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Go crate digging at Paddington’s new record emporium Dutch Vinyl

By George Hadgelias

Any music lover or audiophile will tell you that there’s no sweeter feeling than lightly dropping the needle on a brand-new record. Although the act of buying a physical release might seem like an outdated way of digesting tunes to some, vinyl records have continued to increase in popularity and so too have record stores. Last weekend Paddington welcomed a brand new music house called Dutch Vinyl, a Melbourne-born business that has expanded north, bringing with it a curated collection of new and old records and an atmosphere that makes flipping through wax an immeasurably enjoyable experience.

Opening a record store in the age of digital streaming is a challenge in itself – throw in an active pandemic and you’ve got a significantly more difficult job on your hands. For Mark Reuten and Tam Patton, that’s exactly the sort of predicament they found themselves in whilst bringing Dutch Vinyl to Brisbane. When Dutch Vinyl’s owner Mark opened his first store in Abbotsford in 2016, he experienced a sharp learning curve that came with the territory. Not only was Mark up against the likes of Spotify and iTunes, but other record stores as well (Melbourne boasts close to 40). Despite the competitive market, Mark and store manager Tam built Dutch Vinyl from modest beginnings into a highly regarded source of new-and-used vinyl spanning a multitude of genres, eventually becoming known as a go-to destination for Dutch and European vinyl pressings, which are notable for their higher quality. After a few years spent building its customer base, the duo discussed expansion north to Brisbane – Tam’s home town. In 2019 the team put wheels in motion and feet on the ground, with Tam relocating north to scout ideal locations for Dutch Vinyl to inhabit. The search took Tam from Kelvin Grove and West End to Woolloongabba and Stones Corner before the ideal space presented itself on Latrobe Terrace in Paddington. A gorgeous building (formerly the home of cafe Westport & Lee, right near the antiques centre) proved ideal, and soon Tam and Mark were planning renovations. In March disaster struck – COVID-19 arrived, borders closed and Tam found himself having to complete the fit-out alone with Mark trapped in Victoria. Additionally, overseas vinyl suppliers were having trouble shipping stock Down Under and the duo’s initial April opening was inevitably pushed back to early July. Nevertheless, the crew pressed on, completing the fit-out and opening to the public on Saturday July 4.

When it comes to aesthetics, Mark and Tam favour a minimalist palette of materials in order cultivate a welcoming atmosphere and pleasant crate-digging experience. The space is sparsely adorned except for the record shelves, main counter, spiffy sound system and pops of greenery, but the crew are eager to add a relaxed listening lounge area over the coming months for those keen to linger. When it comes to the collection, Mark and Tam have made made no specialty their specialty, electing to stock a balance of records encompassing both common and contemporary releases and obscure, hard-to-find vinyl. The shelves are divided into new vinyl and used records (a small collection of cassettes will also be added soon), with the latter section subdivided according to genre – everything from poprock and soul to jazzdiscosoundtracks and even the odd spoken-word album. Wax addicts can expect new stock weekly, with deliveries of new records arriving on the regular. Dutch Vinyl also buys second-hand records, so if you’ve got a collection gathering dust and want to see it go to a good home, bring it in! If you’re in the market for a player or some speakers, Dutch Vinyl will eventually expand its range to include a limited array of gear, too.

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