Dr Diggns – Q&A

Thank you for being the second guest on the 45 Day Radio show. 

Christos, thank you for having me on Forty Five Day. Great to connect from way down under!

When and why did you set up Dr Diggns and what do you specialise in?

Dr Diggns was originally the name of a character that I drew back in 2003 while living in Japan where I started my Diggn journey. Way back then I had dreams of forming a brand around the name. Well, life happened, and it wasn’t until January 2019 when I brought Dr Diggns back to life as a brand, DrDiggns.com.au.

I started Dr Diggns to reconnect with my passion for Vinyl and Art after working in corporate businesses and travelling the world for many years. I felt lost and needed to build something for me that I was passionate about.

Dr Diggns specialises in selling Funk, Soul, Disco, Reggae and Hip hop Vinyl. You can also find original sample source, breaks, DJ edits and new independent releases. I also create handmade 45 adapters as well as artwork and designs for Diggn clothing and accessories.

Over the years you must have come across some very interesting Vinyl. What is the rarest record that has come through your hands and also what is the strangest? 
I’ve dug so many records not listed on the market. It’s hard to put a value on “rare”. To pick one that I still have that is not listed anywhere would be Stevie Wonder, 6 Melodias, 33rpm mini L.P (7″). Promotional record printed in Mexico with a 12 x 7″ hardcover (Catalogue no. MTAM-008). 

The strangest: To take you back to Japan 2004, I purchased a 12″ L.P. cover sized giant matchbox for $10AUD. It caught my attention because it had printed on the front, The Beatles, Yesterday and Today original “Butchers” cover. I was like… WTF only in Japan right!? It was a promotional tool created for a Tokyo record store in the late 70’s called, Get Back Records (hence the Beatles theme). I held onto it for 14 years, eventually deciding to send it to a U.K Beatles auction house where it sold for £500.

Lockdown has been very difficult for independent businesses. How have you dealt with the restrictions and how do you compete with sites like Discogs? 
Dr Diggns is only online and luckily throughout the pandemic, Australian postal services have remained open. So aside from taking hygiene precautions and social distancing, I have been ticking along. I do my best to connect with my customer base and listen to what’s up. Some told me straight up “I’m broke” and that’s understandable. It’s a sensitive time right now so I feel a community and personal approach to business is always nice. Particularly when you are a small business. 

How do I compete with Discogs? I don’t. But what I do is price my Vinyl lower than the Discogs market as much as possible! I also take photos of every used Vinyl I stock, so you can see images of the condition and what you are buying. This reduces the unknown questions some may have around the grading of a record when buying compared to Discogs. You can also directly message me from my site and chat to me with ease. My aim is to build a unique brand, not just to be a seller with a name.

Running my independent webstore allows me to create my brand image, clothing and designs in my own unique way.

You are based in Australia and stock Vinyl from local producers and bands. Which Oz artists should we check out and why? 
Yes. I am based in Melbourne Australia and ship worldwide. My favourite Oz artists right now are Choi Productions and his instrumental funk band The Traffic because of his excellent drumming and production skills.

Remi, for this smooth raps and Sensible J on production for great Hip hop beats.

DJ Bacon with his endless hours of old skool edits. You can hear those artists on my 45 mix!

You have recently picked up the pen and produced some music related artwork. Can you tell us about how this has helped you through lockdown and your techniques? 
Art has been a therapy for me for many years. I continually bounce between music and art. My recent drawing was influenced by old vintage poster art. It really took me back in time to when there were no TVs, just a 78 playing from the gramophone. It features a couple sitting in a room listening to music. It captures that moment where you find yourself looking into space and feeling the healing vibrations of the music. Then as the record plays out it’s that, ‘Ahhh’ soul searching moment and hence “Find Your Soul” is written across the poster. I was going for a vintage look. It was a good week of drawing by hand, first in pencil then ink and then tea and coffee to finish the tones. It helped me reflect and take some quiet time over the lockdown period and I hope others can look at it and catch some feels too. 

Thank you Christos

James aka Dr Diggns