If you’re looking for your vinyl fix in Melbourne, there is one place nestled amongst the cities colourful inner suburb of Fitzroy that has all bases covered. For over a decade, Northside Records has been the city’s go to point for the latest, greatest and most pursued soul supplies – from sought after 45s, to new release 12″, to preloved vinyl goodies.
For over 10 year, Chris Gill has cultivated one of the city’s most loved record stores in Northside Records. Chris caught up with Speaker TV to fill us in on all things Northside.
Can you give us a brief history on when/how Northside Records first started?
Northside Records was formed in 2002. It was formed out of necessity. The was not enough soul music represented in this town and so I had to start a record store. Back then there were not too many of us dancing. Now however, I feel fully vindicated in starting the store. The local soul scene is now represented!
There were a few stores back then, but none really specialising. I thought that it would make sense to do something well, and I think 12 years later means that its working.
What do you guys sell at Northside Records?
We sell records, lots of them. We also sell cd’s and cassette tapes. We sell soul t-towels, Waxpoetics magazine. RISE hip hop photo book. We sell second hand turntables (and stereo equipement). We sell soul.
Can you tell us about any special in-store appearances you’ve had over the years?
All our instores are special. The latest by ROR was great. He had an awesome time! The mystical one was the CONGOS -I missed it but it sounded amazing. As the band started playing the second song their was still no sign of the singers. Then a cab pulls up and the old cats get out and the sea of people parted out the front to let them in. They all walked up to the mike and just jumped straight into the tracks – BLEW the crowd away! And all in their 60’s! Fitzroy was funky that day.
Every instore we have is that mystical though, from Clairy Browne getting toasted over by Sassi, to Saskwatch dripping funk all over the desk, to Eddie Palmieri just bein’ a legend……………..
Is there any release you’ve seen on the shelves you wish you had snapped up for yourself? Or one that you think you’ll never see again?
The one I shouldn’t have sold was THE HAR YOU PERCUSSION GROUP. Shoulda kept it….
What are some of the biggest selling genres/local artists you’ve seen over the years?
Sakwatch, The Bamboos, Cookin’ On Three Burners, Clairy Brown and the Banging Rackettes, Haitus Kaiyote……..there are LOTS more..
What is the best thing about owning in a record store?
Doing what I REALLY love to do. Listening to music is still a great pasttime.
What is the quirkiest record or music product you’ve seen come through the store?
One of the wildest I had was the LIVING WITH LESBIANS – featuring the Lesbian Power Authority.
What is the best thing about seeing the resurgence in people buying vinyl? Is there any particular demographic taking charge?
When people buy a record they are saying that they will take some of their time to relax and dig on some culture. Its great to still see this happening. Electronic culture is not the same – its constantly streaming so much so that it loses its meaning. Vinyl is part of an analog culture that requires touch. It is art for arts sake. Not for convienience, but for itself and yourself.
What advice would you give to people looking to start buying vinyl for the first time?
My advice would be to get into it. A great result of collecting records is that it leaves a trail of your life. A lot of the time you remember the exact day place and time you bought that record.
My best advice from having the store is to buy what you don’t know. A lot of people just buy what they had or what they remember as great. Stretch your mind, enhance yourself. Get something fresh. It’ll open your brain.
Northside Records’ Top 5 Melbourne Soul Legends:
Lance Ferguson – (The Bamboos)
236 Gertrude Street
MON 11 – 6PM
TUES 11 – 6PM
WED 11 – 6PM
THURS 11 – 7PM
FRI 11 – 7PM
SAT 11 – 6PM
SUN 12 – 5PM