It’s that time of year, folks; Record Store Day. The time when music fans and vinyl-lovers descend upon their local music store for their annual day of exclusive releases.

Having first kicked off back in 2008, Record Store Day has fast become something of an international holiday on the music-lover’s calendar.

With plenty of special releases hitting the shelves, vinyl fans and collectors come together to hit up independent stores around the world in hopes of finding this year’s most sought-after record.

Of course, we’ve already seen the annual list of special releases coming out on April 13th, so the question remains; what are Aussie retailers doing this year?

With Record Store Day just around the corner, we’ve spoken to record store owners all across the country, and in this edition, we’re chatting to Zach Powell of Oh! Jean Records in Melbourne to find out more about the store (which also doubles as a nifty coffee shop), and what’s on offer this year.

Check out this year’s Record Store Day ambassadors:

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Getting to know you: Who are you? What’s your store?

My name’s Zach, the store’s Oh! Jean Records based in Fitzroy, one of many. Specialising in new and second hand records, I guess based around the ethos of having a good time and a friendly disposition as a store – that’s probably our whole thing.

How long has your store been around for?

We’re coming up on three years in May, physical years. Before that, we were online for two-and-a-half years. So, all together, five, six years

Are there any certain genres you cater to at your store?

I think we probably lean towards having an extremely extensive New Zealand collection because of my background, and I guess my connection with labels and distributors and people in New Zealand that I can get stock from that others probably can’t get here.

For me, that’s my piece of pride, it’s the thing I wear on my sleeve the most. But I think we’re just kind of a diverse store. We don’t really focus on one thing or the other.

My kind of ethos is that it doesn’t matter what you’re into or what you want to listen to, nothing’s right or wrong, so we try to keep it quite open. I try to dig into the States and get more of the interesting pieces, but we’re pretty open. We don’t really specialise in one specific thing, I guess.

What has been the most memorable moment in the store’s history?

One time, Kid Congo was touring, and Spencer P. Jones came in and bought a bunch of Kid Congo records and shot the shit with me, and it was pretty cool afternoon. I mean, to have I guess somewhat of a hero to an extent, and now he’s no longer with us, so I guess that was a nice little moment.

Then I guess another really good highlight was having the No Age guys in here just digging with them and talking records and then they did this impromptu DJ set and we were just fucking around in here.

And that was a kind of rewarding to know that you’re doing  something right, I guess, knowing you’re on the right track.

The racks at Melbourne's Oh! Jean Records
The racks at Melbourne’s Oh! Jean Records

How did your love of music first begin?

Since I was a young fella, my old man’s a big passionate music guy, and he put me onto records when I was really young. And for some reason it sat with me, my brother didn’t care, he was more interested in cars and stuff of that nature, and I was the music person.

And I just started collecting records at a young age. So I would save up or get vouchers in New Zealand and buy one record, and that’s how the addiction came. And I liked to spend a lot of time by myself and I would use that time to read liner notes and just discover stuff that way, and that ignited something.

Then when I left New Zealand when I was 20/21, I moved overseas and it lit the fire even more so, so that’s how I got into music, and it’s just become an addiction. And then, over the years, it’s become quite ridiculous.

How did you get into the world of selling records?

About four or five years ago, my wife, Annie, used to run a café in the city, and used to sell coffee to a gentleman who was starting to talk about selling records.

And I met up with him at the Northcote Social Club to talk about what he was doing, and how he was doing impromptu pop-up shops and fairs, and I became a bit of a customer, and I sort of got to know him.

Then through that, it just became a natural progression of “do you want to be a partner?” and it was something I never really considered. I was like, “I’d love to do it”, but I was really never bothered about doing it. So then it came around and it was a bit of a snowball.

The shop came, and it was four of us to start, and it’s just me now. That’s sort of how it became. I met someone, they kind of incorporated me into it, and then I realised I really wanted to do it. And then I thought, “how can I change it to make it better?”

Thinking time: What’s your all-time favourite record?

Iggy Pop’s Raw Power. I carried that around with me when I lived in England for two-and-a-half years, it was a brand new copy, and it’s now beat to shit. So, Raw Power is one of my top albums of all time.

Weirdly enough, someone asked me to do this thing on Facebook asking my top ten records, and I thought it was a bit cheesy, but I got to thinking well, “what would I choose?”

But I think Stooges’ Raw Power is in there. I’m going to have to go say Nas’ Illmatic, because I think that album’s brilliant. But do I have one more? I’ll have to sit on that. I’m not sure.

Maybe something from New Zealand? Maybe like The Clean’s Vehicle, something like that. But I can’t define my top three. That’s really tough.

In fact, that’s a horrible question [laughs]. To be honest, it’s taken me 35 years to openly say Iggy Pop’s Raw Power, so I feel good about being able to do that, but I can’t say for the rest.

Check out The Stooges’ ‘Search And Destroy’:

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Do you also dabble in the world of record collecting? Any ‘white whales’ you’re still trying to track down?

Good question! I should have something off the top of my head, but I don’t. I’ll have to check my Discogs [laughs].

Really, for a simple answer, is to complete my entire New Zealand discography. That’s like A and B-sides, rarities, and 7-inches, and complete my whole thing, but my white whale right now… good question.

When I go digging, I always have something in mind, but I can’t think of anything right now.

What have you got planned for Record Store Day this year?

Freya Josephine Hollick is going to play in here, she does some cosmic, country-psych. She’s really cool. Ryan Downey will open for the day, we’ll have Matt Corby coming in just after noon for a signing session, and GONZO – on the Anti Fade labelwill be closing out the day.

It’ll be good to meet up with people, have a coffee, watch some live music, and maybe ramp it up a bit at the end and have a few beers, and just celebrate the day.

I’ve got a few big orders from New Zealand and from the States coming in this week, so there should be plenty of stock around for people to be able to find something that they’re after. And of course a lot of Record Store Day releases coming in.

Are there any releases you’re particularly excited for?

Yeah, there’s a nice Ramones release, I think it’s Live At The Palladium off the top of my head. I mean, the Ramones do a new release every year, it seems, but I always get tickled pink when they do something, ‘cause I like that.

To be fair, actually, this year I’ve been more interested in the soundtracks. Lost In Translation is a big one, just ‘cause I love that movie, and I have a massive relationship with Japan, so I just feel like that whole thing is quite cool.

And The Sopranos are doing one [The Sopranos 20th Anniversary Peppers & Eggs], which is kind of gimmicky, but it’s kind of cool because I loved that TV show. I think just the soundtracks are the ones I was really pumped for.

And a cool Devo boxset [This Is The Devo Box] which is kind of cool, as well, which would be kind of cool to have on the shelf at home, if I could find space.

South Park are doing a weird soundtrack [South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut] where, I think, one in every 300 have a bunch of signed shit, and then they fly you over to their studios, or something, and meet them, so its pretty cool. It’s expensive, but it comes with all sorts of lithographs, and what not, I think they chuck in stuff, potentially, too.

Some Sigur Rós stuff that people are excited about [22° Lunar Halo and Variations On Darkness], as well.

Check out Kevin Shields’ ‘City Girl’ from Lost In Translation:

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Record Store Day 2019

Saturday, April 13th, 2019

Ryan Downey
Matt Corby (Signing)
Freya Josephine Hollick
GONZO

Oh! Jean Records
276 Nicholson St, Fitzroy, VIC
(Open from 8am until “whenever it finishes”)