Record Art Games Emporium
We went and visited with NICK from RAGE on Fade Street in Dublin. A new shop selling records and more!! They opened up in the premises of the respected, renowned and sadly missed Road Records who had been in that premises for more than a decade and did a great job of promoting Indie and Irish music.
VINYLFANATICS.COM: Hi NICK, how are you?
NICK: Not too bad, how are you?
VINYLFANATICS.COM: Where are you from NICK?
NICK: Eh I’m from Michigan but, a small town called Cadillac, but I’ve lived in Dublin for nine years now.
VINYLFANATICS.COM: Why did you come here?
NICK: Initially I went to school and pretty much fell in love with Dublin, so decided to stick around
VINYLFANATICS.COM: Are your family in Michigan still?
NICK: Actually they’re not, they’ve since moved to Massachusetts. I still go back four or five times a year so I’m not completely out of touch.
VINYLFANATICS.COM: Well, its nice for us to have you here with all the record shops you’re opening up. When did RAGE open up?
NICK: It opened on October 28th. It was fantastic. The response was excellent. It was good to see a lot of familiar new faces and a lot of new faces that were into buying records.
VINYLFANATICS.COM: What does RAGE stand for?
NICK: It’s the Record Art Game Emporium and it mainly focuses on music and records but we also sell art and design by local artists. We’re having an exhibition on April 7th. The games side is on retro and vintage video games which is something else I was into. Which is great because initially it was just an idea that if the shop was quiet I could get away with playing Nintendo. But the feedback was so incredible that its now another main focal point of the shop.
VINYLFANATICS.COM: Is it more popular than music?
NICK: I’d say its equal at this point. It’s a different type of customer. They’re a lot younger but equally as excited about games as people are about music.
VINYLFANATICS.COM: So why did you decide to open up another record store?
NICK: Well I caught wind that Road Records was closing down. Ihad the stall in Georges Street Arcade and we were running out of room so pretty mushc this premises presented itself as a record shop ready to go.I just needed to fill it so the decision wasn’t that difficult. At the same time it was still a risk.
VINYLFANATICS.COM: You didn’t startup either. You expanded from Trout records, formerly Mac’s records in the arcade. How did you come to own that?
NICK: Well, when I was still in school I used to work for Mac’s other record shop, Finyl Vinyl on Camden Street. In my eyes it was possibly the best record shop in Dublin. Possibly that Dublin has ever seen. I worked there for a couple of years and he also had the spot in the arcade so I used to go between the two. When I finished up with school I used to work there for a year full time and at that point Mac’s business was winding down. He wanted to get rid of it so I decided to give it a shot. That was six years ago.
VINYLFANATICS.COM: He was quite a character wasn’t he?
NICK: Yeah he was excellent. He was hilarious. He could be a pain to work for but at the same time he was quite entertaining. The way he interacted with customers was fantastic. His knowledge of music from the 60s to the 50s and 70s was fantastic. There wasn’t a question you could ask him that he wouldn’t have an answer for.
VINYLFANATICS.COM: I remember going into him and he had NICK Drake Fruit Tree boxsets there, 2 or 3 of them. I asked him how much were they and he told me they weren’t for sale. Are you like that as well?
NICK: *Laughs* Not reall. I mean there are a couple of things that aren’t for sale/ They’re mainly for decoration.
VINYLFANATICS.COM: What are they?
NICK: Actually in the window I have one of my jackets, one of my t-shirts, a donkey kong t-shirt that I can’t part with, just for decoration. But at a different level everything in the shop is for sale.
VINYLFANATICS.COM: Even the street fighter?
NICK: Yeah if someone wanted to buy it, go for it. They’d have to carry it up the stairs. That’d be difficult. I nearly broke my back bringing it down.
VINYLFANATICS.COM: What kind of customers do you have?
NICK: Really varies, moreso than the arcade because of the video games. I have kids that are 6 or 8 coming in with their parents getting a Gameboy game and guys who are in their 70s going for their 50s or 60s easy listening. It really does vary. In the arcade its mainly 25 to 50 and mainly men. Its kind of nice here to see different people and different age groups.
VINYLFANATICS.COM: You’re on Facebook and you have over a thousand friends on facebook? Are they all customers?
NICK: Most of them have been in the shop. Facebook is great because it allows you to interact with people in your shop. There are certain rare items that I would get, I’d put up the pictures of them and there’d be a queue at ten the next morning. Its great for answering questions as well, cos I am selling old games.
VINYLFANATICS.COM: You do mail order?
NICK: Yes, we don’t have an online shop but if there’s something people want put they can order it on the page. We’ve posted stuff to Donegal, Cork and the UK.
VINYLFANATICS.COM: You get farfield requests, mainly for games or records?
NICK: A bit of both. There’s always the kind of person that will ask you to get something that is impossible to get, like there were only ten ever made, and can I get it for them cheaply?
VINYLFANATICS.COM: Can you?
NICK: No! Well I can try. Its funny. Sometimes people will make requests just to see if you can get something, and will buy it. Other times they’re just seeing if you can get it. For example, upstairs there’s a console, a Commodore 64 Light Fantastic. A few people have asked, ‘Can you get it’ Can you get it’ but when push comes to shove they just want to test my abilities.
VINYLFANATICS.COM: So its upstairs?
NICK: Yes, is anyone wants it its available and has been for a while.
VINYLFANATICS.COM: Any famous customers through your door?
NICK: Not yet really.
VINYLFANATICS.COM: You have a lot of records that wouldn’t normally be in Dublin. Where does that come from.
NICK: I get a lot of stuff from the states, LA. We buy major collections of singles. Quite specialised in American 7” soul singles, Motown, Stax. Currently right now I own 50,000 singles but they’re sitting in a warehouse in LA. I’m shipping them in over time., Its something unique that no one else has. I also get people to drive over collections from the UK at least twice a month.
VINYLFANATICS.COM: you also sell local records from local bands. How are they doing?
NICK: Pretty good. Road Records was a hub for local bands and local music. I’d like to bring my Irish section to the level theirs was. That will take some time. One of the services we offer for free is that a band can come down here and play any time. We’ve got our own stage. If a band want to follow up their album launch they can come down on a Saturday and play. We’ve done it a few times. Its been pretty successful. The bands have sold quite a few records. I’d like to really get that going and focus on supporting the local acts and artists.
VINYLFANATICS.COM: Who’s played so far?
NICK: Well we had Spies play.
VINYLFANATICS.COM: Was Morrissey there?
NICK: No, unfortunately. There was a Hip Hop outfit called tales from the underground that went down really really well. A singer songwriter called Paddy Ormond who was excellent. If you have the chance to catch one of his gigs he’s well worth seeing. Just as we started the gigs going we had a major flood which stopped the gigs for about two months. I’d like to get t that we could have a gig every Saturday, 7.15 you can come down here, bring a can or two and watch a band. So hopefully we’ll get that in motion in the next week or two.
VINYLFANATICS.COM: And play streetfighter?
NICK: Yep if you want. You get 10% discount if you beat me in streetfighter.
VINYLFANATICS.COM: Well I won’t e entering that competition! Any other plans for the future?
NICK: Not so much. This place looks great and I’m happy with what I’m selling but it’s a work in progress. I want to sell record players. I really want to have a place that you can come and buy a record player and some records really cheaply. So at the moment I’m trying to source 2nd hand record players and speakers and what not.
VINYLFANATICS.COM: You have cassettes as well?
NICK: I sell a lot of cassettes which is surprising. A year ago I had just a handful in the arcade and this guy came in and bought them all. He had a company car that just had a tape player and he wanted something to play on it. So a lot of people buy them for their cars which is great. There are also local bands who are releasing stuff on cassette tape.
VINYLFANATICS.COM: I see Rough Trade are releasing a cassette for Record Store Day too. Do you have any CDs?
NICK: We have a handful. We definitely sell more cassettes than CDs.
VINYLFANATICS.COM: Do you have a stereo at home? Do you listen at home?
NICK: Yeah I do. It’s a pretty basic setup. My technics. I don’t really DJ any more. It’s really difficult when records come in to decide which ones to bring home. There are times when I want to bring all of them home. I have to limit myself. I listen quite a lot. Its still a process I enjoy, sitting down and listening to a record. I try to listen to an abum every night.
And then we thanked each other and that was it. NICK’s two shops are great and well worth visiting if ever you’re in Dublin. You never know what you might find. J