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Record store strikes a chord with music lovers

March 23, 2024 BY

Wray wants to make exploring new music and buying records as accessible as possible.

Josh Wray wants to make exploring new music and buying records as accessible as possible.

Over the Labour Day long weekend, the 26-year-old opened J Wray Records, a vinyl lovers haven, in Torquay.

Housed in a repurposed shipping container in Baines Crescent, the shop offers music enthusiasts an intimate browsing experience, where they can discuss their interests with each other.

Visitors can also enjoy Wray’s rotating soundtrack of tunes, which span a variety of artists and genres, along with some rare gems from his personal collection.

“People just love the inclusiveness of it all,” he said.

“They come in and they don’t feel too overwhelmed. They know that there’s everything here in front of them.

“It’s almost impossible to [ignore each other] when you’re in a space like this, so when other people come in, they’re really friendly, and chat with each other and talk about music while they’re here, which is really cool.”

 

But don’t let the compactness of the space fool you – there are thousands of records to peruse.

New titles are added to the shelves every couple of days and Wray is happy to source any requested titles.

Entry model turntables for those new to vinyl are also available, with higher-end models and speakers on the cards for the near future.

The range of records on offer is broad, spanning from the popular to the obscure, retro to contemporary, and includes a range of second-hand albums.

The store’s opening marks an exciting undertaking for Wray, who first begun selling CDs and records from his personal collection online during the pandemic to create an income stream.

As his website became more established, Wray was soon selling thousands of records each month, eventually expanding to a stall at the Geelong Vintage Market in North Geelong.

“It was absurd,” he said.

“It just made me want to try to find a shop this year because there was such a huge interest with people wanting to buy them online, and when I started my stall, people wanting more.”

Wray hopes the shop’s collection will inspire people of all generations and he can play a role in introducing his visitors to new music.

“If someone shows me an artist or a record that they might like, I can definitely show them different avenues and different albums that they might also like,” he said.

As a fan of alternative rock, Wray’s first recommendation to fellow music lovers is American band Hum, who were active predominantly through the 1990s.

“There’s a genre called shoegaze, which is really cool,” Wray said.

“It’s a lot of fuzzy, reverby, distorted guitars and heavy bass and drums, and there’s some really cool sounds going on when it comes to Hum’s music.

The transformed shipping container provides visitors an intimate shopping experience.

 

“They got swallowed up by some bigger known bands in the ’90s, but Hum is a band that I would recommend to those who like that same kind of music that I do.”

As the vinyl resurgence continues, Wray said it had been exciting to see more people, especially teenagers, wanting to experiment with the format and explore new ways to enjoy the music they love.

“I want to just try to find people that are wanting to learn more about records and music, not just the ones that have already started to collect.

He said for many, vinyl offered a more immersive way to experience music.

“You can have this really cool record player and speakers and amplifiers to enhance the listening experience – it’s just something you can’t enjoy any other way.

“If you chucked on a CD, or listen through your phone, there’s things you might not pick up on, whereas if you listen to it through a record, there’s some really small, little intricate things that artists put in records.”

 

He said teenagers, in particular, had begun to discover that buying records was “a cool way to collect music”.

“People like the lyric sheets that they add in, and booklets, and some albums open up like a gatefold, so you can see inside the cover.”

He said it allowed listeners to “dive into the record a little bit more” and appreciate the details included.

As record sales across the country continue to rise year-on-year, however, so too does their price.

“The price point of records, especially in the last three to four years has kind of surged up a little bit,” Wray said.

“There’s been some records that are going for triple figures when it just comes to a standard release, so there’s some big retailers and businesses out there that are taking the most out of customers which is sad.

“I’ve just been trying to make it a lot easier for people to collect music and helping them out by trying to keep the prices as low as possible.”

J Wray Records is at 28 Baines Crescent, Torquay.

For more information, head to jwrayrecords.com

 

 

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