pipelines that I can’t wait for the world to hear, also will be playing in Milan for the first time in late July, still have some open dates for the EU around then so give me a shout if you enjoy the vibrations and want to make something happen!
Everis – Love Has Arrived
Miranda Sex Garden – Gush Forth My Tears
John F.M. – Alone
NUMBer – æther
log(m) & Laraaji – Daisy Dub
Cuttle – Back Jah VIP
Colourbox Featuring Lorita Grahame – Baby I Love You So
Tenderlonious – Journey To Thra
Pugilist – Sky Blue
Pink Siifu & Fly Anakin – Open Up Shop
Suba – Você Gosta
Troubleman – Change Is What We Need (Progress)
Photek – Glamourama (ft. Marie-José Jongerius)
Lolita – Livin In Shadows (Club 120 Re-Edit)
Tom Blip – Kickdrums!!!
Cousin Cockroach – This Ain’t Tom N’ Jerry
INVT – AQUAFLOR
J.T. Donaldson & Ben Hixon – Experience
French Fries – Bug Noticed
Black Rascals ft. Cassio Ware – So In Love (Shelter Mix)
Helen Sharpe – Got 2 Have Your Love (Jazz Rave Mix)
Electro Force – Getting High
T. Williams – Tell Me
K-Lone – Bad
Yo Yo Honey – Groove On (Perfecto Mix)
Kush Jones – Reaktionary
Dust-e-1 – C-Thru