As part of the run up to this year’s Record Store Day I took some time to catch up with my local record shop owner Gavin Simpson of Feel the Groove in Paisley, Scotland.
As this will be my first Record Store Day I wanted to understand how the day works from the perspective of the shop owner and what the day itself looked like. Feel the Groove is a relatively new record shop being in business for 18 months now. Previously it was run as first, The Record Factory, and then Apollo Music by the previous owner since the mid-eighties. This will be Gavin’s second Record Store Day since taking over the reins.
What was Record Store Day 2017 like for a new Record Store owner?
“I couldn’t believe how manic it was. I hadn’t been to any Record Store Day events before then myself, then two years ago I got the chance to pop along and help out Mike (previous shop owner). I was there to help out, opening the door and letting in customers two at a time.”
Gavin went on to say that this is now how Feel the Groove operate on the day. Those two customers then get looked after by a dedicated member of staff to help them make their purchases.
“The queue was massive. 150 people queued from as early as 3.30 am to be first in the shop. In fact, the queue was so long it took us until 11am until the last person was served. We had The View coming to sign copies of their Record Store Day release that year too. That then led to us supporting them with a pop-up shop at an exclusive Record Store Day acoustic set at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut later that evening.”
Tell us about how you prepare for Record Store Day?
“Our Record Store Day prep doesn’t really start until we see the official list which is published between a month to five weeks beforehand. We will then start hearing from our customers asking if we are getting the releases they are interested in. We are very realistic in as much as we know we are at the mercy of the record companies and have no control over how many of each release we get in. Sometimes we don’t get any of the titles we order. It can come down to something as simple as how much business you have done with that record company in quarter one as to what quantities you will receive.”
When do you receive your Record Store Day stock?
“The records themselves have previously arrived from the Tuesday of Record Store Day week right up until the night before. That can be when we actually know what we will have available on the day. It’s like Christmas and looking to see what Santa’s brought.”
On average how many copies per title do you get in?
“As I said it can vary wildly. Last year for example, we ordered a large quantity of the Sex Pistols Never Mind the Bollocks Record Store Day release. In the end we only received two copies which went to the first two people in the queue. At the opposite end we received 45 copies of The Beatles Record Store Day single so its swings and roundabouts.
Price also dictates what we order in as we want our customers to get a great deal and we certainly do not want people thinking we are ripping them off. If we feel a title is exorbitantly highly priced we will only order a small amount but temper people’s expectations by saying up front it will be an expensive album.”
What will Record Store Day 2018 look like at Feel the Groove?
“This year we have taken a lot of learnings from last year and advice from Mike (the previous owner) and we will be focusing solely on our customers and their Record Store Day purchasing needs.
I did politely decline an offer of an in-store performance from a well-known band this year and it’s based on our previous experience of just how busy the day already is.
Now if Record Store Day had been in the Summer we would have organised a festival, in tandem with the local college, at the rear of the shop in Shuttle Street showcasing local acts and more established names. Unfortunately, we just can’t predict the weather.
Further to that people who participate in Record Store Day are very single-minded on what they are doing. The vast majority are there to get their records and leave. Perhaps to travel on to another shop to get titles we couldn’t supply.”
Do you feel that Record Store Day is an important day for the Record Industry?
“I do wholly believe this. The rule that you cannot sell any Record Store Day titles online for seven days after the event is crucial to the success of the day. I’m old enough to remember the excitement of heading down to queue at your local record shop on the Monday of release of your favourite band’s new album.
Today we are able to simply click that pre-order button and receive downloads to our inboxes. Now I am not against that in any way. In fact, I order hard to find vinyl online myself. But I think what Record Store Day does is it reminds people there is another way to source their records and CD’s. A place to come and chat about the release, maybe even play it in store before buying. They will then tell their friends who may not even know that there is a local record shop in their town.”
What would be Feel the Groove’s Top Five picks for Record Store Day 2017?
The Vapors – ‘Turning Japanese’
New Wave-defining international No.1 hit single from 1980: remastered and repressed on 33 rpm 7″ red vinyl, with bonus track and numbered artwork. Strictly limited edition of 1000 worldwide.
“We expect this to do well with our customers who love their punk. Our punk section is always meagre because as soon as we get punk records in they fly out the door.”
Led Zeppelin – ‘Rock and Roll’ (Sunset Sound Mix) / Side B: ‘Friends’ (Olympic Studios Mix)
Yellow 7″ Single, with large hole and adaptor that can be removed, housed in a printed paper board sleeve. Both versions are previously unreleased.
“Led Zeppelin are famously a non-singles band so when this was announced our phone started ringing off the hook with customers asking if we were getting it in. We have ordered this so hopefully we get enough copies “
Bruce Springsteen – Greatest Hits
Opaque red coloured double LP Vinyl. Been unavailable for a long time (Originally released in 1995) Ltd to 1000.
“There are a few best of compilations out this year but this one is a bit special. Originally released back in the nineties, its increasingly difficult to locate a copy. I think Springsteen fans will be delighted with this double album treatment on audiophile vinyl.”
The Rolling Stones – Their Satanic Majesties Request
“This one is on clear vinyl with the original sleeve. The front has a lenticular 3D square artwork in the centre. Stones fans will know all about this famous album and will be eager to plug that gap in their collection.”
Jesus Jones Vs Aphex Twin & The Prodigy – ‘Zeros and Ones’
12” clear vinyl is a near mythical release now available again in a very limited release for RSD!!
“This is the one I’m most excited about. This is one of Aphex Twin’s most difficult to find records so we are over the moon to see it on the list. We do like a clear vinyl when it comes to electronic dance music”