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Thursday, November 29, 2018

New record shop is bringing back vinyl pressings

Holiday Records, Auckland
A new record store is heralding Auckland’s vinyl culture comeback.

“Vinyl has never really gone away,” argues Ben Wallace, when speaking of his impending venture with friend and business partner Joel Woods.  The pair have just opened up a  record store in central Auckland that will also house the country’s only record press.
A muso himself, the idea was a response to Wallace’s long term desire to press some vinyl for his (self-described) ‘small-time folk band’ , The Rambling. He was saddened’ to discover this couldn’t be done in New Zealand.  The last plant, EMI closed in Lower Hutt over 30 years ago.  The new project, Holiday Records, will serve as a veritable mecca for both longtime record devotees and newbies with a personally curated selection of new records and listening miscellany on offer.

On their research trips to North America, the pair came to realise just how viable the niche project was. Industry insiders — producers, studios, lathe cutters, enthusiasts, and those in the business of pressing records — explained how supply simply could not keep up with demand. And the people driving that demand aren’t necessarily who you’d think either. According to Wallace, “kids from as young as 12 years old make up a significant portion of the clientele in record stores, currently.  They’re buying Black Sabbath and Green Day records alongside the wily old dudes (and women) who have always bought their blues and jazz records on vinyl.”

Joel Woods & Ben Wallace
When asked what he thinks drives this newfound appreciation, Woods explains that although the digital age has undoubtedly made music more accessible for everyone, it has simultaneously taken away so much of music’s tangible and artistic qualities. “We don’t think the vinyl resurgence is only about the nostalgia for the older generation or the perceived ‘old-school cool’ for the younger generation, it’s about people’s genuine engagement with music.”

According to the pair, the act of listening to vinyl goes further than removing a record from its case, placing it down on the platter, and dropping the stylus to let a record play out in its carefully curated entirety (a ceremony itself). It’s a visceral experience, connecting the listener with the album, first by the cover art (much bigger than the thumbnail on your Spotify), then there’s the beauty of its distinctly warm sound.  Finally, it’s the act of listening from beginning to end of an album in its entirety, just as the artist intended.

“We’ve seen weddings where the couple has asked those attending to not bring presents, but instead, bring an LP that they can add to their collection,” Wallace says. “We’ve talked to other people who, when having dinner parties, ask their guests to forego the bottle of wine and instead bring a record that can be played during the evening.”  All further proof of what’s lost when music is reduced to digital streaming as opposed to physical albums, although they perfectly accept that there’s a place for that too.

As a store, Holiday Records will be accessible to everyone. “We want people to be able to come in and not be afraid to ask questions, like ‘How do I put a needle into a groove? What pre-amp do I need? How do I clean it? Etcetera.’ Furthermore, the pair will be establishing a subscription service, called Curate, whereby anyone interested can sign up on their website to regularly receive new albums to add to their collection.
Holiday Records is opened on 28th November

Instagram: @holidayrecords
Holiday Records

111 Wellesley St West
Auckland Central

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