Interview with Emily Crabtree of ???
Help Emily Crabtree choose a name for her new record store! You can e-mail Emily with your pick at firstname.lastname@example.org. She brought a list of names with her to the interview, which are as follows: Perpetua Records, Spindrift Music, Vortex Vinyl, Siren Songs Music, Wild Coast Records, Sunset Music, Tsunami Sounds, or Gem & Wave Records. Or feel free to suggest your own!
TYG: Let's get this started!
Emily: Alright! I'm pulling up my list. I didn't know if you'd done this before with your paper, but I was hoping you'd be up for it, to have a little contest of sorts, and to give my e-mail to people and have a list of names. I'm really struggling! I don't have a name yet, but I brought my list, and it's long. My creative writing classes are paying off, but unfortunately making it much harder to narrow down! [laughs] My hope is that you would be up for asking your readers to e-mail me what they think is a good name.
Emily: So I was here [at the Drift Inn] maybe two months ago, brainstorming and writing down ideas, and this very lovely couple beside me were like, "What are you doing, writing in a book? Who does that anymore?" And I was like, "Well, I do. And I'm doing it because I'm opening a record store!" They gasped, and said, "Oh, did you hear? Vinyl sales are actually surpassing sales of CD's, and they've never really gone away." As someone who's been very much in the music industry on the low end, underground scene, records are always there, and tapes! In one of my old bands, if we hadn't made tapes we would have gone broke on tour. But instead, we were able to sell them, and people could hold them in their hand. There's a really sweet thing about that that makes people have more intention with their music. That's why I love the idea. So each name could be either Records, Vinyl, or Music. So I'm trying to decide which one. People love alliteration. But their suggestion was that if I use Vinyl, people these days don't know how to spell. [laughs] And I was like, "So sad!" but also, "That is true..." So, there's that.
TYG: My two favorites are Perpetua Records and Spindrift Music!
Emily: Because I want the name to be simply something that people just know as Yachats. Because I want to start the business to make our community be more vibrant. That's why I want folks to be able to weigh in if they feel like it.
TYG-Editorial Assistant: So why do you want to open a record store?
Emily: Because I love music. And because I thought about if I'm just sitting in a shop, what would I want to have around me that would never be boring, that would ceaselessly be entertaining? And it's music, to me. And when you have a space that has music, you can do so much more to have live music. Or even just simple things: I'm going to have a speaker that will play out to the street—because I want people to have people be like [snaps fingers], "Oh, what is that?" and to feel a groove and feel good about their day. To me, I think that music is this beautiful kind of art that involves every other kind of art. There's the physical record that you hold in your hand, the person that made the art on the sleeve; the people that wrote that poetry; the musicians that recorded it—I just think that it's this beautiful epicenter that's all braided together to create something that we all can enjoy. And I've been on people's records, and recorded music, and been in my own bands—and that was so satisfying, a distinct feeling that I didn't get anywhere else in my life. My hope is that I can kind of cultivate that for Yachats.
TYG-EA: Why vinyl?
Emily: Good question! [laughs] I guess my earliest memories were my father's vinyl collection. He had a big papa-san chair and a huge 70's headphone set, and I think I was around twelve, when I really just needed some space to myself, to not have to listen to all the noise in the world, and to really be able to just center and focus and sort of trip out. And it was sitting there for hours and having that space given to me was just ... Even the tactile [memory], the way it feels to just pull it out: it's really a good feeling! And I love records because they don't become trash, like a CD does. Even the ones that become scratched—I'm refurbishing the space, and I'm going to use those. You can make cute stuff out of them, shoot a BB gun at them... [laughs] And there's this warmth to it—it takes a little more intentionality, which I really like. You can't just... I can be somewhat ADD, so a record really makes me focus. I can get up and move around if I want, but... just let it ride. Just let it ride, you know? I like that. It just feels like something I hope other people can get back into, as well... Generationally, the music industry sort of tried to tamp down the fact that people were even still collecting records. I love people being nerdy about the thing they love. Folks have always been like that about records.
TYG: Nowadays, people have pretty much given that up, in terms of the "trying to suppress it." I mean, we bought a new record player! It's actually quite a cool piece—it's got a 4-way function: radio, tape, CD, and records.
Emily: They're great! My hope is that it will help generationally bond people a little again. When I tell people I'm doing this, every age person seems to have an emotional connection to that idea. A lot of people are like, "Oh, I wish I'd never given away my record collection—it makes me think of this time in my life..." and I'm like, "Well then, come in, and let's do that again for you!" So I'll always have refurbished, vintage record players for sale. And I want people to be like, "Oh, I haven't listened to Fleetwood Mac's Tusk in forever!" and I can say, "Well, you should, because there are some hilarious jammers on there." Like where they are gets so weird—I think on that album they hired an entire marching band, and rented out a football stadium? I was like "Oh my god, you guys have too much money." I'm glad they did it, but the songs are ridiculous. I want people to have that time, I think. And especially in a world where everything is so digital, here's a moment where you don't have to be. So, we'll see! I'm definitely not getting into it to make my millions! [laughs]
TYG-EA: So, are you thinking mostly new, or used, or...?
Emily: So right now, I have a good friend that runs a record store in Portland—shout out to Jared! I put a call out on Facebook (of all places), and he got back to me. He owns Clinton Street Record and Stereo and has always done really well. He's a DJ, and sells refurbished audio equipment. He said he looked through all of his records for doubles, and he said, "I've got a great deal for you, I want to help your company, we've been friends for a long time and I really believe in your vision." So I bought my first big bulk amount. So up there in the space right now I have over 250 records. I have 100 45's, and 200 tapes. I like to think I have good taste in music, so I'm going through my own record collection, and I'm going to release some things that I know I couldn't live without at one point, but it's okay—I don't need to have two Nancy Sinatra records that have the same songs in different orders. I can pick the one I want, or maybe I'll sell that one, because there's a Lee Hazlewood/Nancy Sinatra record that has duets. It's one of my favorite records ever, and I'm like, I could never get rid of it. But the idea of selling it to someone who will either find it fresh and new, or someone who already loved that music and is getting to know it again, is a way to feel really good about cathartically getting rid of things I love.
TYG: It's like a way to pass it on.
Emily: Right! Tom, my husband, asked "[in a dramatically tearful tone] Are you going to sell all our beautiful records? " "Yes, baby, I am." Not all of them, but maybe. It's like, maybe it was my favorite sweater for five years, but I haven't worn it in two. You can pass it on, you know. [laughs]
(This portion of the interview is the continuing part from December 2019's issue.)
Emily: So I'm always looking for new inventory. Which is fun! I love going to estate sales and thrift stores, or just seeing what collections people have. It's like treasure hunting!
TYG-EA: So where is this going to be, and when is it going to open?
Emily: Good question. It is above the guitar shop, which is exciting because Kathy and Frank are two incredible people who are new to our community—I love that I can buy my guitar strings somewhere in town! I approached them, and I was like, "You know, I would love to help you keep your shop open, and have it be fruitful, and get people in here. I have a good idea! They were just so kind and receptive to it. This is something I've been wanting to do for so long! When you see your cards laid out and you know what they are, and when you see them turn over and that things are possible, it's very exciting. So above there, inside the main shop, is a beautiful, kind of loft space with honey-colored wood. My friend Dusty is an incredible carpenter, and he just finished a gorgeous, nice, long, wide window seat, so that will be the reading nook. I'm going to sell records—it's a records, music shop—but I'm also going to sell book. I have an incredible, famous literature collection that I've already read twice! I can pass those on. And I think the beautiful thing about music is it's art, and then other media sit beside it really well. Then there's something for everyone. In a time like this, you kind of have to try to find a lot of niches and fill them all. [laughs]
TYG: I was just thinking: Earlier, you were saying that you were hopefully going to have music playing the whole time, even out to the street... You may wish to check out some videos of a mall in London called Pop Brixton. It's a very different looking space, but I think the atmosphere is already pretty similar.
TYG-EA: It's this giant warren made mostly out of shipping containers. Dozens of different places to eat and to shop.
TYG: And each one of them is a full shop in a 10x20' container.
Emily: I see what you mean, because that whole little corner is becoming its own little beautiful entity, with Dark Water—again, incredible people...
TYG: And it has been that, previously!
Emily: Yes! I'm excited to do that.
TYG: And this is a particularly interesting one, because I haven't seen it before, in that it has a residence as well! So I hope all the best for that group, because that's amazing! I'm going into civil planning, and it's not something I'd considered before, but actually, thinking about it from an efficiency perspective, especially in today's somewhat minimalist society, it's an incredibly lucrative and important invention that I think we're getting to witness the very start of.
Emily: Yes! It's really great that we all get to share space.
TYG: I would not be surprised if in 30, 40, 50 years, this will be what cities are built like, new areas of cities—instead of having tall apartment buildings, are low-rise, out a ways, creating new spaces, a low-rise commercial, industrial, and residential mix.
Emily: Yes. I definitely like the mixture of all of us, because then we can bring each other business. To me, the whole thing about music is that it's something you can enjoy very personally, or it's something you can enjoy communally. I hope that I can help bring people through their shops. And just to have that beautiful patio, which I like to create a million ideas and see what sticks. My hope is, eventually, on Sundays with the Farmer's Market, to always have live music out there. Just to give people a space to sit and enjoy their pastry or whatever it is that they got from the Farmer's Market, to bring a little bit more of a communal, cultural experience. I think we all really deserve to have fun together.
TYG-EA: When are you planning to be open?
Emily: Well, that's a good question. I'm hoping this month. I'm someone who typically [finds it] hard to focus on a project if I don't see the perfect timeline, and realizing that you also have to just let things happen as they do, and to be proud of your project and stick with it no matter how it unfolds. [...] I have a friend who's building really beautiful record cases with that nice honey-wood vibe. I know where everything goes, I just have to get there. This winter I'm not at Ona [Restaurant.] I'll be back in the Spring, because I love it there, but to be able to have the opportunity to have space and time to create something of me, but for everyone, is my favorite kind of project. It's exciting to have that time. The winter is a vaguely slow time, but here at the coast I feel like it's a gestational period, to really set intentions with what we want to do. [...] Then I just get to sit and listen to music all day! [laughter] I'm really excited because Midtown Guitars have beautiful guitars in there, and to be around such beautiful objects, it can really create so much energy. It will be really fun. And I've worked in a lot of people's shops—when you like what you're around, you're able to help sell it and pass it on to the people that need it. I've been working with a lot of different artists from up and down the coast—I have a friend from Los Angeles who's an incredible artist, some friends in Portland, so there will be cool rock and roll art prints that are handmade and hand-printed. I have a friend who has a new, vintage rock and roll t-shirt company. So the revenue for me will be from the records that I sell, but everything else is probably going to be consignment for local artists. I want people to be able to have a space to be seen!
TYG-EA: Are you planning to buy as well as sell records?
Emily: Yes! Perhaps not right away, because there won't be enough revenue yet, but yes, eventually. And music stuff too! It's always great to do buy-sell-trade. Actually, in Portland, there's "Trade Up Music," two locations—it's my favorite place. They let you go in and play the guitars, and like when I was in my early 20's, I couldn't afford to buy that pedal I wanted, they would do lay-away. That's a really sweet place. And I like the idea of having someone need to sell this pedal because they need to make ends meet, or they want a new one... Maybe we can do that. I'll definitely always want to sell fun stuff, like even if I find a beautiful vintage camera. I'll put it in my shop, because to me, they all fit together.
TYG-EA: Right! It's your shop, you can do what you want!
Emily: My own perfume line, my own sunglasses line... [lots of laughter] One of the things I hope to do with my inventory is to have a little card with each one, typed out, about the artist and why they're important in music history. Because a lot of people get a little overwhelmed at a record store, because they don't know. "What is this record? Why should I buy Lene Lovich?" And I'm like, "Oh! She's incredible!
TYG-EA: "Lucky Number!"
Emily: "My lucky number's one..." She's so good!
TYG-EA: That was one of the first videos I ever saw!
Emily: [sings some more] She's like a palatable Nina Hagen. [...] But my hope is that I have these little information [cards] in each record, then people can get a little idea. Like the Kingsmen Trio: "Local restauranteur Michelle's father helped produce this record in a club in Portland." You know, really fun facts that might make people [go from] "Well, I don't know!" to "Woah, that's sounds cool!" There will be a listening station in the shop as well, in a nice, cozy chair, and nice, big headphones, because that feeling I talked about, the nostalgia, the coziness of listening to records: I want to recreate that for people. It'll be fun.
TYG: Alright, well thank you so very much!
Emily: Yes, it was really fun, I really appreciate it!