In collaboration with Kaneshii Vinyl Press
Who are you and your current job :
I opened up my store in 2015. As a teen, I worked at Planet Music in Virginia Beach. It was a massive store that carried mostly CDs with departments for each genre of music including a huge room dedicated entirely to Classical. The first department I worked in was Latin music which at the time I knew nothing about and have grown to love. Unable to speak Spanish, I quickly learned the body language of music distribution and started learning about all kinds of music I'd never heard. From there I worked at Skinnies Records in Norfolk, VA which has been in business since 1987. The owner Steve Athey is a friend and mentor and taught me the fundamentals of what I do at Wax Moon. It was there that I fell in love with listening to records and talking about music all day. I knew then that I had to open my own shop one day so I could spend all of my days listening to vinyl.
In which city are you located?
What musical styles do you specialize in?
We built our shop on Black Metal and Post-Punk when we started and branched out into neighboring genres Industrial/Doom Metal/etc as well as Classic Rock and Punk. Most recently we have started carrying a lot more Horror/Video Game soundtracks and Hip-Hop. We have a small selection of Jazz, Funk, and International that I look forward to growing.
Can you give a small tour of the music scene in your town?
Richmond is a small city but there is so much happening. There is a show to go to any night of the week. I think it has always had a strong punk/metal/indie scene but lately, I'm seeing artists of all genres you can think of popping up. As far as venues go: Fallout is a great place for goth/industrial, Wonderland for metal, Bandito's for punk, and Strange Matter brings all kinds of shows. There are also a handful of other record shops and they all have something unique to offer.
What's it like working in a record shop?
Every day is unique and you never know what kinds of people you will meet and what kinds of music you will learn about. It's been the most incredible and challenging journey in my life.
What mind-blowing album are you listing right now?
At this current moment, I'm spinning Boogie Down Productions "Criminal Minded" There's something really perfect about the pace of this album. It sounds like classic hip-hop but certain parts of it almost modern in a way.
What does it take for an indie record shop to survive?
It takes low overhead first and foremost and beyond that creating/promoting a brand that people connect with. I opened up shop with only 2 bins of records and open only 2 days a week for the first half year or so. I kept my full-time job until sales reached a point where I was comfortable not working full time. Even now I am always doing other things on the side. In terms of staying in business the most important thing I've learned is to not bite off more than you can chew. Sometimes sales are really good and I'll place a massive order only for business to slow down some. Its all about knowing when and what to invest in and knowing when not to take risks in terms of ordering wholesale. The profit margins are also very slim with new records so used is really where the money is. Also, limit yourself to only carrying records I think limits your business as many people that enjoy music don't buy physical media. So I carry band shirts, novelty items, and even VHS tapes.
Tips for musicians launching an album?
Believe in what you are doing. Make music that you want to hear, not what you think people want to hear. There will be many challenges along the way and I think it is best to take each step at a time. Set realistic goals and achieve one at a time. Write songs. Record songs. Put out your own record. Promote. Distribute. If you are into performing a live play in other cities (not just your hometown). I think it's important to do as much as you can yourself and enjoy what you are doing.
5 local musician to check out!
Sadartha, Darkrites, Sacred Teachers, Appalling, Lair
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Richmond [Virginia] city guide x Andrew Griimoiire
Café | Black Hand Coffee, best way to start the day
Restaurant | Beijing on Grove has the best Chinese in town and I'm also looking forward to checking out Pizza & Beer of Richmond when it opens in May!
Shopping | Shamblin Shop/Rex Vintage has a unique selection of handmade pottery and vintage clothing
Grocery Store | Tokyo Market, such a charming store with great selection of Japanese foods.
Other | The Circuit is the place for pinball/arcade games.