As independent record store Clarity Records braces for another marathon Record Store Day in Adelaide, its co-owner Matt ‘Footy’ Horvath is taking the analogue revival online.
“We launched a webstore about a week ago, just because we felt in Australia there’s not really a one stop shop for Australian music,” Horvath tells The Adelaide Review. “There’s just so many great records coming out around Australia we thought it would be great to create one place for them all.”
In addition to the physical store itself, Clarity’s record label arm and annual music festival A Day of Clarity has made it an important part of the local and national music scene. “Being a label and also playing in bands and putting on shows and festivals means we’ve been able to establish a lot of connections with bands and labels around Australia – essentially make friends with a lot of people,” he explais. “That’s another cool thing about it – you’re helping your band’s friends and albums out as well as playing a role in Australian music.”
Horvath leads me upstairs to an office above the store’s Pulteney Street shopfront. The relatively bare space already houses over 1,000 records in stock, some neatly folded band shirts and a small desk with coloured markers and paper – an all-important workstation for his and co-owner Laura Horvath’s daughter.
Like Big Star Records and many others before it, Clarity’s local artists rack has been important way for homegrown artists to get their releases in front of casually browsing music lovers. But while the record store model might rely on a love of analogue, the world of online retailing is a chance to make a new version of the ‘Australian Bands’ section – with a much wider reach.
“Everyone has their own site, labels and bands, but I thought it would be cool to have them all in one place,” he says. “We went out and sought as much Australian released vinyl as we could – it took a long time. There’s a lot of independent artists we contacted, and some labels sent us their whole back catalogues.”
As we speak Horvath lugs large crates of records into place in preparation of their biggest, and most tiring day of the year, Record Store Day on April 13. Like the last few years, this Saturday will see the store open for the entire 24 hours from midnight to midnight. “When we first opened was record store day in 2010, there weren’t that many releases, there definitely wasn’t anyone queuing up to see what we got. We maybe had one enquiry for the day. But every year since then it’s just slowly gotten bigger and bigger until maybe five years ago where it’s hard to stay on top of it all. We get people lining up before midnight.”
As one of Adelaide’s leading independent record stores Horvath has seen Record Store Day balloon from a niche celebration to a queue snaking down Pulteney Street. But while some in the sector have criticised the corporatisation of the vinyl revival for flooding vinyl presses with cash-in reissues of legacy artists, Horvath is circumspect.
“I’d like to say it’s the more independent releases people get excited about, but it’s definitely the bigger labels,” he admits. “People we don’t hear from for a whole year will contact us beforehand asking about a certain major label release. I don’t know if that defeats the purpose, but at the end of the day it’s about getting people back into record stores around the world, so if it has to be by the means of reissuing a record that perhaps no one wanted when it first came out… so be it.”
“I personally get more excited about local and Australian releases coming out on the day.”
He’s certainly come to the right place – even if he had to build it.
Record Store Day Australia 2019
Saturday, April 13
60 Pulteney Street, Adelaide
Record Store Day 2019 participating stores:
60 Pulteney Street, Adelaide
7 Twin Plaza, 22 Twin Street, Adelaide
357 Magill Road, St Morris
Shop 3, 213 Unley Road, Malvern
Mr V Music
115 Semaphore Road, Semaphore
Paradise Loft Records
Shop 5, Regent Arcade, Adelaide
Rerun Records & Photography
Shop 35 Renaissance Arcade, Adelaide
Shop 2/15 Vaughan Place, Adelaide
78A Prospect Road, Prospect
Vital Solutions Music
3 Ashwin Parade, Torrensvile
92 Glen Osmond Road, Parkside
536 Goodwood Road, Daw Park
Shop 9 511-529 North East Road, Gilles Plains