"Despite the story about vinyl being more popular than ever, vinyl in electronic music has taken a different path," explained Geoff Maddock, who DJs under the moniker Cutups. "The genre used to be dominated by vinyl releases, but once digital music distribution became commonplace, the bottom fell out of electronic music records, and distributors and niche shops closed."
On Sat., March 14, Maddock is helping host an Electronic Music Record Fair at the Ace Hotel that will feature 22 vendors, ranging from current and former record shops to online dealers and people with large personal collections selling off some things.
"There are still labels out there doing vinyl, but it's a more boutique thing," he says. "But that aside: there's so much great music and history stored up in records, and no really good place to find them in person."
The goal of the Electronic Music Record Fair is to make those records easy to find, browse, and enjoy. Some vendors include Wrecked Distro (Maddock), Thac0 Records, Milk Records, Tony Fairchild's Loafzone, Rorer 714 Records, C.Scott's Rootin' Tootin' Record Round-Up, Grown Ass Folks, The DJ Connection, E2-E4 Records, Mostly Records, and EZ Lou.
Ahead of the fair, City Paper chatted with Maddock about the event and how to shop for vinyl.
Why the idea to focus on electronic music?
To put it simply: I love electronic music and I've been a record collector and DJ for [about] 25 years. I used to actively run a distro/online shop (Wrecked Distro).
The idea for holding an electronic music-centric record fair in specific mostly came directly from attending and vending at other regional record fairs, and not finding much, or finding that the people who visit them don't have much interest in electronic music.
And nothing against them — there's probably a bit of a chicken and the egg situation — are there not many people interested because there aren't many vendors, or not that many vendors because not that many people are interested? Chatting with other electronic music record collectors, they found the same situation, so it made sense to put together something for us in specific.
What recommendations would you have for someone who is unfamiliar with browsing through records?
Don't be afraid to ask questions from the shop owner. In most cases, they ordered or bought the records themselves, are fans, evangelists, and can give you recommendations.
Of course, handle with care, but be sure to take them out of the sleeve and inspect the surface for obvious scratches. We'll have some listening stations set up, so listen for yourself and discover what you like.
Are there any specific records you’re hoping to find?
I have a pretty eclectic taste and enjoy digging myself, but there are certain niche genres that I'm looking for: Finding good condition early '90s UK hardcore, proto-jungle or jungle, or Belgian new beat and Dutch gabber are what excite me the most. I've still got a long list of wants there. I expect I'll find something that I wasn't thinking of that I'll end up grabbing though.
What are you most excited about for the fair?
I'm stoked to just have this collection of record collectors and fans in one room together. Plenty of us know each other from events, but it's rare to be able to run into this many people during the day into this music.
We sort of lost the camaraderie of record-store culture when they mostly went away a decade-plus ago, and I think this should rekindle that at least for a day.
Anything else you feel is important to know?
We have a number of vendors bringing more than just vinyl — some CDs, mixtapes, and gear including modular synths, turntables, and mixers. I also plan on bringing some old flyers and stickers relating to the scene over the years that people can check out. So there's something for you if you're interested in electronic music but aren't a vinyl diehard. I also look at this as something that will happen again if we get a good response, so if you can't make it, keep an eye out on the event for future editions.