Diggin’ The Record Store
Sydney’s vinyl culture is big right now and vinyl nerds know that Mp3 files on Spotify and Sound Cloud just don’t match up to the warm sound quality of records.
The Record Store, a little sanctuary of everything vinyl, has been in on this secret for some time now.
Hiding in a little corner just off Crown Street in Surry Hills, the store opened 10 years ago. With a cosmic record collection divided up in cheeky categories, it offers everything from latest album releases, old classics, and second-hands in the $10 box.
The Record Store sells vinyl records specializing in almost every genre – hip-hop, DNB, bass music, funk, soul, beats, scratch records, jazz, house, indie, rock, you name it.
Run by a small crew of inspired DJs, promoters and music lovers who like to hang out and smash some tunes on records, they’re your ultimate guide to everything vinyl-related, whether it’s buying equipment, picking out the best titles, or hunting down good gigs.
With a couple of turntables in a corner, anyone is welcome to come in to have a listen, mix music, or just hang out.
The store’s manager, Zac JNR Bush, also a DJ and promoter on the side, has always been big into his music. He describes himself as “Mr Analog” and plays only Vinyl music.
“I don’t even own a computer and only just starting using email since starting working here. I love it, I feel like I’m right in the hub of it all,” he says.
Vinyls have been coming back fast in the music scene for the last 4-5 years, even battling against digital sales. According to Zac, it’s the original sound quality that draws music lovers to records.
“You know, lots of kids and older people are rediscovering it and realising how good the sound is, because MP3s sound so shit.”
Surprisingly, The Record Store isn’t the only place where records dominate. In Sydney, there are a number of stores dedicated to preserving the old music format.
When the store’s owner Stephan realised this, he started up “Diggin’ Sydney,” a guide to all the record stores, Vinyl shows and clubs in Sydney, in partnership with Australia’s leading Indie distributor Inertia.
Zac isn’t worried that it creates competition for the Record Store, saying that “it’s not just about us, it’s about the community and the music.”
“A lot of people have been dropping off and it’s sad. We want to help preserve it, and all these guys do different stuff from us.”
For him, records are something to pass down to someone who “has the knowledge and passion.”
“Then you kind of feel like that’s much more enjoyable passing it on.”
At The Record Store, the vibe is pretty special. Record shipments come in every week, with albums lining up every box and corner in the store. New releases sit out the front of the counter, and the stock rotates along the counter, the shelves and the pigeon holes weekly.
“It’s funny, a week in music is a like year. There’s just so much stuff going on, if you don’t come into the Record Store for a week you’re missing out on so much stuff,” Zac comments.
For the record store, it’s all about the music and the people. International artists and agents from the music industry will drop by regularly. Up on the door there’s a little memorabilia wall, with the likes of Dam-Funk, Faithless, Hermitude and Rido from Metalheadz having visited in the past.
Zac describes a visit from Maxi Jazz, member of Faithless: “it was when they came down for their last tour in Australia, and they’re like super humble, which is cool because it just reminds you that they’re just humans too.”
Another special visit was two years ago from Oh No, a big time underground hip-hop producer from the States.
Zac recalls, “At his gig at Tone, me and one of the boys hijacked him and went backstage. We hit him up, ‘dude what are you doing after the show?’ and he’s like,‘just going to back to the hotel’. So we told him to come back to the record store to chill with us, and he’s a super humble dude just sitting in a corner.”
When a deliveryman interrupts the interview by dropping off a few boxes full of records, Zac gets excited because he gets to open them.
“The best time of the week is the Wednesday or Thursday. When the records come in and we open up the boxes, it’s like Christmas. And that’s every week, it’s awesome”.
Make a visit to The Record Store – it’s your best chance to discover music the old fashioned way.
- Astha Rajvanshi
Photography by Juls Ibanez