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Midweek Mugging: The Record Centre matches artists and interviewers in new podcast

The Hintonburg store sells everything related to vinyl records, runs a record label, hosts live shows and just started recording a podcast.

The Record Centre is adding a new podcast to its expanding list of contributions to the Ottawa music scene.

John Thompson, owner of the Hintonburg vinyl shop, said the store has been hosting live shows for years and the new podcast -- called Tiny Stage --is a way to immortalize the bands that play in the space.

“I would just love that people can go and see these bands,” Thompson said. “We have so many great bands that play here and lot of times it’s very satisfying, a big crowd will turn out, the reception will be very good. And other times there’s not a big crowd and that’s a little sad.”

The Record Centre is located at 1099 Wellington St. and sells anything and everything related to vinyl records. Thompson said the store has over 100,000 records in stock and also sells turntables and vintage audio equipment.

Each Tiny Stage episode starts with a live recording of a performance followed by an interview with the band or musician. Thompson said his hope is to capture some of the in-store performances and give people a way to go back and watch it after the live show is over. He said the Record Centre is the only record store in the city that produces a podcast.

The first episode was recorded in March with Nadia Kharyati interviewing Joey Landreth, but Thompson said it’s only now hitting its stride this summer. He said the project has been in the works for a few years and progress has been slow but steady.

Thompson said a lot of thought is put into who interviews the artist after the performance, with the goal of creating an interesting conversation. The most recent recording, on July 9, featured Amanda Lowe Warnakulasuriya, an Ottawa singer-songwriter, interviewing Catriona Sturton.

“When I think about other podcasts it’s always the same person doing the interview and that’s [either] good or bad,” he said. “Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I’m hoping that every single one of our Tiny Stage [episodes] works because we’ve matched the band with the interviewer.”

Live shows have always been part of the experience at the Record Centre, Thompson said. The store has hosted over 400 performances over the past six year with everything from a 10-piece soul band to solo vocalists.

“We’ve gotten good at it and I think bands like to play here. We’re almost too successful, everybody wants to play here,” he said.

Hosting a concert in the store gives the performance more intimacy than if it was in a bar or a bigger venue, Thompson said. The Record Centre can hold at most around 100 people.

“Unless you want to flip through records, people tend to pay attention… there’s times you can hear a pin drop and there’s other times we’ve had some big exciting shows as well.”

Thompson also started a small record label at the store called Record Centre Records, which specializes in making albums for new Ottawa bands that aren’t signed to a larger label. He said the goal is to help young bands record music that would otherwise have a hard time doing so.

“Tiny Stage is just a small part of what we do,” Thompson said. “I always tell people we’re a record store first and we’re probably a label second, a venue third and a podcast fourth.”

The Record Centre is open Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Tiny Stage podcasts are available on the Record Centre’s SoundCloud.


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