Support Your Local Record Store Day / by Neil Alexander

Listening to Radio 6 earlier (I don’t remember which show - it’s on all day in my house, mostly) I was reminded that this Saturday is Record Store Day. Music has and always will play a massive part in my life. I’ll happily listen to just about anything and have a love of all things from cello concertos to hard house, highland flings to heavy rock. Any just about anything in-between. I love the freedom of expression that comes with music and the joy exuded from a performer in the live environment. Often their love of what they do and create is palpable. And they can demonstrate that night after night to a different city every time. 
I think I’m probably jealous. The ability the whip up and take down emotion with a few well chosen strings and beats is, for me, amazing. Some of you may know that before kids came into my life, I DJ’d a bit. Nightclubs, bars, band tour support, it was a blast. Times I will never forget, those I can remember anyway. But whilst playing two records, my aim was never to get from the first to the second as quickly as possible, it was always to try and make a third out of the join. To create something different. Something the crowd weren’t expecting. It’s not easy. Well I suppose now, given that you can mix and sample music on everything from a pc to a phone, things have probably changed somewhat. But the essence hasn’t. Working out those beats of 16, marking vinyl with the chalk pencil where the break started and ultimately creating something new were what I was about. And I loved it.

And for many years that creative outlet was everything. I’d spend hours upon hours in my music room perfecting a mix. I knew that two records could work together. It was all a matter of working out what happened where in each tune and how best to mix them. I’d go over and over it until I knew it backwards. Come Saturday night, with the adrenaline and what have you, I’d say more often than not I got ’em right. But that was mixing back then. It was vinyl. It was real time. Screw it up and it was like granny falling down the stairs, painfully. 

It was the Hacienda in Manchester and the indie music scene that thrived at the time that really formed my music tastes for a long time to come. And still to this day. Not a day goes by when hearing records like  The Charlatans Weirdo or the Happy Mondays Lazyitis fails to send a shiver down my spine. 

Thank the Lord for the Haçienda, Factory Records,Eastern Bloc, Dead Dead Good, Omega Music, the list goes on and on and on. Independents each and very one of them. 

Music as an art form is everywhere. It is key to most of our lives whether we realise it or not, and unfortunately as in too many other area of our lives it is being swallowed up by the mass market, homogenised, watered down and fed back to us in return for a pittance for the creator in the first place. Long live the independent  and everything it stands for.

Get yourself down to your local independent record store this Saturday.