Today, Yelp revealed the Top 25 Records Stores in Canada and the U.S. recognition of Record Store Day. In further celebration of these local hubs and music hustlers we’re also dropping a spotlight on Darren Blase of Shake It Records, in Cincinnati, OH.
How has record store day effected your store over the past 12 years?
Outside of the obvious excitement of seeing fans score limited releases of their favorite artists, it is a great opportunity to bring new folks into the independent record store culture and show ’em how its done as well as a chance to build and give back to our community.
Every year we offer 10% OFF your entire RSD with a non perishable food item donation to the food pantry in our neighborhood. We’ve collected tons of food over the RSD years. This year we will also make a donation to the Music Resource Center which is a teen empowering program that uses music in their mentoring. We also partner up with a great brewery, Rhinegeist, who brew us an ale once a year: Slow Jam. We always see first time faces every RSD that end up becoming regular customers.
What’s your favorite album ever?
Phil Alvin “Unsung Stories”. He was the lead singer of the Blasters. It features Sun Ra, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, etc and is an album of covers that sent me down a rabbit hole of discovering music I never knew as a high school kid; such as Avant-garde jazz, New Orleans brass bands, topical folk and blues songs, traditional jazz and so on. Its kinda the reason I own a record store.
What most excites you about owning a record store?
I get to do what I want to do everyday and the more I learn about music, the less I realize I actually know! Keeps my brain moving & I still love making those random connections in liner notes that bring it all together. And, after 35 years of doing this, it is a huge part of my social life. I get to see people I truly enjoy and love having as a part of my life!
How do you feel about the future of record stores?
I think we will all need to keep bobbing and weaving and staying on our toes against the online folks & such. We need to be entrenched in our communities and take an active role. Our shop reissues out of print Cincinnati music and are finishing the build out on a rotating display area of out local music ephemera which will also evolve into a searchable online database. It makes us work harder; and because of that our store is better and we continue to grow! 2018 was our best bottom line year ever and this year looks to be the same.