Here is the second part of our Record Store Day interview series. This time we caught up with Alex Fitzpatrick of Hardcore/Alternative label Holy Roar to talk about RSD and the effect it’s having.
Already Heard: What was the first record you bought and where was it from?
Alex Fitzpatrick: I was buying CDs when I was a teenager because vinyl wasn’t on the upswing so much and download culture simply didn’t exist so I think the first record or album I actually went out and bought was ‘Ultra Mega Ok’ by Soundgarden when I was either 12 or 13. I bought that from Spillers Records in Cardiff.
AH: How important is RSD to independent record stores?
Alex Fitzpatrick: It’s more important than ever for independent record stores. They’re obviously fighting against both the download culture and online retailers but it just brings together the community by giving people a talking point. It’s almost become independent record store’s version of christmas. There’s all these really exciting events happening on a single day. We can’t underestimate how much this day has come to input upon the takings of a record store. Financially it’s proving to be increasingly important as well.
AH: Do you think it’s just as important to independent labels?
Alex Fitzpatrick: I think that this is a contentious issue right now if I’m being honest. I think Record Store Day has been jumped on most firmly by major labels or the very large independent labels which almost act like a major. They’ve got the resources to both turn around releases quite quickly and to put their artists into studios for one off projects like this so I think that it’s becoming an uneven playing field. I think the majors – and large independents – have got an advantage on Record Store Day. It’s something that will have to be address.
Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot of great music coming out on that day and it is an incredible thing for both independent stores and indie culture but I can see that this may cause a problem if some of the smaller labels begin to start resenting Record Store Day.
AH: Is there anything coming out this year you would like to pick up?
Alex Fitzpatrick: Ironically enough the pieces I want to pick up this year are on major labels. I would like to get the new Death Grips album on vinyl. I’m very curious to see this Mastodon/Feist split where they cover each other. There’s a bunch of other stuff too but those two are definitely at the top of my list.
AH: Do you think that RSD introduces new fans to independent record stores?
Alex Fitzpatrick: I think that it boils down to Record Store Day as an organisation and their PR. They’ve done a very good job of publicising Record Store Day. You’ve seen articles about it in your broadsheet papers and across the music press regardless of genre but I think that, considering that it is essentially a day of commerce, they have to build more into the preview element of the day.
I think that they’ve started to get their teeth into that this year. They held a launch gig with The Pixies and PIL amongst others so I think that they’ve started to get their head around the idea that, to bring new people into independent record stores, they have to push it out prior to the day rather than relying on the current fans.