Everyone wants to find their soulmate. Often, this faceless person is an ideal, a figment that lives only in our minds. Especially when the traits we assign him or her are difficult to match, like an enthusiasm for obscure music. Let's pause, rock nerds, and consider how many conversations with potential date-ables that went thusly:
Music Junkie: I really love music.
Potential Mate: Me too!
Music Junkie: I'm totally obsessed. I have tons of music, of all kinds.
Potential Mate: Me too!
Music Junkie: OK—top five records. Go!
That's where it falls apart. Potential Mate might rave about their Linkin Park or Dave Matthews Band station on Pandora. Their idea of "all kinds" of music is rock, country and rap. If they fancy themselves cool, they'll toss out the now-meaningless "indie."
So, it's rare that someone so obsessed with good music can find someone likewise obsessed and then become mutually obsessed. Diabolical Records proprietors Alana Boscan and Adam Tye are pretty lucky.
They met at a shared birthday party for Boscan and a mutual friend, and hit it off immediately. "Music is my cornerstone for conversations with people. It's like, 'Oh, you like good music? We can be friends,'" says Tye.
"Our mutual friend, we were independently friends with because of our taste in music," says Boscan. "But we'd never crossed paths before." They spent the evening talking about Nine Inch Nails and ... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. Aww ...
When Tye visited Boscan's home for the first time, he says, "it drove me crazy because she left all of her CDs stacked on top of each other. So when she went to go change, I started putting all the CDs in cases and alphabetizing them." He says this story is a good metaphor for how the two complement each other. "She wants to listen to everything, and I'm the one who says, 'But we need to categorize it. It has to be alphabetical!'"
"It's true," Boscan laughs, beaming at Tye.
Two years ago, when Tye had grown tired of working call-center jobs and his former employer, Slowtrain Records, was for sale, they decided to open Diabolical Records. "I figured I could be making crappy money working a crappy job, or I could make crappy money doing something I love," he says. Instead of buying the more roots-rock oriented Slowtrain, the pair borrowed money and opened an account with Revolver, a distributor of the garage, punk and psych albums they favor. They also began actively buying local releases, becoming one of the biggest local music supporters in town.
If you look around Diabolical's store on Edison Street in downtown Salt Lake City, it's as though the store is actually the home the two have made together since marrying in 2010. It's tidy and well-lit. Even the stickers on the counter are somewhat neatly spaced. It's cozy, but there's ample room to move among the shelves stocked mainly with vinyl records. It's a real mom-and-pop shop, just without the kids (so far). Unless you count the happy customers.
In a short time, Diabolical Records has built quite a following, as music geeks get to know the shop as a reliable source of musical goodness—live and recorded. When the store opened, Tye and Boscan held an in-store performance by School Dance, a friend's band from Philadelphia, and locals Onan Spurtz (now The Nods). That show bred other shows, and soon Diabolical started getting calls from booking agents for acts like The Coathangers and the Salad Boys.
It's a development as fortuitous, and even romantic, as Boscan and Tye's musical meetcute. The shows have helped to drive sales in a time when brick-and-mortar stores struggle. So, to accommodate the concerts, Diabolical's shelves are on casters, so they can be wheeled away to open up more floor space for the stage at the front of the store. "In two years, we've done 260 shows," Tye says. "And we're not planning on slowing down at all in 2016."
238 S. Edison St.
Note: This link was updated Jan. 4, 2016