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Just For The Record: A Unique Blend of Vinyl, Coffee, and Art


Meet Andy, the mind behind Just For The Record, in our interview. Explore how his diverse interests in journalism and global cultures shape the shop’s eclectic mix of music and coffee.

Andy, your diverse background in journalism, literature, and as an Arabist is quite fascinating. How have these influences shaped the ethos and aesthetic of Just For The Record?

Well, to be honest, as the shop is a wee bit a reflection of my view of the world, of course my background most certainly has its influence. Not just in musical selection, but as well in the general atmosphere we’d love to create in the shop. We’d like if people with a broader mind would feel at home in the shop. That’s also the reason we are an art gallery and an espresso bar at the same time. We believe in concept stores, it’s not just records, but records are the most important of course.

image credits: Just For The Record

The ambiance of your store seems to reflect a unique personality. What genres of music anchor your collection, and are there any niche areas that you're particularly passionate about curating?

Genres are all colors of the rainbow actually, we’re trying not to limit ourselves here. Pop music of course, and chanson and jazz & blues. We don’t do ‘james last’ and those kinds of non music. As long as it’s real music we’re trying to offer it. There’s of course some personal preferences in the collection, we have a lot of Cocteau Twins for example, one of my favorite musical things ever. We try to specialize in as much quality music we can offer.

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Combining coffee with vinyl seems like a harmonious blend. Could you elaborate on how the coffee bar aspect of Just For The Record enhances the overall experience for your customers?

Black gold twice here mate :) Coffee, that is good coffee and (good) vinyl go hand in hand. Most vinyl lovers are coffee lovers as well. Coffee offers as much personality and variation as vinyl records do. It’s all about passion and love at the end of the day. A barista knows what his customers like and is always on a learning curve to improve his or her technique. Same with the records. It’s indeed a harmonious blend. Most people who buy records also buy one or two cups of any coffee you can think of. Jazz people for example quite often drink flat white, whereas classic rock lovers go for the black stuff without anything in it at all.

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Given your expertise in Middle Eastern music and broader musical interests, how do these tastes influence the selection of records in your shop? Do you find that they attract a specific type of customer?

Well I did discover quite a bit of music on my travels to the middle east, so Fairuz is always in the shop, I heard her for the first time in Beirut, Lebanon and fell in love with her music. There’s a lot of eastern influences I tend to look for in record collections, we do a lot of African music as well. The background gave oxygen to my mind, which of course reflects in record selection.

You've created an environment where customers can get expert advice and listen to records before purchasing. Can you share some memorable interactions or feedback that highlight how these features have enriched the customer experience?

There was this little girl, about 12 who walked into the shop a couple of years ago, with her dad, he’d let her choose one record. She immediately went for some hip hop band but stood still in the shop when she heard Billie Holiday we were playing. She asked who that was and I talked to her a bit about Billie. She changed the hip hop record immediately for Lady in Satin by Billie Holiday. That made my day. Those kinds of things happen here a lot.

The integration of your journalistic and literary passions into Just For The Record sounds intriguing. How do these elements manifest in the store, perhaps through special events, themed days, or even curated record selections that tell a story?

Not really, we get a lot of people who like to listen to stories I tell about the middle east, and how the political situation over there is not what they see in the media here. A bit educational I guess :) But record wise, we haven’t really done anything with that no.

With a strong focus on customer satisfaction and community, how do you tackle the challenge of keeping both the seasoned vinyl collector and the curious newcomer equally engaged?

It is a bit difficult, we do 90 percent second hand records, used vinyl, so there’s not that much new material in that market. We buy a few new vinyl records, but mainly we invest in used vinyl. It is a challenge, and maybe in the future we’ll buy more new vinyl.

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