A lot has changed since Gef last spoke to Jack Doyle down at Sound Records.
Since we last spoke, Sound have been recruiting: with a new staff member, Ed Olham, and a new intern, Owen Atkinson. They’ve launched a website (a direct result of Covid), they’ve extended out the back to sell guitars and now have a cheeky listening booth. While the shop is as well ordered as ever, there’s certainly a sense that Sound, 2.5 years after opening, is getting too big for its little basement store at 9-11 Dukes Street.
Sound Records is a record shop: but it’s also a lot more than that. There’s a sense of a community within a shop, as it has become a place to connect over the love of music. The act of browsing through records stimulates conversation: that face-to-face interaction feels even more pertinent since coming out of lockdown. Sound have expanded their stock to include musical accessories: drumsticks, guitar strings- resulting in Sound being a social hub for the island’s musicians. This is no more evident than on their noticeboard, where musicians can express their desire to connect with other musicians to jam, demonstrating the real creative buzz that is on island at the moment.
Sound Records is also making its mark on the live music scene. Alongside having held events in their small shop, they are increasingly becoming a presence in the Embassy Room at The British. These are proper music events: the bands are the main event themselves, opposed to just background music in a pub. Tickets sell out pretty quickly, merch is sold, and the lineups are varied. Their sellout event on 26th September will see Baad Acid and El Catraz play, while their last line up included A Stones Throw, Terry George and The Long Tall Shakies, and Amy Jane Bennet. In between sets, Jack plays on the decks, rounding the evening up with a nightcap of disco, funk and soul. As we watch live music become a victim of Covid in the UK, it feels a blessing that not only are we free to enjoy a banging music scene, but that there are such passionate individuals behind it.
While Sound has proved itself to be more than just somewhere to buy records, it is still, obviously, very much a record store. It’s celebrating the 2nd (out of three) Record Store this Saturday: one of the few stores in the British Isles able to celebrate fully, without patrons having to social distance. There will be a drop of releases, including an album of alternate takes of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, a stripped back version of The Door’s The Soft Parade and a live version of The Wall from Berlin in 1990, in which Rodger Waters and guests played Pink Floyd’s The Wall to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall.
As their lease comes to an end at Duke Street, it looks like there may be bigger and better things on the horizon. While Covid has obviously impacted the business, the shop has bounced back and its future looks bright. Jack alludes that Sound Records, given the space, could become a hybrid coffee shop/bar/music space. Even more ambitiously, Jack hints at a Manx record label. Whatever happens, we’ll certainly be listening out for their next moves..