As part of Record Store Day 2012, Already Heard talked to a handful of individuals from the music industry about their love for records, the importance of Record Store Day and more.
First up is Jack Clothier from Oxford based independent label Alcopop Records.
Already Heard: What was the first record you bought and where was it from?
Jack Clothier: I remember this really well actually. I’d already converted from tapes to CDs – and as a fresh faced 14/15 year old was in Coventry town centre let loose at Spinadisc (remember them). I was all down for CDs, but I found myself browsing the records instead and picked up Everlong by the Foo Fighters on marbled blue vinyl. It was beautiful, and despite not having a record player I bought it. Then on the way home I had this massive teen angst mixture of pride and guilt sweep through me. To this day I still don’t know why, but I nearly binned the thing on the way home. Luckily I didn’t, my ad found me an old record player – and I’ve bought vinyl ever since.
AH: Who got you into records?
Jack Clothier: I put that down to 4 people, a band and a magazine. First up my parents who actually got me my first record player, and let me borrow all their old vinyls – and next up my two school pals, Liam Nolan and Dave Clare. I used to go into town with them on a Saturday and spend literally hours browsing through racks of CDs and records – buying, listening, swapping, buying more. It was something of an obsession…
Music wise, the first band I felt compelled to own EVERYTHING by on vinyl was Symposium (and I do – including a test pressing of their first ever single) – and there used to be this rad music magazine called Foggy Notion. It was a lovely mag, with a little editorial but mostly just lists of classic, rare, awesome 7”s and CDs which we all used to pore through at 6th form. That was when I was ordering so many records I could barely afford them… Midget, Scarfo, Cornershop, Belle and Sebastian, The Crocketts. SO much awesome stuff…
AH: How important is Record Store Day to independent record stores?
Jack Clothier: It’s great to have a focus for the record store and it’s an amazing feeling every Record Store Day going into shops and feeling the crush of awesome people who think like you do, hunting round trying to find things, desperately looking for that rare 7” or their favourite band’s tape –— but the cynic in me does think RSD is something of a false economy. Like, record shops are for life you know, and perhaps this gives some people an excuse to remember the good old days, before heading straight back to Amazon. That does make me sound really cynical though doesn’t it… RSD is a great thing – just gotta remember record shops are for life.
AH: Do you think it’s just as important to independent labels?
Jack Clothier: Perhaps not as important to some indies as a lot of sales come direct through our site… But it’s still very important throughout the whole indie world. I think the record shops that have survived have really diversified and have something very special to offer, and are a massive presence within communities and really help drive people towards what we do. I mean, I’m sure every interviewee you speak to will talk about JT at Banquet – but it can never be extolled enough. That guy is incredible for independent labels, from bedroom operations right up to the big ones. To think that in Kingston on RSD morning, hundreds of awesome people will be queuing outside Banquet to but stuff from indie labels, and it’s primarily because JT has built a massive scene there, pushed bands he loves and that enthusiasm is infectious. We’re putting out a tape by one of our lot, Stagecoach, who have a big fanbase in Kingston, and it’s pretty much entirely down to the support they and we got from Banquet.
AH: Why is it important to celebrate record stores?
Jack Clothier: Because they’re even better than Christmas – and people are starting to realise what they’ve got before it has gone! Strip this country of indie record stores and you’ll be ripping the heart from a musical youth.. Sure, buying online and at shows is all cool and wonderful (it keeps us going) but there’s nothing like browsing aisles, chatting to knowledgeable staff and caring so passionately about your local shop.
AH: Do you think Record Store Day gets the recognition it deserves?
Jack Clothier: Yes. I think it’s massive and everyone who might care about it knows all about it. The shops do a great job of promoting it, as do the labels and bands who put really interesting stuff out. I guess you could argue it could have a wider appeal, but it’s nicer having proper music fans get all the best stuff. The scene is huge, and I imagine any store you get to at 10am tomorrow will be jamm packed with people!
AH: Is there anything you’re looking to pick up on the day?
Jack Clothier:The Flaming Lips/Mastodon record please. Oh I would like that very much!
AH: Do you think that RSD introduces new fans to indie stores?
Jack Clothier: Not really. But I think it reminds people why they loved them in the first place, and the joy that comes with splashing their hard earned cash on some lovely physical records and CDs! Digital is all very well, but whoever proudly showed off their limited edition to 300, pink, pop up edition megabytes eh? No one – that’s who!
Visit RecordStoreDay.com for more infomation on Record Store Day 2012.
Words by Michael Brown