Feature :: A Last Minute Guide To Record Store Day
April 18th 2014
It’s Easter this weekend! For some that centres around an egg hunt on Sunday, but since you clicked on this link, you’ll probably be searching for fresh one-eighty gram vinyl discs instead.
Of course we are talking about Record Store Day. Since 2008, labels, bands and vinyl junkies have been getting together on the third Saturday of April (tomorrow) to raise the excitement levels around independent record stores. Since then the numbers of Sydney stores has sadly fallen, but those still standing are going strong and ready to welcome you with open arms this Saturday. Prepare for exclusive local and import releases, live performances and booze from behind the counter.
In preparation, Fearghal Shannon had a quick chat to three local stores about their history, focus and what they’ve got planned for the weekend.
The Record Store
Meet Stephan Győry. He’s the owner of The Record Store on Goulburn and Crown in Surry Hills, and a frequent advocator for the importance of Eastern Sydney.
Fearghal Shannon :: Stephan, how did The Record Store start?
Stephan Győry :: We started in 2003 in December. Before that I actually worked for another business called BPM Records and I started with them when I left uni in ’96. I basically got offered Honours in Psychology at Sydney Uni to go and do a fourth year in Perception, so basically neuroscience kind of stuff. But at the same time I got offered a full time job in a record store. So I was like “ahhh…research, record store, research, record store?” and took the job at the record store. From ’96 – ’99 we were on Oxford St. but luckily the guy who owned BPM was smart enough to get the hell off Oxford St. So we moved up to where we are now, 55b Crown St, which is actually on Goulburn. Then he closed in 2003 and we basically took over his lease.
F :: What was the music BPM was selling?
S :: The shop has gone through a number of incarnations. When it opened, Central Station (now Oxford Art Factory) was up the road. It started off quite generic actually. There were three BPM’s around the country, there was a guy doing the orders and they were just ordering anything that was coming out of Europe at that time. When I started we started doing Drum n Bass and then we saw a gap in the market for Techno, and then we saw a gap in the market for hardcore. In the late 90’s we made a move into breakbeat and then moved out of hardcore. We didn’t a have any staff who were into hardcore so we got out of it. And as more and more shops shut we expanded, like last year we started doing blues and jazz. We moved form a broader dance shop to basically just a record store that does everything, but were still focused on the cutting edge electronic, no one else does as much of that as us.
F :: What have you got going on for Record Store Day?
S :: We’re opening early this year. From 9am-12pm it’s just straight up vinyl junkie heaven. Then till 6pm we’ve got six turntablists coming in to do little shows, with Katalyst kicking things off . We’ve also hooked Café Lounge up with Elephant Traks and they are doing a listening party from 12-7pm. Then from 6pm-midnight The Record Store will be playing Record Store records down at Play Bar.
What: Record Store Day at The Record Store
When: 9am – 6pm
Where: 255b Crown Street, Darlinghurst 2010. Entry on Goulburn St.
What: The Record Store takes over Play Bar
When: 6pm – 12am
Where: Basement, 72 Campbell St, Surry Hills 2010
Just south of Newtown train station you’ll find Repressed Records, a place flying the flag for independent music. Fearghal asked owner Chris Sammut where he and the store began.
F :: Chris, what are the beginnings of Repressed Records?
Chris Sammut :: I used to work for a store in Parramatta called Beatdisc, then they opened a store in Penrith and I ended up running that. The boss soon sold it to me; I bought the stock and changed the name to Repressed Records. We were there for about four to five years and then we moved to Newtown. This will be about our 6th year in Newtown so we moved in about 2008 or 2009 I’d say. It’s all a blur.
F :: Was there a musical focus of the store in the early days?
C :: Beatdisc in Parramatta was more of a second hand store – CD’s and records. When they opened in Penrith it was much of the same. Moving into the city was always one of my goals, then we changed it a lot from there. We still do a bit of second hand but we really focus on independent music and more vinyl now.
F :: Along with you is there anyone else who’s been involved with the store for a good while?
C :: Nic Warnock. He runs R.I.P. Society [Records], who represent Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys, Model Citizen and Ruined Fortune and probably like ten other bands. He started in Penrith and got a job because he had a Stooges shirt.
F :: What have you got lined up for Record Store Day?
C :: We’ve got hundreds of exclusive releases coming in – there are two import shipments coming in, so heaps of new records in the shop. We got piles of second hand records and we’re just having a bit of a sale. It’s going to be a pumping day, it always is. You know, drinking behind the counter is always fun.
What: Record Store Day at Repressed Records
When: 9am – 7pm
Where: 413 King St, Newtown
This record store has grown from a humble music shop on Crown St in Surry Hills to a mini-empire, selling books, films and music in Crows Nest, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide. Title CEO Steve Kulak gave Fearghal a little insight into the beginnings.
F :: Steve, Where did Title start?
Steve Kulak :: Title started in Surry Hills, five, six, seven, eight years ago…I forget right now. We started Title because we understood that selling culture was an important thing to be focusing on and selling a certain kind of story is even more important. And that’s where it all started.
F :: Was there a particular musical focus?
S :: We started with music because that’s what interested us the most, and we started with a particular kind of music that wasn’t really available freely anywhere else.
F :: What’s the musical focus at the moment?
S :: Anything that esoteric, exotic and contemporary.
F :: What’s lined up this weekend?
S :: Every store around the country has special edition vinyl, limited edition vinyl, lots of promotions in store around the music. I can’t say too much more because it’s actually… not so much a secret but we’re waiting to surprise people when they come into the store on the day.