Co-owner Renae Maxwell is not only involved in the music scene via Record Paradise, but also through involvement with community radio. “My partner and I both do community radio, and have so for 15 years,” Maxwell says.
“For us, it’s an important part of connecting. Even though doing a graveyard shift, you’re isolated from other people, there is this connection to people who are into the same thing as you. I have always felt this isolation and connection at the same time, and use my love for music as a way to be able to break that down a little bit. It might sound weird because I’m in a room full of strangers, and somehow I’m feeling really connected.”
This feeling carried over to when Paul Allen and Maxwell took the reins in 2008, prior to which the store had been set up in St Kilda since 1955. “As accidental as the name was,” Maxwell explains, “it is this exotic space that we can go to where we are allowed to connect with art and literature through a different means.
“With the internet, it really relies on that. It relies on your writing things and expressing yourself in a certain way. I rely totally on people coming into the shop. I connect with people who drop records off. I don’t read press releases. I pick up on the influences from the people I talk to. I feel like there are a lot of people like me, and this is why this place can exist. It’s why I will dedicate my life to making sure spaces like this aren’t located only in a virtual realm.”
History aside, there are many exciting things in the pipeline for Record Paradise ahead of Record Store Day 2017. “We have been busy processing hundreds of recycled records to add to our vast collection, stocking tons of new local releases and ordering up big on limited record store day gems,” co-owner Allen says.
Echoing the importance of community, Allen says it a day where they can show their support of others. “For us, it’s a chance to showcase some of Australia’s finest independent labels who have supported us over the past years. Labels like Aarght, It, Chapter, Cool Death, Milk, Cobra Snake Neck Tie, Flightless, Poison City, Bedroom Suck, Barely Dressed, Listen.”
As with many record stores on the day, there’s even more happening at Record Paradise than stocking up on an array of impressive vinyl. “The doors and Paradise Bar open at 10am and there will be live instores from 3pm til 9pm,” says Allen, before rattling off an impressive list of artists set to make an appearance, “Primitive Calculators, La Bastard, Rad Island, Glitter Veils, Alex Lahey, Dave Wright and the Midnight Electric and School Damage.”
Proving their connection to the local music scene is far more than hot air, Allen also mentions the designer for their poster this year. “Caz from School Damage drew the beautiful poster as well as the delightful cover of their latest 7″ single Tall Poppies. I think this mix of art and music is what is making the local scene so vital and I hope that Record Paradise can provide a space where fans, music lovers, diggers and artists can engage with each other and the records they seek and that this contributes in a small way to keeping it all spinning.”