In the summer of 1983 my older brother came back from a trip to relatives in England. With him he brought 20 singles which changed my life and is the reason why I now run the Record Mania website/shop. Until then my life had been strictly about sports, football and basketball but the music he played made an enormous impression and after that my main focus was music.
I began saving money in all possible ways and started going to record shops. First in my hometown Uppsala but after a while trips to Stockholm where I discovered great shops like Jack Box and Record Hunter (in those days specialized in black music). Among the 45's my brother brought back was James Brown's "Bring it on" and George Clinton's "Atomic dog". I soon learned that those artists were famous and had done loads of stuff. After that I got into the JB's, Funkadelic, Parliament etc.
I befriended people with their base in hip hop like DJ Delite, Mad Mats and Will-Rock. Through them I heard artists like Rakim, Run DMC and more, and via their influence I started DJing myself and doing clubs in 1989.
Uppsala had a local record shop selling mainly soul called Black Wax. They had like 30-40 copies of the Ramp album (for 76 SEK each) I saw English dealers was charging 25 GBP for. So I started buying copies of that and many other records they had and traded them with English dealers who had records that I wanted. I bought the Goldmine magazine and ordered lists from Soul-Utions, Soul Bowl, Craig Moerer, Backatcha, Soul Providers, Ian Clark (what a dealer and what a gentleman!), Pete Wolfman Chavasse, Hot Biscuit, Mark Wimmers and many more. Through those lists and via friends and magazines my knowledge grew and I began buying stock to start my own business. I travelled to record fairs, record shops and flea markets as far away as I could without a driving license and hardly any budget. I went on trips to Finland and Denmark which both were good for records.
My big break came unexpected in the small town Katrineholm which I was visiting for family business, killing some time before the train came. I saw a sign saying "LP Skivor 1 krona, billigast i Sverige!" (translated - LPs 1 SEK each, cheapest price in Sweden! 1 SEK = 0.14 USD). I found over 700 records, 90% was sealed stock including some rare ones like quantities of Ron Henderson "Soul junction", Alice Clarke, Leroy Hutson "Hutson" (back then one of the most sought after soul albums) and many more. I missed the train and my parents had to come down with their car three times to drive back all the records. Now I had enough stock to do my own business.
In 1996 I started doing paper lists. The first one was only sent to 30 people but after a while I had 200-300 customers and business was doing fine. After a couple of years my more technically gifted friends told me to get a website and a database gathering the info. So around 1998 or 1999 I set up a very basic website. In 2001 I set up the small store to be an alternative to the website and after a while I started hiring people to be able to free up time to find enough stock. Having your own business can be very stressful and frustrating sometimes but I must say that most of the time I sit here and enjoy listening to fantastic music with people I like. I must say that I'm very happy that I chose to make a business out of my hobby!