Piccadilly Records has been a staple of Manchester’s music scene since 1978 and each year when Record Store Day arrives, the scene on Oldham Street where it is housed is one of hundreds of early-rising music fans waiting for the doors to open with aching anticipation.
Ahead of the 2014 instalment of Record Store Day, Far Out Magazine spoke to Patrick from Piccadilly about why the day has become such a phenomenon and which of this year’s special releases the store are most looking forward to seeing arrive in the stockroom.
What does Record Store Day mean to you?
People will be queuing around the block, which is always interesting, it’s crazy to see really. There’s already a queue right down the street when we get in to work. Some people end up disappointed because they miss out on what they want, but on the most part no one will come here and leave without something. It’s a nice thing that they are all able to get their hands on these special pressings.
From our point of view there’s a mixture of excitement and a feeling of slight dread! It’s very stressful but once you’re in here it can be amazing. There’s a always a nice atmosphere, the shop’s busy and there’s a buzz about the place. It’s a mix of people too, some of them will be DJs, some of them will be from bands so it’s nice to bring them together.
Do you feel the day benefits record stores throughout the rest of the year?
Well vinyl sales have gone up and Record Store Day began about the same time that started happening, so you can’t overlook the correlation. It gets people that wouldn’t normally spend money on records to do so, just because these pressings are a nice thing to have.
If it’s the first vinyl they ever buy then it doesn’t necessarily mean they come back. For example there’s a One Direction record (I don’t know whether we’ll be stocking that one!), but my niece will probably try to get hold of one of those and that will then be her first record. That situation might then be where her wider interest in buying records will begin.
For people who aren’t in to that there’s other stuff of every imaginable genre and that’s what’s nice about it. It’s a more communal way of of enjoying music.You just don’t get the same experience going round to your friend’s house with a pen drive you know?
Do some of the big label releases by stadium rockers take the attention away from the independent stores and artists that the day was set up to support?
I don’t think it takes away from it, in that it helps create more publicity for the day and the idea – and that comes through. The people who go out and buy those kinds of releases are always going to come out with the intention of finding them, but while they’re here they might see something else that could benefit the artists who are a rung further down the ladder.
Because the whole thing has become such a big deal, everyone wants a piece of the pie. It’s just how businesses work I suppose. Also in the grand scheme of things, I think those kinds of huge releases are in the minority. I don’t really think they take away from others, they’re just an additional thing that serve a certain section of people on behalf of the bigger companies.
Do you think that could be a turn-off for some people?
I don’t know really. In music there are a lot of diehards who will always be disappointed to see the mainstream co-opting something that they see as underhand. Maybe it would turn them off, but I think that will only last up to the point where they see something they really want is coming out! It’s like ‘well it is bad that they [major labels] are getting involved, but at the same time I do really want that limted edition, never before released Fugazi record’, or whatever else it might be.
At the end of the day you just have to hope that people’s love for the music they like outweighs their distaste for the elements of the industry they don’t like.
Which of this year’s releases are you most looking forward to getting in?
Yeah a few, there’s a William Onyeabor remixes thing, kind of a new compilation of a lot of his work. Everyone here loves that, it came close to the top of our chart for the whole of last year. I’ve a heard a little bit of it and it sounds amazing, so really looking forward to that.
Also the Grace Jones compilation of unreleased stuff, which I’ve also heard and it’s crazy! I wouldn’t necessarily knock anything of the album [Nightclubbing] to replaced by those tunes, but why they couldn’t have released the original album as a double vinyl I’ll never know. That’ll be pretty big.
I’m also really looking forward to a disco record that’s coming out by Donna McGhee [Make It Last Forever]… Then another interesting one has to be the Ghostbusters release!
Ghostbusters, what’s going on there?
It’s a glow in the dark picture disc of the original theme by Ray Parker Jr, which is obviously really gimmicky, but I think you can be too serious about the whole thing!
Everyone I know who doesn’t buy records would probably love to get their hands on one of those you see. It’s not the same as buying an album by a band that you love, but who wouldn’t want a glow in the dark ghostbusters picture disc? Never mind putting it up on the mantelpiece, you could navigate your house with it if the electric ever went!
Piccadilly Records will be open for business at 8am on Record Store Day 2014 and will be stocking around 400 one-off releases. However, you’re advised to arrive well before that time to avoid disappointment.