weekend a small national event will take place in every state, aimed
to show appreciation to those who still love the sound of vinyl, the
smell of a CD, and the need for patches and posters of our favorite
--- With a long list of privately owned record shops across the U.S. taking part in the event, including quite a number of them here in the state of Utah; the stores will be holding day-long events with performing artists, food, giveaways and more. All in the celebration of non-corporate stores still going strong (and in some cases being very successful) in a big-box world. For this year's event, I decided to talk to one of my favorites places that signed up to represent the SLC. The popular downtown location of Slowtrain! I got a chance to talk to the owners about the event and various other topics before Saturday's festivities took place.
Anna & Chris Brozek
Gavin: Tell us a little about yourselves.
Anna: We are Chris and Anna Brozek. We moved to SLC almost 2 years ago so we could open our own record store, Slowtrain.
Gavin: How has Slowtrain been doing?
Chris: Things have been going very well for us here at Slowtrain. We’re maintaining the support of our regular customers, while constantly gaining new business each month.
Anna: We really couldn’t ask for much more.
Gavin: What new things have you been doing lately?
Chris: We’ve actually just been invited to join a national coalition of independent stores called AIMS (Alliance of Independent Media Stores) which is pretty exciting for us. We’ll be getting a lot more exclusive releases and many more value add-ons for customers.
Anna: Plus we’ve been gearing up for Record Store Day on Saturday, April 19. The event has taken on a life of its own and we have been just trying to keep up.
Gavin: Sweet. How has selling concert tickets worked out for you?
Chris: We enjoy selling tickets to shows just to keep the price down for customers, and to help out local promoters S&S Presents. They’ve been bringing some amazing shows to town, which in turn has brought new customers to our store to buy those tickets. It seems to be a win-win situation for us and S&S Presents. We’re really happy with how it’s turned out so far.
Gavin: How about your participation in Gallery Stroll, how has that gone for you?
Chris: Gallery Stroll has been fun for us. We owe all of our Gallery Stroll “success” to Erin Potter (one half of the screen printing duo, Potter Press). She’s been curating the space for us and has displayed some amazing artists for us – most of them selling really affordable pieces of art. We’re thankful for all of her hard work with Gallery Stroll.
Anna: We have also had a lot of fun hosting live music on Gallery Stroll nights. This coming stroll on Friday, April 18, we’ll have Matt Hopper playing an intimate show. It is just so nice to have art and music go hand in hand at Slowtrain.
Gavin: You've been getting a lot of attention since opening. What do you think is the difference between your store and other local shops?
Chris: I can’t really say what other shops are or aren’t doing. We’re just doing something we love, and we’re getting positive support in return.
Anna: Giving back to the community has always been important to us. We want our store to be more than just a business; we really want it to be fully integrated into the SLC music scene. And, I think, our dedication to the scene has really helped us to stand out amongst other stores in town.
Gavin: What's your take on the local music scene, both good and bad?
Chris: We’re both really impressed with the local music scene. There’s so much going on here, it’s hard to pay attention to everything that’s going on... but from what we know of it, we don’t have anything but great things to say about it. Not only is there a lot of diversity in the styles of music being made here, but Salt Lake has several local labels that are getting better and better with each release.
Gavin: Do you feel there's anything that could be done to make it bigger?
Chris: I honestly think things are going in the right direction for local music.
Anna: It appears that the scene will just continue to grow. Bands like The Devil Whale, Future Of The Ghost, and Band Of Annuals are going on long tours across the country. And touring really helps make a band, and the city they are from, recognizable. It also helps other bands in SLC who will eventually want to tour too. It is almost as if they are laying down the tracks for future successes right now. It is pretty exciting.
Gavin: Are there any local acts you feel are a standout so far in 2008?
Chris: Oh wow.... where do I start? There’s a new release by The Devil Whale (formerly Palomino) which I’m really enjoying; Calico is working on a new record that should be released in early summer/late spring that I’m really looking forward to Band Of Annuals have mentioned that they’ll be recording soon, The Future Of The Ghost is returning from tour soon and they’re amazing live, and we should see new releases from Vile Blue Shades and The Wolfs this year which I’m sure will be incredible. There’s so much more, but I’m afraid I’m rambling on at this point.
Gavin: Tell us a little about Record Store Day and what you've got planned for the event.
Chris: Record Store Day is Saturday, April 19, and it will be truly amazing! It’s an opportunity for us little independent record stores across the country to unite and celebrate our existence together, and in turn, give back to our loyal customers with lots of free stuff and hefty discounts.
Anna: There are literally hundreds of independent record stores celebrating across the country.
Chris: We’ll have food, live music, free giveaways, raffles, and 15% off all non-sale items in the store. We’ll start giving out free incredible goodie-bags with purchases when we open at 11AM on a first come first serve basis, and then the food-
Anna: Delicious BBQ sandwiches from KRCL’s Circus Brown.
Chris: That will be here around Noon, and then the live music starts at 1PM. We’re proud of the items we we’re able to collect from local businesses and artists, and hope that people are as excited to receive these gifts as we are to give them.
Anna: There are prints from Leia Bell, hand-made finger-puppets, tickets from 24tix.com and S&S Presents, gifts from Ken Sanders, and on and on... For a more detailed description of the events and a list of some of the items we are giving away visit our website.
Gavin: Is there anything more we can look forward to from Slowtrain this year?
Chris: Oh I hope so! We have a few things planned but we’re still working out the logistics of everything. We’re positive that the AIMS coalition that we’re now a part of will bring a lot of exciting things to the store this year. We’ll all just have to wait and see what happens next.
Anna: But customers can also expect a lot of the same great music paired with great customer service. We don’t plan on changing that anytime soon!
Gavin: Nice. Anything you'd like to plug?
Chris: Leia Bell is opening a poster gallery in our basement within the next month, and we couldn’t be more thrilled about this. She’s going to sell concert posters, prints and other limited edition collectibles by many artists you may or may not already know of. The store is called Signed & Numbered, and will be available to preview on this month's Gallery Stroll, Friday, April 18, and you’ll be hearing about the grand opening party very soon.