Danish headphone brand AIAIAI has decided to celebrate this year’s Record Store Day by asking DJ, producer, and graphic designer Trevor Jackson to curate a range of t-shirts featuring contributions from a few of It’s Nice That’s favourites.
Six designers and artists – Check Morris, Braulio Amado, Peter Michael Willer, Zongamin, Luca Lozano, and Trevor himself – have paid tribute to recently-closed record stores that they’d held close to their hearts.
Taking us on a crate-digging trip around the globe from Paris to Berlin via Tokyo, Copenhagen, London, and New York, the RPM-RIP collection is a wearable memorial to the legendary likes of Kim’s Video & Music, Street Dance Records, and Soho’s former number one stop for all things hip-hop, Groove Records.
“I spent a large part of my youth in the basements of record stores, obsessively digging through racks of vinyl and learning as much about design as I did record labels, writers, musicians, producers, and engineers,” Trevor says when we ask him to explain the appeal of record shops to our younger readers. “They were meccas for like-minded explorers, and social clubs for the anti-social.”
For the man responsible for more incredible records (and record covers) than we’ve had hot dinners, it was the thrill of the chase that kept Trevor coming back to favourite haunts time and time again. Finding records you never thought you’d get your hands on, the agony of watching someone else flick through a stack of vinyl that might contain one of those aforementioned records, all making the dust and the mould bearable, enjoyable, transformative even.
“There’s nothing like the experience of buying music (on whatever format) from a real physical store,” he says. “It carved my musical taste, expanded my knowledge and most importantly, it helps contribute to a culture that continues to support me to this day.“
When asked about why he’d chosen to commemorate the closure of Groove, Trevor gets misty-eyed over email. Noting that in the early-to-mid 80s the store transitioned from stocking soul, funk, and jazz to dealing largely in imported hip hop and electro records from America, he recalls the though the records were expensive, they were also must-haves. “Most of the new releases you’d hear on Mike Allen, John Peel or Tim Westwood radio shows were only available as imports, and I’d spend my evenings enchanted listening religiously and scribbling down as many titles as I could, then trek off to Groove on a Saturday to ask if they had any in stock. Many weren’t released yet, and most had sold out first thing that morning.”
Being a child, he could only afford one record a time. Which meant he was careful in his selections, knowing that he’d be able to boast about his burgeoning 12" in the playground come Monday.
Rising rents have meant that in Trevor’s eyes, many of London’s best record stores have closed, but he says he regularly shops at the likes of Phonica, Sounds of the Universe, Rough Trade, and Honest Jons.
International readers in need of somewhere decent to blow the bank on Saturday, don’t fret: Copenhagen’s Soundstation, Public Possession in Munich, and Amsterdam’s store-cum-radio station Red Light Records get the Trevor Jackson seal of approval. And let’s be honest: if anyone knows a good record shop when they see one, it’s Trevor Jackson.
All proceeds from the limited edition run of t-shirt sales will go into establishing the RPM Foundation by AIAIAI, which is set to be a fund for artists and musicians in support of their creative projects.