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Artvoice Weekly Edition » Issue v9n35 (09/02/2010) » Five Questions With...

Kelly Mordaunt: Record Theatre Manager

Get to know a Buffalonian...

In the age of big-box media shops and Mp3’s it’s nice to see that some people still have an appreciation for the classics. Vinyl, it seems will never go out of style. Buffalo native Kelly—who proudly boasts of having an estimated 1,000-plus records—is a ten-year employee and the manager/buyer at steadfast local music shop Record Theatre. In addition to her duties at work, Kelly also dabbles in design work and screen prints for local bands.

How long do you think traditional record/music shops can stay competitive in today’s digital music world?

I think they can and will be around for some time, but there will be far less of them and they will be smaller in size. For me, I’ve been working long enough to have seen the fall of the big box chain competitors and the reduction of our own inventory. It’s almost like, in order to survive, we have to revert to our “Mom and Pop shop” roots and offer something more personal than, say, an review.

How does the dearth of traditional music shops in Buffalo effect the local music community? Is it harder for bands to get the exposure they once had?

I think it’s always been hard for local musicians to get exposure. Today bands have better promotional tools, like using the internet to get their music out, so it’s not like we’re needed for that purpose anymore. I do think the importance of the record store is to serve as a library/sacred place of study for music loving freaks and geeks. And it’s a great place to make friends.

What is it about vinyl that keeps people and collectors so enthusiastic after all these years?

Oh, it’s a whole slew of things. Mostly it’s an audiophile thing. Records are not compressed files and can have a warmer, richer sound. Plus, you get more artwork to look at. It’s really the ultimate format of a release. Personally, I love the fact that you must devote your attention to the thing, because if you leave the room before “intermission,” that needle is going to keep spinning.

Have you seen more artists embrace the vinyl format over the past few years to cater to the collector/DJ/indie crowd?

Most definitely. There are local, unsigned bands today pressing out some stellar looking, high quality vinyl releases. It’s also apparent in the vast amount of deluxe re-issues of classic records that keep coming off the presses.

Aside from Record Theatre of course, where are some good places for the budding collector to start out? I can only stand so many Perry Como albums at the local thrift stores.

Well, I don’t want to give away too many secrets. But I’ve been collecting for over ten years now and I have found some pretty awesome stuff in thrift stores, flea markets, garage sales, etc. You just gotta have the will to dig. Buffalo’s also got Spiral Scratch, the Record Baron, and the Leonard Post VFW Hall Record Sale that happens twice a year on Walden Ave. I’ve scored some great finds at all of those places.

BONUS: What are some of the rarest or most personally meaningful LP’s in your home collection?

Oh, I can pull a record off from my shelf and tell you exactly where I found it, so they all have some kind of meaning attached. I’ve adhered to a “quality over quantity” policy for the past few years, so everything in my collection is pretty much adored and obsessed over at different times in my life.

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