This week we had a word with Chris from Repressed records, a record store that supports independent music in a big way. It can be hard keeping your financial head above deep debt water in times like this, when the only people still buying records en masse tend to be mindless pre-teens shilling out for Pink’s latest re-issue, but Chris is sticking to his indie guns.
“I’d have thought the top 40 fans would be the ones downloading the one song they like and the serious dudes would be after the albums. Either way, yep, it’s a bit of a grind sometimes, but I reckon we have a good shop that’s relevant and has something to offer. As long as my son’s getting fed and I can pay the mortgage, I’m happy to keep going. I’m not stupid enough to think the Angry Samoans on vinyl is going to make me rich, but I’d rather struggle a bit and stock that than be forced to stock Pink.”
The music industry has been slow to adapt to the changes wrought by the internet. CD sales are down and besides efforts to monetise individual tracks through online vendors, the only response from the industry has been the RIAA suing grandmothers for having unsecured wireless networks. One wonders what the industry could do to keep the physical product financially viable.
“I’d like to see cheaper CDs and vinyl, or at least more imaginative packaging to give people value for money. How much longer can you sell a piece of plastic and a disc for $30? If distros would sell to indie retailers at the same price they sell to chains we might use them more. The mark-ups on new CDs and vinyl are woeful too.. You need good turnover which makes it hard to sell weirder stuff. “
Last weekend The Straight Arrows played in the store, bringing a nice crowd and a good deal of exposure for the indie group.
“I think we’re well placed to put on shows and promote them well and do the right thing by the bands and the venues. This was our first show though but it’s something we’re excited about.
“Loads of indie bands and labels are out there in Sydney giving up their time and money to ensure we’re not drowning in money-hungry swine, putting on interesting shows and releasing interesting music. Bands like Naked On The Vague, Summonus, Deathcage; and labels Dualplover, RIP Society and Grindhead come to mind instantly. “
Despite the tempting call from major labels, there is definitely a thriving indie scene still out there, and Repressed Records do their damndest to delve deep into that diversity.
“Recently, I’ve liked King Khan and BBQ Show, Electric Wizard, Fucked Up and Bill Callaghan. Eddy Current Suppression Ring from Melbourne and Extortion from Perth are world class too. Some of my favourite local bands are The Bed Wettin Bad Boys, Holy Soul, Straight Arrows, Royal Headache, Deathcage, Repo Man, Taipan and Circle Pit.”
A plethora of acts, all out and about, playing to fans and newcomers alike. This is what music is all about, isn’t it? We’ve moved on from chants around the primitive campfire, but we can still sit around the global music flames, warming our hands to original tunes. It’s just a pity that talentless trailer trash makes it so big, but then mediocrity always seems gain you the largest slice of the pie.
“I sometimes feel sorry for someone like Britney Spears, but then I think ‘you’ve got nothing to say and get paid loads of money to trivialise what music is about,’ so drug addiction and lunacy are a small price to pay. I wish Zac Effron was a singer, cos I hate him too. I really don’t understand why people buy music over and over again that they will get over in a month.
“Given the power of omnipotence I would make Celine Dion stand front row at an Extortion gig until she cries. Punk bands would stay under 23 years old forever. Richard Pryor and Bill Hicks would come back to life to do a stand-up double header in Repressed Records and my son would be playing soccer for either Liverpool or Barcelona and the Socceroos, or would be Australia’s first world class rapper. “
Repressed Records are essentially performing a community service. Music is like that, it’s our culture and we deserve access to it. RR provide that access while mainstream stores capitalise on the big names with big egos.
“We do more punk, experimental, metal, alternative. Whatever ain’t boring and gets people excited. It’s not for part timers. It’s for lifers in any genre. We’re totally DIY and have a huge range of interesting stuff, without a financial backer. We made our own racks, painted our own walls, do our own accounts. The guys that work here love music more than anything. Nic is in 3 bands and has his own label. Ravi lost loads of money doing his own distro for a band that no one has ever heard of and will never hear of. We have bands in-store, put on shows and stock stuff you can’t find anywhere else. We think music can change your world and want to share that with people.”
Repressed Records. Harnessing the power of music to change the world for the better. You can find them at 356 King St, Newtown or at
Repressed Records - Music Feeds