In collaboration with Kaneshii Vinyl Press
I’m Luc Swaenen. I run this 300m2 behemoth of a shop (with Bar !!) together with my partner in crime Michel Petit (who’s currently kinda MIA, as we’ve opened a second shop in Herzogenrath, Germany as well. In our Bar (capacity 99) we have a stage and full PA where we do on avg 2, 3 shows a week as well.
In which city are you located?
Antwerp baby… Most beautiful city in the world… Everything you want in walking distance…
What musical styles do you specialize in?
Rock, metal & more… Basically, it needs a guitar so we can justify putting it in the shop.
Can you give a small tour of the music scene in your town?
Antwerp (& Belgium) is spoiled… in Antwerp itself, there are so many places where you can find live music… From bars who specialize in certain genres up to mega concert halls (20.000+ capacity) like Sportpaleis (Top 3 worldwide busiest venue with 3 to 5 shows a week). And since you can drive from one side of Belgium to the other side in 2 hours (if lucky!) you’ll find no lack in venues.. basically, if you wanna hear live music on any given day.. you can… Belgium music scene has also been exploding the last 10 years. So now we have more to offer than ‘The Singing Nun’…
What’s it like working in a record shop?
I don’t work. I could not spend 70/90 hours a week ‘working’.. there are so many things to do.. but hey.. how many people can say that they don’t work and enjoy themselves every day?
What mind-blowing album are you listing right now?
Me personally .. I keep going back to the classics from the 70’s & 80’s in the rock/metal genre… Kiss, Maiden, ‘Tallica.. And from the last 10 years or so, Rival Sons .. (and lots of other Dave Cobb produced stuff..)… Expect the band to ‘explode’ somewhere by the end of the year as they’ve just signed with ‘Atlantic Records’
What does it take for an indie record shop to survive?
Money, Loud Mouth, Balls & Stamina… Money because you need to invest in so many things (incl people, as you can’t do this alone)… Loud Mouth because everyone you meet has to know what you’re doing and why… You just need to get yourself out there… Balls… Again, anyone, I think that could have a relation with (bands, labels, distributors, whoever) which can benefit both of us gets my attention… So they get to know me when I go after them. Stamina… It’s 24/7.. 365
Tips for musicians launching an album?
Here’s my take… Digital .. Do it streaming only as a promotional tool..NO SELLING! .. Physical… Make sure you got (worldwide) distribution… These days bands can record a killer album on tour in the back of the van… But as long as you don’t find it in shops.. you do not exist to the outside world… Self-release? That’s preaching to the converted… And make sure you get worldwide deals… Again it’s about money… I have to make it keep this thing afloat… So don’t think I’m gonna risk it by ordering a US import of an unknown/less known band.. too expensive… I need to get it through local/European distribution. And give something extra to the people who spend hard earned money on physical releases.
5 local musician to check out!
Diablo Blvd | future of Belgian Metal
Deus. | Kings of indie
Fireforce | Can’t get more classic metal than this
Mauro Pawlowski | Mauro Antonio Pawlowski is one of the key figures in the Belgian contemporary music scene
Helmut Lotti | My good friend Helmut Lotti whose a secret metalhead.. and is the biggest rock n roll animal from Belgium.. (Not Joking)