Photos by Chris Symes, Shotweiler Photography
So, in the Apocalypse we call 2020, I decided to drop in and see how co-owner Liam Lynch was fairing, find out how things had changed, and play fast and loose with my last pay slip.
Disclaimer: At the time of writing this piece, we are still allowed to roam the streets. No lockdown laws were broken in the making of this interview.
Chris) Liam – Thanks for the time, let’s get into it. Do you want to touch on the effects the Coronavirus has had on the store?
Liam) Yeah look, It`s an unfortunate set of circumstances for everybody – not just for record stores, But all small businesses. It`s a time when we all need to support small business as much as possible.
Because in reality, the real winners of all this are big businesses, Like Coles and Woolworths. And with no football and no one being able to attend football, everyone’s getting Foxtel so they can watch the games they would normally be attending.
So, all these big corporations are winning in this situation. It’s an uncertain time and the more people that can support local business, the better off we’ll be in the long run.
But for us, we are obviously taking all the precautions we can. I`m keeping the store as thoroughly clean as possible. I`m also keeping hand sanitizer on the counter for people to use. We are just taking all the precautions we can, but its business as usual. We just gotta keep on keeping on.
Chris) Awesome, have you seen much of a drop off in visitors to the store?
Liam) I think that’s something that’s occurred across the board. I`ve seen other record stores that are going through the same things – There’s a downturn in foot traffic everywhere. But if we all stick together and support one another.
We have all faced adversity before as business owners. Sticking together is the most important thing. I can`t stress enough that if you have the means to do so, Go and visit your local store. It might not be us; It might be junction in Freo, Safaris in Northbridge, Noise Pollution. Wherever it is, Go and pay them a visit, because we all are doing what we can to make sure you’re all safe and comfortable while you escape reality and flip some records. (Liam laughs)
Chris) Exactly. It’s a bit of a spew with everything going on but I feel once this all clears up, People are going to come out in droves to support the music scene and everything else, after being cooped up for so long.
Liam) I mean people still want records. People’s priorities have changed and that’s totally understandable, But I’m sure the flip side is now more than ever, you might need a bit of escapism. That’s what we’re there for really, that’s what we do!
Chris) Going on from that, could we talk a bit about RSD (Record Store Day)?
Liam) Yeah, so with that man upfront it`s been postponed.
We are very happy it hasn’t been cancelled altogether. We’re looking at June 20th now for that one. As far as I`m aware the RSD titles (exclusive Record Releases) have been delayed as well – at least the vast majority of them. But this is all very much a day by day thing – things develop and things change on a daily basis. We’ll continue to provide updates where we can. For now, just keep an eye on our Facebook event page and I’ll tell you all I can.
Chris) I know everyone looks forward to RSD
Chris) It`s a big event for myself – I always love coming along. It’s always something to look forward to
Liam) Absolutely. The flip side of the coin is, you know because you always have to look at the positives of things – this will give us extra time to make sure we can put on the best RSD that we can. So, you know there are positives in everything. It’s a bit of crazy time, at the moment but we are keeping our chins up and trying to carry on as normal as possible.
Chris) Sticking with the positive vibe… With the reports of vinyl being on the comeback and out selling CD`s for the first time in years, have you started noticing that trend yourself?
Liam) Just with the general buzz with vinyl?
Liam) I`ve said this on a number of occasions but it`s really good to see that it`s an intergenerational thing now.
I`m seeing kids and teenagers dragging their parents into record stores. It`s crossed a bridge into a new generation and it`s great to see – It`s a gateway to discovering different types of music.
Take myself – Before I started collecting vinyl, I was never interested in the kinds of things I am now – like Jazz and film soundtracks. Just things you tend to find when you flip through record stores, they draw you in and lead you in new directions. It’s great to see we’ll have a new generation of kids that will have a more well-rounded grasp of styles and a different taste in music.
Chris) Have you still seen the older crew buying records?
Liam) Honestly, It`s everyone and everybody.
A lot of people come in and say, ‘I wish I had never gotten rid of my records!’. I wish I had a penny for every time I had heard that! Hindsight is always 20/20 unfortunately – I feel for those people.
(The phone rings and we pause the interview for a couple of minutes while Liam helps someone trying to source a belt for a vintage radiogram)
Liam) Sorry about that! Where were we?
Chris) all good! Just talking about gen…
Liam) Oh that’s right! I find older Generations are trying to repurchase what they once had, but lots of people have different motivations. Some people have always been collecting and never stopped. So, there’s the casuals just getting into it, there’s people getting back into it., Then there’s people who never stopped. It’s universal now, people from all walks.
Chris) Do you feel lots of local bands are starting to put out vinyl?
Liam) Absolutely. I think the reason for that, is you really only have two options now if you want to move units and actually get your music out there. One obviously is the digital realm, And the other is vinyl. I don’t think CD is an attractive thing for people anymore. I don’t know if CDs’ have lost something? Or vinyl just has so much more to offer…
Chris) You miss that added extra value in a CD nowadays, Like the liner notes.
Liam) That’s it. I mean you get the liner notes more often than not, but they’re a tiny little booklet. One of the common things I hear that people enjoy in records, is having the blown-up artwork.
There’s just something about records man. You can`t skip through tracks. Well you can but it’s a pain. You put it on and your committed to listening to it. That’s something that’s magical about it. An artist has curated an album for you so now you get to sit and listen to it as it’s intended. There’s just something more special and more intimate about it.
So absolutely, Bands are putting out a lot more records and that’s great to see.
Chris) It`s a bit of a spin out with everything going online, to start to see things come back to a physical media. It’s awesome!
Liam) It is for sure.
I think the fact that we moved so quickly into the digital realm and forgot about the physical realm, played a big part in people looking for records. People weren’t quite ready to let that tangible element go. Records are just the ultimate version of that.
Chris) Have there been any standout oddities, or really rare records that have come in?
Liam) We’ve had some real gems come through. We have one on the shelf behind me actually, which is PJ Harvey’s ‘Rid of Me’. That’s a pretty highly sought-after Album. I think it was her second or third, as it was never really reissued. It came out in 93 if I`m not mistaken, back when she was in her infancy as an artist. Since then she has become a lot more famous. That’s one that’s defiantly harder to find.
Chris) Just off the top of my head, I remember you had that strange LP that had an alien abduction story with it? But I can`t remember the name.
Liam) Oh yeah Jim [Sullivan]! I recall the story being fascinating! I’m not sure the music would be as popular today but that’s the other cool thing about records, you learn these things. Light in the Attic Records was the label that it was on. They always make a point of digging up these records with interesting backstories and re-issuing them and breathing new life into them. Anyone who hasn’t checked out Light in the Attic Records, I recommend it!
Chris) I`d like to mention, while you do records, you also have a Rhubarb podcast…
Liam) That’s right – with Matt actually. (Matt had walked in about 5 minutes earlier)
Matt’s a staff member here at East Vic Park. He works Mondays, so come and say hi to him! He’s our podcast producer. He`s pretty much… I don’t like to say it, but he’s like the brainchild of the pod[cast].
We are somewhere in the teens now, 15 or 16 episodes. It’s been a blast, I`ve learnt a lot from all our guests. It’s something we will continue as we can. We won’t be releasing them quite as regularly, but we will try to make sure the quality is as high as we can.
Chris) How often do you release them?
Liam) For a while we were releasing them every week. We were recording two a fortnight, but now we kind of just do them when we can. We might release a couple at a time, we might release one, we might not release any for weeks. But it’s something we will keep doing as it’s fun
Chris) So what are you currently spinning that you’re into?
Liam) Currently into a lot of metal! (Liam’s now looking through the stack of records behind him)
Celtic Frost is the one I was thinking of. The album is To Mega Therion – It`s like a late 19980s heavy metal. Check that out if you haven’t heard it. It blew my mind, as a lot of modern bands were heavily influenced by it, and to go back and see who they were ripping off.
Chris) Is there anything you’re wishing would come through the door, so you can grab it for your own collection?
Liam) Any early 90`s old school death metal. The flip side is if I kept everything, I wouldn’t have anything to sell, so it’s a fine line but if anyone out there has any please hit me up, I`d be very interested.
Chris) Last one, are there any local artists that you feel are going to blow up?
Liam) Yeah! Yomi Ship is the one that springs to mind for me. Their stage show is mind blowing, they are such accomplished musicians – and so young. The ceiling is really so high, but no one knows where their ceiling will be. Also no one is really playing that kind of thing, that instrumental prog rock, as far as I know – in Perth at least.
I don’t get out as much as I`d like to so I could be completely wrong. But Yomi Ship – any opportunity I can get to check them out, I go!
Chris) Thanks Liam you nailed it! Is there anything else you would like to add?
Liam) Just support your local record shop. Not necessarily us, but just everyone. We are all in it together.
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