Pebble Records – The Basement, 14 Gildredge Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN214RL https://pebblerecords.co.uk
Original Forty Fivers caught up with Michael the owner of Pebbles Record to discuss how his passion for unobtainable records in the UK led to opening a store himself, his HiFi sales section and how the younger generation also appreciate vinyl.
How did the store come about?
The physical store has been here 3 years but it started 5 years before that with indie and new pop music. I found that I was buying all the things I wanted to buy from Sweden, a guy in Germany, and America, and not being able to buy it in the UK. So I just thought this is ridiculous so I started importing stuff myself, set up a website and thats how the shop started. That was running for 5 years and then I got inspired enough to get me to a point when I was like “You know what im going to do what I really want to do and open a shop” and the stock has broadened out as the shop opened.
You largely have new stock and a small section of second hand vinyl. What styles/genres do you have?
It really goes across the board so we have a good classic A-Z of pop rock and new releases. We do well with reggae, soul, funk, hip hop’s been really strong just because I think there has been so many good releases over the past few years. Even modern contemporary classical we do well with.
Record store Day 2017 is just around the corner. What do you have planned for it?
It is always a very busy day and we get here about 5.30/6am. On the day we have Pete Aster from The Weather Prophets coming in and yourself in the afternoon spinning some records and a couple of other things planned.
Is there any particular RSD releases you are looking forward to?
The ones I tend to look forward to are things like Proper Ornaments, TVP’s that I get excited about that very few other people do.
You also have a CD section, and turntable and HiFi’s next door.
When the shop opened people were coming in either getting their records back out or their turntables out of the loft and they would ask if we sell turntables. It became obvious very quickly that no one in town did so thats how that started. We are lucky that although it is deceptively small from the outside, inside we have an office that we turned into a HiFi room. We do Rega, Pro-Ject, Ruark are really good and a company called Totem as well for speakers.
How is the Eastbourne scene for vinyl as you are one of four stores? Do you find people come down to the town and do a tour.
It definitely helps all of us having more shops in the town and certainly for people out of the town it makes it worth coming to Eastbourne for a day of record shopping so its a good thing. I think the days really of just sitting in a shop waiting for customers to come through the door have gone and we sell on online platforms with our own website so we do work hard at it as you have to sell youself.
You hear in the news about vinyl outselling MP3. Is it just hype or is it moving in that direction?
When I was running the website there was a point probably 5 or 6 years ago when I suddenly noticed that where I was ordering ordering more CD’s than vinyl it just changed. You could see it changing over and more people were ordering vinyl instead. Sales go up every year. We are two and a half times busier than we were a couple of years ago. It really is picking up.
There is a lot of people 40 plus like myself who grew up buying vinyl who are so pleased to be able to carry on. There is also the new generation coming through. There was one guy came in whose parents had got their record collection out and he looked at me and said he had nothing like that and that he had nothing to show for all the money he had spent on digital music. The younger generation coming in buying vinyl do really get it and love it. There is a real connection with it like I remember where I buy records like i’m sure you do. I don’t think you have that with remembering where you were when you downloaded something on a set day. For a younger generation who have been brought up on digital music which is literally buying single tracks, actually sitting down, buying and listening to a whole album has been a revelation.
Thanks Michael and see you on RSD.