Out of Love for the Music By Phoenix Bain
In the heart of Fan Tan Alley, one might become overwhelmed by all that the tiny space has to offer. Everything from barbershops to clothing stores line the alleyway that bursts with a vintage look, making it easy to miss some of the gems tucked away within the walls. One such gem is Turntable Records, where records, psychedelic posters and local ads fill the interior, leaving only enough room for the echoes of the music.
Gary Anderson and Ernie Brach opened the shop back in the 1970s as “something to do,” says Brach. “We just decided this is a fun way to take our hobby and one of the things we love most in life and turn it into something that can actually pay us.” Since then, the little shop has served Victoria immensely with its seemingly never-ending supply of music.
Vinyl has gained popularity over the last couple of years. Record stores are once again becoming the popular place to find music, and virtu- ally every genre is available on vinyl now. The question then becomes where has this rediscovered popularity come from?
“Vinyl, being analog, is the same way you hear everything in your everyday life, and so when you listen to a record it’s a big open sound with lots of space between the notes, and it’s not generally [very] compressed. When you listen to digital music it’s compressed, and it doesn’t have the openness that a record has,” says Brach. “Young people are starting [to buy vinyl] as young as 10 or 12 years old. [They have] listened to their CDs in digital all their life and they’ve listened somewhere to a record and decided that’s the sound they want to listen to. They can still fill their listening device with digital music and then they can come home and listen to ana- log sound. That’s brought a whole new set of customers in to buy records.”
Over the years, Turntable has hosted many special guests includ- ing Burton Cummings of The Guess Who and Krist Novoselic of Nirvana, but what’s really fun, says Brach, is “watching all the different musicians to come in through the years . . . mem- bers of Black Mountain used to shop in here before they even became Black Mountain. All the kids from Hot Hot Heat would be in here when they were kids. And so it’s actually fun watching them as their careers take off.”
What sets Turntable apart from the few other record stores in Victoria is the type of music Ander- son and Brach focus on. They enjoy
psychedelic and progressive rock, and although you can find almost anything in the store, they feature the “heavier and deeper underground,” according to Brach. “Everyday someone comes in and says, ‘Wow! What’s that? I’ve never heard that before,’ so that makes us a little different.”
So what does the future hold for this unique space in Victoria?
“For me, a successful day is first waking up and after that having people come in and have a really enjoyable time when they’re in here. And if I can do that and make a little money, I’m a happy guy,” says Brach. “I play many different styles of music all day, so when you walk in you can hear pretty much anything. It’s a fun place to come to hear something you’ve never heard before . . . we’ll never get rich doing this but we have a lot of fun doing it.”
Phoenix Bain is CFUV’s Campus Com- munications Coordinator and hosts U in the Ring Tuesdays from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.