Shawn Mason Shawn Mason from Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, UK is an active music dealer at record fairs and on ebay (metalcollector2013). He has produced two printed guides on collecting Metal vinyl named "Metal Collector” one focusing on Bathory and the other on the British Extreme Metal scene. Both guides are printed in 100 numbered copies each and are highly recommended! Check them out on his ebay page. At the time of the interview (mid July 2014) Shawn is 44 years old, married to Suzanne with 3 children.

Now that I think of it, since most of my vinyls were bought at record fairs in the UK, Shawn I might have bought some from you back in the mid-late 1990s :)

When did you realize that you are becoming a collector of Metal CDs, LPs and stuff?

Probably only a few years ago. Back in the mid to late 80s I used to make regular trips to the local record stores in Norwich for my weekly "fix”. Then over the course of the following years one way or another I lost most of those original copies. I then began rebuying those I had lost, although the increase in prices was somewhat notable, I felt the need to buy and that need just kept growing!!

Right now how many items you own and in what formats?

My collection consists of approx. 2000 vinyls and my main focus is LP’s which makes up 95% of my collection. I also have over 1000 CD’s.

Shawn MasonWhat exactly you collect?

My vinyl collection is split into 3 parts. I am a Bathory completest so collect everything by the band and have, at latest count, 131 records by them. The second part, and by far biggest part of my collection, is my LP/12” inch collection which currently stands at around 1750 records. Every record in this part is a pre 1995 original encompassing all genres of extreme Metal but mainly focusing on Thrash, Death and the first wave of Black Metal. The third and smallest part of my collection is my NWOBHM 7” singles of which I only have approx. 100 but then this is also the most neglected part of my collection! I would not consider myself a CD collector, even though I have well over 1000, these are a random assortment which I see as a more convenient way of playing music!

Is it easy for you to organize and store your collection? How is it organized?

I take great pride in my collection. It is stored in alphabetical order on shelving units in my lair!

Do you keep a file or an index of your items? In what format?

Yes I maintain very accurate alphabetical listings on my spreadsheets using Microsoft Excel.

Shawn Mason's collectionWhat was the first record you bought?

The very first record I bought was the self titled debut album by Bathory back in 1984. I recall reading a review of the album, in Kerrang! Magazine, in which it got badly slagged off and thought I need to get a copy of that! That was my proper introduction to extreme Metal and remains to this day my favourite album!

Where do you shop for music?

I prefer to buy music from shops or record fairs then I do online as I enjoy the experience of face to face buying/selling much more. Wherever I visit in the UK I make sure to check out the local record shops and have found many good purchases this way. Like so many others my main source online is on ebay. I advertise for Metal collections, as part of my business, in Record Collector magazine and have been very lucky to purchase some really good collections over the years.

Do you also collect items from artists that you might not like? If so, why?

Yes there are bands I don’t like but I have their records in my collection, the reason being because if they were pre 1995 and extreme metal then they have a rightful place! And just because I don’t like them now who’s to say in 5 years time I won’t change my opinion on them?

Do you also download music? Or you keep it only physical?

I have never downloaded a single song, I have no interest in downloading music whatsoever!

Shawn Mason's collectionDo you have a specific goal when it comes to collecting? And why the 1995 cut-off date?

I got to the stage a couple of years back when I thought my goal should be to collect every Thrash Metal album released prior to 1995. I suppose that goal still exists but I don’t focus on just Thrash these days. I grew up enjoying Thrash more than any other genre so I suppose that’s why I picked that to collect but I have learnt to appreciate Death and Doom Metal a lot more but right now I think I’m enjoying exploring the first wave of Black Metal more than anything. As for my 1995 cut-off I don’t really know how to explain that one other than I enjoy music prior to that more than anything else.

Since you are dealing with music at a professional level, do you have any regrets for an item you sold that you shouldn’t?

I have one huge regret when it comes to selling a record! A few years ago now I bought a 7” single from a charity shop near where I live, my wife persuaded me to part with £3 for it, at the time I’d never heard of the band and although I liked the record I thought it might be rare so would see how it went on ebay. I never expected it to go for over £400 but to this day I still regret selling it and learned a valuable lesson from that experience, the record by the way was "The Mugger” by Shock Treatment, you may have heard of it!?

Shawn Mason's Bathory collectionDid you ever bought an item you already had because you couldn’t remember if you got it or not?

Always! Although I have an excellent knowledge of what is in my collection I am always buying records I already own! This is because I constantly replace records in my collection with better quality versions and then as I’m a dealer as well as a collector I sell on the copy I no longer require. I’ve also bought lots of records just because they contain an insert or poster that I’m missing from my own copy, an ideal example of this was "Kings Of Metal” by Manowar. This came with a poster, and although I must have had 10 – 15 copies of this record pass through my hands I’ve never had one with a poster until I recently found a copy at a record fair, it made my day!

What are the most valuable items in your collection?

Wow that’s a tricky question! In terms of value I suppose it would be Bathory’s yellow goat original or maybe my Posercorpse original of Mayhem’s "Deathcrush”. Depends on what you term valuable though as I would say the Quorthon signed Bathory records I own hold far more value from a personal point of view.

Do you also have a want-list?

In my mind I do but not on paper! I have tried on a few occasions to construct a want list but I have always found it impossible! Because I collect all elements of extreme metal music pre 1995 I am always discovering new bands, even today, so why restrict what I am looking for to a want list?

Shawn Mason's Bathory collectionDo you have family and kids? Are they allowed to approach your collection?

Yes been married to my wife Suzanne for over 22 years and have 3 children, one of whom recently left home to move into her own house, one is away at university which leaves my youngest just living at home. They would be allowed to approach my vinyl, as long as I was supervising, if they wished but it’s not their thing!

Remember the days before the internet? I am sure you must have been kind of more thrilled when discovering new music… and what a chase was to find more information about records no one else ever heard of….

I grew up in a small village in the deepest depths of Norfolk so didn’t have much contact with the outside world, that was during the early to mid 80s! A couple of my friends were big Motorhead fans but I suppose my life changed when I decided to explore that first Bathory record!

What would you like to happen to your collection when you will leave this world?

I’m sure my family will put it all on ebay and reap the rewards! It’s kind of satisfying in a way knowing that they will benefit from it when I am gone. As long as they remember to play Bathory’s "Hammerheart” as I am being burnt to a crisp!

Any last words?

Metal music, and in particular extreme Metal, has been my life in musical terms and has played a massive part in it. Collecting vinyl has enhanced the whole experience and the thrill of the chase still excites me today. I am a collector first and a dealer second and my collection gets used virtually every day, after all music is there to be enjoyed and enjoy it I shall!