Please give us a brief history of Sick Records.
We opened on 7th March 2014 in Belfast. We have a staff of three. Kenny (myself), Matthew (my son) & Ben. Our aim is to concentrate on the best New Releases and the best New Alternative Re-issues and to help promote the best new local music.
What makes Belfast an interesting place to have a record shop.
Belfast has lacked an Independent Record Store since the demise of Dr. Robert in 1999. The music outlets have concentrated on larger bands and big-name re-issues because their driving force has been commerce. We care passionately about new music and felt that we couldn’t be the only ones who dreamt of having a store in Belfast where you could expect to find the best Alternative music.
What kind of music do you specialise in ?
The best new Alternative, Garage Rock, Psych, Metal, Electronica, Soul, Reggae, World, Soundtracks, Compilations & Re-issues.
Who are your customers? Any famous regulars you can tell us about?
Our customers are predominantly male and over 35. We have a hard-core base of Garage Rock / Psych punters but we have a large number of younger customers who buy Electronica & Metal. Our most / only famous customer is David Holmes. David has been a hugely positive influence on the people of Belfast. When we opened, he would crow-bar our name into interviews, telling radio presenters and journalists about us and what we were trying to achieve. He has been known to walk into bars in Belfast and berate local vinyl enthusiasts if they’ve never visited the shop. We will be forever grateful.
People talk about the 'resurgence of vinyl' - have you seen an influx in the number of younger vinyl collectors?
Because we’re in our infancy, we haven’t known the leaner years which others have experienced. Young people make up around 15-20 % of our clientele. Hopefully we will see those numbers grow over the next year or two.
As an independent record shop, do you feel like you need to offer supplementary activities for Sick Records to work – events and live music for instance?
We’ve held in-stores and participated in Record Store Day but we are a vinyl-only store and we believe that if the product is right and the service is right, people will prefer a more personal experience than on-line shopping. And our prices are cheaper than Amazon and most mail order stores when you take shipping into consideration.
What is your favourite song of all time?
Wow ! That’s a tough question. My answer would probably change from week to week but at the minute it’s “One World” by Dead Moon or “Blue Boy” by Orange Juice.
What album or song do you play most frequently in your shop?
That also changes as new releases come and go in the shop. Last year we played the OBN III’s, A Winged Victory For The Sullen and the Grouper albums a lot but The Stooges self-titled album and Funhouse are never far from the stereo.
What are you current favourite Ace releases?
The Cramps albums never sit long, nor do the Gil Scott Heron LPs but I loved the “Girls With Guitars” compilation from 2014. It’s sensational.
Which record do you play to clear people out at the end of the day?
Pharmakon’s Bestial Burden is fantastic but a tough listen and last year’s SUNN O))) & Scott Walker LP would do the trick as well.