He’s Bringing Records Back

Digging into scenester Sancho Van Ryan’s autographed vinyl collection

Everyone in the Las Vegas nightlife industry loves electronic dance music. Or at least they pretend to, now that it’s seemingly everywhere. Still, it isn’t often that you see one of those movers and shakers carrying around a vinyl electronic-dance-music record in hopes that the superstar DJ will add an autograph to the label. But scene staple Sancho Van Ryan, who just launched VivaVegas.tv in November, has a love of EDM going back more than 15 years—and a vinyl collection to prove it.

“In 1996 I was at a missionary kids’ summer camp in Queensland, Australia,” says Van Ryan (he was born in India, where his family did volunteer work before moving to Australia at age 7). “For the dance we had, they were playing Scatman John’s “Scatman’s World,” and I was introduced to what they called techno-pop.” A few years later, it would be ATB’s “9 PM (Till I Come)” that solidified his affinity for the sound. “That was the first time I liked a song that didn’t have words in it—who listens to music that doesn’t have words in it? I thought that was really dumb!” Van Ryan laughs. “But ever since then I’ve been in love with electronic music. It started out with trance, I guess.”

The vinyl collecting began purposefully enough, with Van Ryan dabbling in DJing for about a year until other career obligations hijacked his time. But his love for the music spurred his desire to amass an impressive collection of mint-condition autographed vinyl. From Paul van Dyk’s “For an Angel” and Gabriel & Dresden’s “Serendipity” to “Ghosts N Stuff” by Deadmau5 and albums by Benny Benassi, Calvin Harris, Cosmic Gate, Sidney Samson and Afrojack, Van Ryan’s collection is an amalgam of classics and newer limited-edition pressings. His most cherished piece? “Armin van Buuren! He’s my No. 1 favorite DJ,” Van Ryan says. “Getting his record signed by him and getting a picture with him was probably my favorite.” Another standout is the aesthetically pleasing special-edition double-vinyl of Kaskade’s Dynasty. “That one’s really cool because of the actual record—one of them is bright orange and one is bright blue, and I had those both signed.”

Knowing everyone who’s anyone in the Las Vegas nightlife scene doesn’t hurt and affords Van Ryan easier access to the talent when nabbing a signature. But, he adds, having vinyl in tow these days helps anyone have a better chance at catching their favorite artist’s attention since the medium is more and more rare and proves you’re a dedicated fan. If you’re looking to start a collection yourself, “Hold the record up where people can see it,” Van Ryan advises. “Be patient and really polite, because the staff at the venues works really hard to produce a big product and experience. If you catch the DJ or look for their manager when they’re onstage with them and not busy working, a lot of times they can take the record to the DJ and get them to sign it.” He adds that you’ll probably have better luck getting closer to a DJ and their team at dayclubs rather than nightclubs.

With an ever-expanding memorabilia collection that also includes countless photos, swag and a closet full of club shirts and hats, the now 30-year-old Van Ryan still digs for vinyl and imports many of his purchases from the U.K. “Some of the older stuff is really difficult to get a hold of,” he says, “a lot of the older Armin van Buuren, Sasha & Digweed, Carl Cox.” But even the newer DJ/producers release a limited number of vinyl records for fans and collectors, most prominently on Record Store Day (April 20). “I’m really looking forward to getting vinyl from Zedd and Porter Robinson,” Van Ryan says. “I think they represent the best up-and-coming talent; they’ve got a unique sound and are changing the way people listen to electronic music and the way they party.”

With most of his vinyl enshrined in frames or tucked away for safety, Van Ryan’s next step is to create an entire grid-style wall in his office to showcase his collection and love of all things EDM. “I’m always listening to electronic music, always downloading music, Shazam-ing music,” he says. “It really gives you such a positive outlook on life. That’s important. Pretty much all the electronic music that I listen to is uplifting, and it just helps get me through the day.”

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