For this latest installment of 360°Sound’s CD Junkies series, we interviewed Ani Kalemkerian. The 50-year-old music fan lives in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Ani owns about 250 CDs and said she’s been buying more lately now that she’s been finding so many great cheap CDs at local thrift stores. She occasionally posts her used CD and vinyl finds on her Instagram @akalemkerian.
Ani Kalemkerian: I like that I don’t have to change sides which is important if I want to lie on the couch and read a book. I can find them easily in thrift stores for $1 or $2. It’s easier to take a risk on an album that I’ve always been curious about without spending a lot of money. They also don’t take up too much space.
What are some of your favorite genres and who are some of your favorite artists?
My taste is constantly evolving. The music that I couldn’t stand listening to as a teenager, I listen to now – like Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Leonard Cohen. Growing up in the ‘80s, I loved Culture Club, Prince and Madonna. Through friends in high school, I got into British post-punk and new wave. I started buying records by The Cure, Human League, Soft Cell, Visage, The Cult, The Smiths, Bauhaus, Joy Division, Cabaret Voltaire, Magazine, the Clash, and Siouxsie and the Banshees. I still love all those bands and listen to them regularly.
At the same time, hip-hop was starting to get played on the radio. I got into Grandmaster Flash and Public Enemy. Then I started getting into reggae. Then Britpop happened and I got into Elastica, Blur, and Echobelly. I love trip hop, especially the Bristol artists. I saw Tricky four times. He’s one of my favorite artists. For me, the artist is more important than the genre. I got into house music and acid house as soon as I looked like I was old enough to get in the clubs.
I’m also really into UK jazz-funk from the late ’70s and early ’80s like the bands Freeez and Incognito. I love dub music too. The Upsetters are amazing. Seventies soul and funk is what I’ve been mostly buying lately.
Trans Europe Express Vol. 4 and the 20th Anniversary collection of Trax Records are my favorite compilations. The TEX comp came out when I started going to the first raves in Montreal in the early ‘90s. It’s when I started getting into The Orb and William Orbit. Electronic music was still underground, and we relied on printed information to find out about these artists, which is why this comp was so important. They were an expensive British import, and I didn’t buy them at the time, but I remember wanting them so badly. Five volumes were released between 1993-1996.
Each volume has 2 CDs and comes with a book with information on each artist. A few years ago, I walked into a record store and loved what they were playing, I asked what it was, and he showed me the CD. He said he didn’t know what it was and doesn’t know anything about electronic music. He was going to put it in the donation bin outside. He sold it to me for $3!
Do you prefer physical media to streaming?
I prefer having the product. I grew up holding a record in my hand and reading the lyrics while I’m listening to the record. I also like streaming a lot of radio like BBC Radio 6 and Worldwide FM, and I love listening to it so I can discover new music. I don’t like listening to playlists on Spotify, but if I’m curious about an artist or what the new Grimes album sounds like, I’ll go on Spotify, but it’s rare. I prefer listening to a knowledgeable person talking about music and putting together a curated, themed show.
What are your thoughts on the future of CD?
I feel like it’s been dying for the last 10 years. New bands are more likely to put out a record on vinyl than a CD. They’re also not including CD drives in laptops anymore, and I’m sure they’ve cut down on manufacturing CD players. There are millions of CDs that people are getting rid of all the time so it will be a slow process if it completely dies. I’ll still be at the thrift store buying them for now.