New at 33 Duke Street, open 10am – 6pm.
There’s a Revolution about to happen in Brighton! The team at Vinyl Revolution have put together a shopping experience with an ethos that responds to research showing that nearly 40% Of record lovers have felt intimidated or judged in a record store! This, their flagship store, is the passion and conviction of two music lovers, Simon Parker & Rachel Lowe who are ready to open their doors at 10 am this July 15th, to invite you in whoever you are and whatever your music tastes; from mums with buggies to ageing rockers! Their aim is to make music shopping the most fun possible, with a vibrant, spacious, thoughtfully-designed shop right in the centre of town. You’ll find exclusive pop-culture inspired clothing, art and home stuff, and most important of all, no music snobbery! Simon & Rachel tell us more….
What are your respective backgrounds?
S: I’ve always worked in the music industry, initially as a musician playing in bands, supported by working in record stores. In 2002 I set up Cable Club Promotions in Brighton and worked with 1000s of bands over a 12 year period. In 2014 I set up a vinyl division for a record store in Oxford which was the inspiration for founding Vinyl Revolution.
R: My life has been far less rock’n’roll than Simon’s! I spent a large part of my career working in business development, mostly in the corporate world. For 6 years previous to Vinyl Revolution I ran a small business consultancy helping businesses to grow.
Simon, you’re in a band?
I play in 3 bands – Villareal, Lightning Dept and White Star Liners. I am a songwriter, guitarist and singer. These days it’s more of a hobby than a career but we’re still making music and there is a new Lightning Dept album on the way.
How did you both meet?
We met on a Eurostar train to Bruges. We talked so much that we missed our stop and ended up in Ostend.
When did you first come to Brighton?
S: My first recollection of Brighton is summer 1976 standing on the West Pier. I moved to Brighton in 1993 with my band Colourburst.
R: I grew up in Kent and first came to Brighton as a child. I’ve no idea when I first visited, I just recall playing the Cracking Crabs arcade game on the pier and eating far too many doughnuts!
What do you love about Brighton?
S: It’s a place where everyone can be themselves.
R: Being a long-time Londoner I can’t believe how friendly everyone is.
Tell us about your own experiences shopping for music… awkward moments?
S: My most awkward moment was paying for Radiohead’s “Kid A” album with five pence pieces because I was so broke.
R: Finding out that my Grandad had shoplifted singles for me. To make matters worse none of them were records that I wanted!
How / why have the negative issues people have experienced when buying music come about, do you think? What has caused the ‘snobbery’ etc?
Record buying has changed but a lot of record stores haven’t. Whilst vinyl was in decline most buyers were experienced collectors who knew their music. Record shops mostly catered for them and judging musical tastes became entrenched. High Fidelity has a lot to answer for!
How could it be resolved elsewhere?
Quite simply record stores need to travel back to a time when all customers were welcome and there was no such thing as a bad taste in music.
How could people respond if they’re made to feel uncomfortable when buying music?
In many ways. Our recent survey showed that some people will choose not to buy a record they really want for fear of being judged, others will shop online instead. That’s a huge shame because buying records should be fun!
How did the idea for the store come about? Was there a stand-out moment where you thought “We’ve got to do this!”?
Our stand-out moment was wine-fuelled. We were discussing the type of record store we would love to run ourselves and then asked why the hell we were talking about it and not doing it. The next day we started to look for premises.
Why‘s the kind of environment you’re setting out at your new store so important?
It’s important to have an environment that all types of people will want to visit and enjoy spending time in. Traditional record stores can be uninspiring, cramped and sometimes dingy. We are very fortunate to have a world leading interior designer as a friend, she is helping us create a light, fun environment with space to move about in. It’s going to be unlike any other record store.
What is your key motivation?
To paraphrase Depeche Music – We want to bring music to the masses!
Can you share some of your faves from your own vinyl collections?
S: That’s like asking me to choose between my children, but Talk Talk’s “Spirit of Eden” is a long term favourite, along with anything by The Cure.
R: My collection is a hell of a lot smaller than Simon’s but I never tire of playing “Dare” by Human League. I’m enjoying discovering new vinyl though and a current favourite band is The National.
What’s your goal for the store? What would you like it to represent to Brighton and music-lovers?
We want Vinyl Revolution to be a place that people love to visit and where they know they will receive a warm welcome and expert advice.
You’ve already run a pop up record store in Tunbridge Wells, tell us about that…
We were thrilled that people loved Vinyl Revolution. The locals were enormously supportive and not only came to shop themselves but brought their families and friends in, took photographs and recommended us on social media. One stand-out moment was when a group of kids came in after school and pronounced our shop ‘sick’. At this point we felt that we had truly arrived! We were also really excited about the enthusiastic response to our own design products. Customers photographed themselves wearing our clothes and hanging our art prints in their homes. It was emotional! A lady from Abu Dhabi emailed us a photo of our Lemmy art print on her wall. We immensely enjoyed the irony of a drinking quote from Lemmy being proudly displayed in a dry country!
Can you share some info about what will be on offer at the new store?
We’ll have 2 floors – one mainly featuring vintage vinyl and the other new and repressed vinyl. We’ll be selling a range of award-winning record players from Pro-Ject alongside our own clothing and home stuff inspired by quotes from music icons. We’ll have a stage area in the basement where we’ll have in-store acoustic sets, workshops and screenings. We’re really excited about our new team who are all music fanatics with so many great ideas about how to make Vinyl Revolution a success. We can’t wait to open our doors!
Nobody should feel judged on their taste in music, do you have a guilty (but not guilty, though) pleasure you can share unabashedly with our readers that you enjoy listening to, or within your collection?
S: Despite my indie background I still regard Wham’s “Last Christmas” as a classic, so much so that one of my bands covered it and there’s a video to prove it!
R: When Simon is out Paul Young’s “No Parlez” still finds it’s way onto the turntable. Paul’s appearance in our Tunbridge Wells shop was almost as good as my teenage dream of becoming his wife!
What’s your message to shoppers?
Our last word shall go to the legend; Bob Dylan. “Dig Yourself!”
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