About Pie & Vinyl
Give us the background... when and why did you decide to open a record shop?
I used to play Football, studied Fashion, I’m a trained hairdresser, worked in business management for a large corporation – so yes, basically I had no idea what I wanted to be or do in this life. The idea started when visited a small cinema in New Zealand, I noticed the link between listening, watching and eating great local food. I’ve always loved music, and it was the one consistent passion in my life. 5 years ago if anyone said you were going to open a record shop, they tell you were mad – today it’s quite different of course, but I started buying vinyl again because it was available. I remember getting the first ‘Girls’ album, and it had a download code in it. I could see the potential in this right away. This was the ultimate format, it incorporated everything I loved about a tangible item. It was pretty much the opposite of an MP3, and worked with the modern way people listen to music, on the move – or in an intimate setting at home. It of course also forces you to listen to the album as a complete piece of work. The indie only colours, great pressings better quality card and gifts etc that go with it, came later – but is another great angle in offering an experience. Basically the idea of a record shop, with a food element was born from my uncertainty and certainty that the physical music format wasn’t dead, it just needed reinventing… We of course source all of our food as local as possible, and aware of food trends. I decided to incorporate pies as it was a traditional English working class food, that you could really make contemporary – similar to the vinyl come back. Eat with your ears.
We only sell brand new condition music, and love recommending new music. We have many customers that come and asks us ‘what’s good’ and we feel privileged to point at some great music. We also get lots of customers who haven’t bought a record for years, but are keen to get back into buying it. It’s of course changed a lot with the internet, and there are soooo many releases every week, so it can be quite daunting. We tell them to listen to Radio 6 for home work, and recommend a record. They usually come back for more! We have a yearly subscription service called ‘The Record Adventure’ - where we send customers our favourite records. It’s amazing that our customers trust us to challenge their ears, and we really relish this! We really do serve so many age groups, which is great – I particularly love it when kids come in and buy their first record – it means there’s a future! How we look is very important also, we like weird and we like to change things up quite often. We are a very cosy intimate shop, with lots of eye candy everywhere – which feeds into the ethos of the shop. We also invite local artists to paint on the walls, etc – and we sell music screen prints, books our own merchandise is very popular and we have a separate hifi shop! We also have a record label, and being central to the local music scene is a wonderful thing for us. We have many in stores from very high profile acts, and put on and promote quite a few shows. Pie&Vinyl really is for anyone and everyone.
Part of our early success was remembering my first experiences in Pompey's finest second hand music stores. It was if I had to pass some sort of music knowledge test before I could ask the vendor a question? And then, it was like he didn’t want to sell me anything – they were his precious records. This has stuck with me, and we are really proud of our great service. You learn with your customers, and it’s amazing just taking and connecting with them. The first record I bought was ‘Hanging Tough’ on 7’’ New Kids on The Block – I love the B side, a cover of ‘Didn’t I blow your mind this time’ which became more famous from the Jackie brown film. Those kids could sing, maybe.
I love any physical bricks and mortar record shops, especially the ones that have survived the tough years and are reaping the rewards now. I believe they must have stuck around because of the love – and they get my absolute respect.
We are really lucky, and we’ve actually had quite a few famous people come in – just last week, we had Sophie Elis Baxter, and her partner from The Feeling eating in the shop. We’ve had actors, musicians and comedians. Phil Jupitus has been in a few times, and Dara O'Briain – they are lovely chaps, and of course artists that get it. We are lucky enough to have had quite a few high profile in stores, and some of the bunch from 6 Music come and see us now and again. Such amazing support is always so humbling and really appreciated.
The last one
The last one I read – Facing The Other Way, The story of 4AD..
Impossible – too many.
Why would you limit yourself and decide on your favourite?
Too hard. Would need a week and a journey into my inner most mind to answer this. I don’t have that.
The 1993 Portsmouth nearly promoted team to division 1 (West Ham pipped us by 1 goal) - Paul Walsh is god. Maybe with Lassana Diarra playing also. They can play against the best Glastonbury line up.