A decade ago, the word vinyl would have thrown imaginations into an era of Almost Famous and The Beatles, but now all eyes are on West End.
SINCE THE FIRST record was created in the late 1800s, vinyl’s been through a bit of a journey. It’s seen The Twist, jazz, ‘rock and roll’, pop and even disco come and go. After drifting off the radar during the 1990s, vinyl has made a comeback with two popular distributors located in the 4101. Positioned opposite each other on Vulture Street, Egg Records and Jet Black Cat Music have built strong niche followings in each of their stores.
Owner of Egg Records, Ric Trevaskes, says the main shift he has seen in vinyl during his time in the industry is the type of buyers. “Record fairs used to be a sea of grey hairs,” says Ric, but now younger listeners are looking to source their music differently. Trevaskes, who has never owned a CD or downloaded a song, says a big part of the experience is the way vinyl circulates in the 21st Century. Many of his customers used to trade records with their friends, but now records are scarcer and customers come to him looking for their old classics again. To find the best sounds for his store, Mr Trevaskes goes on multiple trips a year to record fairs across America and Japan.
Across the road, listeners who are after more recent hits turn to Jet Black Cat Music, owned by the passionate Shannon Logan. After almost a decade in the record business, Logan only sells new records. While she tries to source music from Australia, a lot of her records come from America and Europe. She says a big part of vinyl’s resurgence is awareness; she jokes that “not as many people come in saying ‘they still make these things?’” Shannon began selling records at the West End Markets for five years, before opening Jet Black Cat Music almost four years ago, where she has seen vinyl catalogues growing quickly. “Such resurgence across the board,” she notes. Many of the records coming through her store now include MP3 downloads. “Some bands aren’t doing CDs at all — just a small run of vinyl and online.”
Record shopper Richard Daniel says it’s all about the experience. The drummer plays regular gigs around West End in his band, The Trouble with Templeton, and says when it comes to turntables, “It’s a fun process.” Richard says, “It’s something in today’s world you can associate value to, from artwork to the process of putting it on.” With more and more West Enders succumbing to the distinctive sounds of vinyl, Shannon believes more music lovers are becoming engaged with it. “People are falling in love with music again,” she says. Venues across West End have jumped on board this vinyl renaissance, with turntables hiding at the back of most bars, and a cocktail bar attached to the prominent music space, The HiFi, even named ‘Vinyl’.
Words by Kayla Millhouse | Images by Colin Bushell