Record Store Day, now in its 8th year, has appeared to have been a resounding success for the two York-based stores that participated this year. The Inkwell on Gillygate and Earworm Records in Powell’s Yard, Goodramgate were on fine form on what was a crispy, sunny Saturday packed full of exclusive vinyl goodies, coffee, booze and live music.
The wonderful thing about both The Inkwell and Earworm Records is that they cater to different tastes in music. This was reflected in the selection of exclusive releases that each store chose to stock. Earworm focused on its home territory of techno, dub, house and electronica while Inkwell had releases from across the spectrum while also stocking resident York label Bad Paintings releases.
Earworm was first on the list and when we (my vinyl buddy and myself) arrived, it was clear that copious amounts of caffeine had been consumed by the time the early rush was over. A wide eyed Gav Burke, owner of Bison Coffee, was manically manning his coffee machine and urged us to “Get off yer faces on coffee, I have already!” followed soon after by “Don’t let me have any more coffee”. Inside, it was clear that proceedings were still in full swing a whole three hours after the initial exclusive releases had been snapped up. The shop was still buzzing, and this was only complemented by the live music that started around midday in the little sunlit courtyard outside. Behind the counter, where Bangarang’s Brian Walker was mixing, I caught up with Rich Clark, co-owner of Earworm for a few words about how the day was going: “It’s gone absolutely amazing really…with a lot of regulars and a lot of new faces”.
When we got to The Inkwell at around 2pm, it was much the same; the shop was still rammed and it was with great effort that I wriggled through the crowd clutching a copy The Asteroids No.4 to see Paul, owner of The Inkwell, and pay for my wares. The music had started and Luke Saxton had the small shop entranced with some excellent acoustic music. Chatting with Paul in the back room, it was a similar story as at Earworm; the day was going great and that was even before the booze had really started flowing. “It’s gone really well and we’ve tried to stock stuff that we knew we would sell at any time of the year; we haven’t gone for big name stuff and just stuff that has suited the shop.”
Both Rich and Paul countered criticism and debate over whether Record Store Day was becoming too commercialised or too big, as two Toronto record stores pulled out after someone raised the alarm that false advertisements were being run claiming that some stores had ‘exclusive’ releases despite the fact that customers had bought the exact same item elsewhere the same. As Rich conceded, “You’re always going to get somebody against the idea but I can see what they are saying but it depends on how you take it personally.” Closer to home, there are concerns that Record Store Day is potentially damaging small independent labels in the UK as pressing plants prioritise RSD exclusives over other labels. Paul followed a similar approach: “What we’ve tried to do is focus on small genuinely independent labels putting out interesting cool things and not Universal and Sony etc”.
Despite this moot point, it was clear that Record Store Day has been a cracking success in York for both Earworm and The Inkwell, making every wax lover thankful for the encompassing variety of independent stores available at York.
To see more photos from the day, please visit York Vision’s Flickr page here