About Wilderness Record Store
****WILDERNESS RECORD STORE WILL NOT BE STOCKING BLACK FRIDAY PRODUCTS****
Give us the background... when and why did your store Wilderness Records decide to open?
Wilderness Record Store opened on the 13th April 2019 (also RSD 2019) in Withington, which is a little village on the outskirts of Manchester city centre. We’re actually a bar, cafe and music venue as well as a record store so it’s a bit of a caters-to-all type space with a neighbourly ethos and approachable team. The building has actually been many different record stores for roughly thirty years.
My role is the Marketing and Events Coordinator for the store, so I run the social media, organise our promotional activities and curate the gigs we have here.
Our team are all approachable, keen to have a chat and of course, musically-inclined which in turn means all of us are or have been involved in the music industry before: Pops is a DJ and the lead singer of Love Scene, Kane is the lead singer and guitarist for THREADS, I am part of the three-person team behind Fair Play Festival and manage YANG, Amy is part of the Alphaville Records team, Mof is a DJ and member of Portable Radio as well as a solo artist, Matthew used to run Carefully Planned Festival and Georgia does freelance decor for music festivals.
There are a few varying music tastes too but in general we’re all very keen to talk about any music. I think there’s often a stigma that record store staff can be snooty about certain genres or artists, it might sound very “yeh sure” to say but that isn’t the way with our team. Anything goes.
We get a lot of different music fans in because we don’t really champion a specific genre. We have a rack for everything from Soul to Metal and everything in between. We do have one for local, DIY and independent acts and labels which might be our niche because we try to support the local scene as much as possible and stock their wares, rather than being strictly commercial.
Our gigs are generally local musicians too, being that we’re a small capacity space. The Manchester scene is so rife with talent, we feel it’s important to boost the musicians involved and give them as much of a platform as we can offer.
Yes! The very first record we sold on the day we opened was ‘2001’ by Dr. Dre and the last one we sold was Al Green’s Greatest Hits about ten minutes ago. The most memorable are when people are so very excited to find something they’ve been after for ages and find it here. There’s a couple of teenage boys that come in with their Dads; they’re just starting off their record collections and you can just see how interested and enamoured by music they are. It’s really lovely to know we’re now part of the development of their music tastes, as much as record stores were for all of us when we were younger.
All of us have always loved record stores, Pops and Mof are vinyl DJs, Kane used to work at the record store that was in the space we are in now and we all of course have an ever-growing record collection.
I used to visit Revo Records in Halifax and Vinyl Tap in Huddersfield when I was younger. I didn’t even have a record player, but I’d mentally note down what I would buy if I could and look through each rack to see different artists' names, albums and artwork. I almost thought of them as museums or galleries, I’d spend hours just going through everything but not buy it because “what was the point” or it was before I hit sixteen and got a job. I eventually bought a red, suitcase-like record player for a tenner (that probably scratched all my records) and a second hand copy of The Eagles ‘Hotel California’ LP which was one of my Dads favourite records - I’ve still got the record but the player has since been replaced.
I do go back to Revo Records and Vinyl Tap when I’m back in Yorkshire, they’re both really great independently run stores that have been open for a long time. There’s a tiny one in York called Earworm that I like too. I recently went to Stockport which led to SK1 Records and All Night Flight Records now being amongst my favourites. ANFR offers a lot of rare, niche records and one-offs, you end up leaving with something you’ve never heard of before, take it home just going off the description and it’s everything you wanted / didn’t know you needed.
I visited Smugglers Records in Bridlington and that was memorable just because of the shop itself: it’s a seaside shop that looks like nothing from the outside but once you head in, it’s like a little cave with pale blue walls filled with a huge amount of records in rack after rack round little twisted corners and alcoves.
The man who runs it works from a little hole in the wall with his register and if you look into the back behind him it looks like another little cave of records - so many shelves. When you’re in Smugglers it feels like you’re viewing his personal collection, but not in a bad way, he was keen to chat with us when we purchased some records. That’s a shop that I’d love to go back to and spend hours in amongst.
Stereolab at Albert Hall in Manchester in 2019. Primarily because I wasn’t actually meant to be at the gig: I was flyering outside for some other gigs and as Stereolab’s set started a man came over to me and offered me a ticket for free.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera which is probably the book that I own which I have re-read the most times.
Anything with Jack Nicholson is usually good with me, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest might be my favourite film actually.
I’ve always thought that it’d be best to listen to nothing too intense or that you’d listen to over and over and get bored of. Definitely mostly upbeat tracks, a few downbeat ones. In no particular order, I’d take My Girl by The Temptations, Wham Rap by Wham!, It’s My Party by Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin, 22 by Lily Allen, Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick by Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Hotel California by The Eagles, I’m His Girl by Friends, and Crying, Laughing, Loving, Lying by Labi Siffre.
Just going to go with the headliners: Bjork, Diana Ross and The Supremes, and Roisin Murphy.
This is like choosing between your children. There’s a record I’ve been wanting for a couple of years which is a compilation by the label Now-Again Records called ‘Forge Your Own Chains: Heavy Psychedelic Ballads and Dirges 1968-1974’. It’s perfect, it’s funk, it’s psych, it features the likes of Ofege, The Strangers and D.R. Hooker.