For this latest installment of our CD collector series CD Junkies, 360°Sound spoke with metalhead Andy Murray. Murray, 30, lives in Wirral, England, which is right across the River Mersey from Liverpool. He has been seriously collecting CDs for about 15 years and currently has approximately 1,200 titles in his collection. Murray regularly posts photos of his CDs and records on his Instagram @thecourtsofchaos.
360°: What do you love about CDs?
Andy Murray: CDs are very flexible to me with playing them through audio devices as well as uploading onto my hard drives to be able to play any of my music on the laptop or even transferred over to my phone for portable listening. Spotify doesn’t quite cover every single song out there. I also like the cases to them. It looks great on shelves to see all the spine labels and makes them easy to browse through.
I was drawn to metal with its passionate energy as well as adrenaline feel to the intensity of the music. To me, heavy metal is like the biggest rollercoaster in the theme park. I want to go for the biggest thrills, which is how I see my love for metal best. I also love its diversity with many subgenres and numerous hybrids of the various forms of metal.
I have a broad interest in various subgenres of metal, so I try not to pick favorites with them. Whether it’s thrash, black, death, power, doom, prog, folk, and anything else, there’s an incredible amount to discover from each and every subgenre of metal. I’ve even gone beyond to find anything from metal that goes out of the ordinary and mixes other styles of music.
Some of my favorites are Blind Guardian, Helloween, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Dream Theater, Megadeth, and Slough Feg. These are some of the bands that have stuck to me the best, that I’ve played more than anyone else. They are most deserving of expanding my collection as much as possible.
What are some of your all-time favorite metal albums that you own on CD?
My top five are:
1) Helloween – Keeper of the Seven Keys (both parts)
2) Slough Feg – Traveller
3) Candlemass – Epicus Doomicus Metallicus
4) Iron Maiden – Powerslave
5) Judas Priest – Painkiller
Where do you buy CDs? Online? Record stores? What are some of your favorite music retailers?
I like to buy from a bit of both. Online shopping definitely helps for anything that might be too obscure to find in high street stores or can only be found from a seller outside of my country, but I always like to go to record shops to show support to smaller businesses and to have the adventurous feeling from discovering what they have in store. With a lot of secondhand records for sale, you never know what to expect.
It’s hard to pick a favorite music retailer, but if there’s one shoutout that’s a must, it’s Skeleton Records in Birkenhead. It’s my local record store, and I always find something in there. They have such a huge stock that it takes me at least an hour every time I make a visit. And even then, it’s not enough time for thorough browsing in there. It was also the place that kick-started my vinyl collecting last year after the shops reopened from the first lockdown. The shop’s been going strong for nearly 50 years now.
Do you plan to continue adding to your CD collection? What are some CDs that are at the top of your want list?
I want to keep my music collecting going with both CDs and vinyl. I’ve had more to spend on music over the last 12 months due to the circumstances with COVID-19 disrupting an endless amount of plans, but one thing that’s definitely kept me going during all the times staying at home is the never-ending supply of music to listen to, both putting on what I already have as well as new purchases. Once normality returns, I will be slowing down on buying music, but I’ll make an aim to pick up a few albums every month, whether it’s any new releases I’m interested in or it’s something I’ve missed out on.
I’ve got plenty to hunt down on my wish list. As for anything that’s high on the list, I’m wanting to expand on gothic rock and post-punk music. I hardly have anything from them at all, and I know there’s a whole lot of them from the late ‘70s and into the ‘80s. Additionally, I want to hunt down more soundtracks on CD, particularly those of video games, but a lot of them do require you to spend a fair bit, so it’s not often I’ll get to acquire those.
What do you think about the future of CDs? Do you think CDs could have a resurgence like vinyl?
There are definitely no signs of CDs dying out anytime soon with the demand for physical music still going strong. It’s the same as how consumers still want to have hard copies of new video games, or Blu-rays from the latest films and TV shows. There may be a higher availability with all the online services nowadays, but there’s still a great demand for anything to have physically.
We may be living in the Spotify and Amazon age, but it’s clear as day for many listeners, putting songs on any streaming service just doesn’t do the same justice as putting them on a CD, vinyl, or cassettes. Heck, even cassettes are working their way back up, so CDs will certainly be in good hands to the consumers for many years to come.
To see more from Murray’s metal collection, follow him on Instagram @thecourtsofchaos.