Revolver Records in downtown Phoenix celebrated the seventh annual Record Store Day by creating an album of their own with three local bands.
The three-song, 7-inch LP titled Recorded at a Record Store (Raars) was made to promote the biggest of all audiophile holidays, the store and local music by including bands Cherie Cherie, Petty Things and Playboy Manbaby.
The idea came to store operator Trahern Jordan while he was listening to local band Petty Things at one of the store’s First Friday events.
“I was like, ‘Man this band is really good, we should record them and release it for like a Record Store Day thing,’”he said. “Then I started to think, ‘Let’s do three bands and do videos and everything to make it a really fun thing to do inside of a record store to show it’s really all about the music.’”
The entire project, including the music videos and engineering of the record, was done locally.
“The only thing that wasn’t local was the pressing,”Jordan said. “The printing of the paper, all of the video, all of the photography, all of the mixing and mastering were all local.”
Local filmmaker Aaron Hudson, who filmed the recording sessions, said he jumped at the idea of making music videos for the songs when Jordan approached him.
“It was a lot of things I’m into all rolled into one,”he said. “Record Store Day is something I’ve been involved with as a customer for a long time now, collecting and going to shows, and I love filming, so when he asked me it was a no-brainer.”
Hudson praised Revolver Records for always being one step ahead of the competition, and the creation of the LP is just another example.
“Through my years of collecting, Revolver has always seemed a little ahead of the curve,”he said. “I can definitely see other stores taking this more seriously and actually stepping up to do something like this that is pliable and supportive of the community and local music scene. I definitely think it’s that first stepping stone where other stores will start doing something along these lines.”
Record Store Day started in 2008 after the resurgence of vinyl began in the early 2000s, and Revolver Records has been there since the beginning.
“We happened to open in 2007 and the first one was 2008,” Jordan said. “Every year we have obviously participated, and it’s the biggest day of the year, and it’s awesome.”
Jordan said college students are really into vinyl and he believes that has to do with actually having a product they can hold.
“You don’t have to convince someone records are cool,”he said. “With the college-aged kids, they didn’t even really grow up with CDs. They grew up with download or streaming or whatever so physical product probably means, on some level, more to them.”
The passion of students from the nearby Downtown campus lets Jordan know vinyl is here to stay. He said he finds their purchases interesting.
“ASU is right down the street and we get the kids in all of the time buying the latest release and what is cool is they’ll buy the latest release and then they’ll buy Boston, Zeppelin, or The Doors or whatever it is,”he said. “That is one of the things that kept vinyl going is that classic rock got really popular a few years ago, because I think the music scene was kind of lacking and finally now you’re getting better bands like Radiohead who are really pushing it.”
The record’s resurgence is growing as more artists put out new releases on vinyl.
“It’s really cool that records have stayed around and have stayed current,”Jordan said. “If you buy a record now, it doesn’t feel like an archaic media. It feels cool; it feels fresh. You buy a turntable, it sounds awesome, so to me it’s a no-brainer.”
Jordan, who started working in a record store in 1991, said vinyl was on the way out when he started, but he always had faith in the medium and never would have expected what he sees today.
“I would have never thought in ’91 when my little store only had a couple hundred records that 23 years later there would be a store full of people of all ages buying records and being really super excited about it,”he said.
Jordan is now looking for the next project for Revolver Records, because the first album was such a success.
“We are hoping to make this a series,”he said. “The next thing we are thinking about doing is having four local bands do the same song so that way you get four different takes on one song and we’ll record it here and video it.”
Hudson said he agrees with the idea of having different interpretations of one song after hearing many different versions of songs from various people on the internet.
“We have talked of tackling the same song with different people and obviously doing different interpretations of their genre and style with that song,”he said. “That’s just another thing that would end up being really cool. If you listen to artists who get covered a lot, like Dylan, you can hear so many varied versions of the song just based on what people do.”
Audiophile Nick Gonzalez said he thinks Record Store Day has reignited the excitement and fascination of vinyl with people but also feels the companies in charge of making records are using this as just another way to make money.
“I think it’s a great benefit, but I also feel that the people who have stuck with vinyl the whole time are kind of being exploited by the labels with all the limited edition blue vinyls and other gimmicks,” he said.
Small record stores that kept vinyl alive through the 1990s, or the “dark ages,” as Jordan calls it, have led to the resurgence of the music format, and Jordan said he doesn’t seeing it leaving again anytime soon.
“Vinyl is never going to die,” he said.
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Clarification: A quote in this story has been updated.