As the winter chill sets in across Glasgow, stacked racks of gleaming new vinyl set against clean whitewashed walls offer a welcome respite for any would-be wanderer in search of a place to shelter from the cold and warm their ears.
This music lover’s safe haven is LP Records, situated in the West End’s Park Road. One such fanatic, Lorenzo Pacitti, is behind this sanctuary. A self-proclaimed music obsessive who channelled his love and knowledge of the medium into business, Lorenzo has just celebrated the one year anniversary of the birth of LP Records, at a gig hosted by like-minded neighbours The Hug and Pint, and business is looking up.
Lorenzo does not adhere to the Nick Hornby created middle-aged record store grumps of the novel High Fidelity – he is a spritely 22-year-old with bright, open minded ideas for how he wants his business to evolve and an enthusiastic knowledge and adoration of music in all its forms. He is keen to point out that he has landed in his dream job. “It all just kind of makes sense to do this now. It’s more like I’m being a music obsessive for a living than anything business-y.”
Fresh out of a marketing degree at university and disillusioned with what was on offer next, Lorenzo saved up, interned at highly regarded Seattle based radio station KEXP and travelled to Austin, Texas, while figuring out what to do next.
On his return home, it was as if the premises that now house this youthful, but increasingly influential, endeavour were calling out. “I stumbled across the shop in a state of total disrepair, no one else wanted to touch it. It was almost too good to be true, as if everything was falling into place. On the day I went to see it, everything seemed really doable so I began to have all these ideas for how it was going to look. And for ten hours a day, for two and a half months, I did the work to make it happen.”
Before even stepping foot in the shop, it’s obvious that music aficionados are in safe hands. From the self-referential name that mirrors Lorenzo’s initials and chosen stock (“As soon as I thought of it once, it was almost too fun not to do”) to the eye-catching colour scheme based on his love of the cover of Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality, it is clear Lorenzo has taken care over minute details that help make his store stand out.
But when asked how ready he was to be going into business, in his early twenties, in the unpredictable and fluctuating music industry, he is forthright: “I didn’t know anything about the business at all, and I didn’t have anyone to ask, so it was more a case of Googling around, trying to figure it out for myself.”
Indeed, at the outset, it was not all plain sailing. “We started off completely on the wrong foot, I can’t even fathom how badly I did it when we opened compared to the way it is now.”
Despite initial wobbles, Lorenzo quickly learned the ropes. He began striking up relationships with distributors and putting on live in store events, and is proud that LP Records has carved out a successful niche in what is a difficult market: “Glasgow is a music city, and there are a lot of varied tastes that can’t be satisfied by one shop.”
Lorenzo is adamant that his finer approach to curation sets LP Records apart from other Glasgow vinyl institutions such as Monorail and Love Music. “Everything is curated by me and my team. We try really hard only to sell stuff we like.”
He quickly searches around the shop, taking in the vinyl mounted on the walls and shelves like it is second nature. “90% of our stock – something big anyway – you can only get here. I’m looking around and genuinely you can’t get it anywhere else in the city.”
Talking shop, naturally our conversation turns to why the vinyl business is booming. Lorenzo becomes understandably animated: “The vinyl revival thing really annoys me. The more people treat it like a fad, as a style thing, the more dangerous it is. The industry is going to eat itself, go back into a dark cycle and vinyl will be ‘back again’ in 20 years.”
It is clear his passion for the format betrays his young age in a way some dyed in the wool record collectors might not expect. “The reason we love vinyl isn’t because it’s cool, it’s because we’re into physical music and owning our music, and vinyl is the best format for that – that’s all that needs celebrating.”
It is becoming obvious the city has a new hub around which vinyl enthusiasts can congregate. I ask Lorenzo how far he thinks it can go. He coyly replies: “We’ve got plans. A label is a dream extension – a viable one.”
As happy as he is to tell me about his entrepreneurial efforts, Lorenzo is more eager to discuss the actual music etched in the grooves of the vinyl that lines his shop walls.
From emo revivalists Touché Amoré to Chicago rapper Noname, Lorenzo is thrilled that such great music has been released in the first year of his shop’s existence. “It benefits everyone who enters the shop that we envelope ourselves in new music, because that’s what we deal in – we’re obsessed with new music.”
Lorenzo is in the process of compiling an album of the year list to be presented to his loyal regulars and potential patrons. The newly released A Tribe Called Quest album has thrown it into disarray.
He explains why this is important: “We’re trying to be tastemakers as much as we are a record shop. When we play some of our favourite records in store, like Julien Baker’s Sprained Ankle, and a customer falls in love with it, and buys it – that’s how you dream of wanting this place to work.”
Photo credit: Tom Johnson