Having only lived in Brighton a year, I literally missed last years Record Store Day here by just a handful of days much to my disappointment, especially having moved from a town that didn't even have an indie record store. So not only will this be my first experience of the day in Brighton, it'll also be the first time that I'm able to attend the event.

Moving to a town cited the second most musical in the world according to SXSW, means that we're not short of stores to camp outside of on the day with a total of six shops taking part: Rounder Records, Resident, One Stop Records, Ape, Endless Records and Borderline Records.

So to get myself prepared for the days events, I spoke to those that could give me the best possible advice; Natasha from Resident, Steve from Rounder, and Craig from Ape.

What made you decide to get involved with Record Store Day initially?

Steve: Anything that draws attention to independent retail is obviously important, and, as committed vinyl lovers, the opportunity to get our hands on more vinyl was too good to refuse.

Natasha: It's such a brilliant initiative that there was no way we couldn't get involved! It's all about getting music lovers together in their natural habitat (i.e. record shops) to enthuse about, purchase & treasure some very limited pressings of some very desirable records. What's not to love?!

Craig: The first RSD we participated in was 2010, and by that time we were raring to go - we weren't involved in 2008, and in 2009 we were in the process of moving to our new store and couldn't take part. We had heard lots of good things about RSD, and by 2010 the labels and the distributors were really getting behind the event; so, there was no reason not to be involved.

How did you find last years RSD, what was the mood like, the queues, and what were the most sort after records?

Steve: It was an awesome day, we had people queuing from 4am, there was such a buzz (partially from the coffee everyone had been consuming in the queue). There wasn't any one standout release to be honest; as the day has grown, the breadth of releases gets wider, and a wider range of people go home happier with their wants.

Natasha: Last year was mental! We were flat out all day. The queuing started at about 4am & stretched into Sydney Street by the time we opened & the buzz was incredible. Customers were really patient while we served them as efficiently as we could & we gave everyone a list of the releases to read whilst queuing so they were prepared once they reached the counter. We number the queue before we open so that people are served in the same order in which they arrived so there's no opportunity for queue jumping & to prevent a scrum when we open the door. It's all done on a first come, first served, 1 per customer basis to make it as fair as we can possibly can. By managing the queue well, keeping everyone informed of how many we have left of particular titles they are after, handing out biscuits & goody bags & chatting to people while they are waiting, we make the day as fun, easy & relaxed as possible.

The most sought after records were releases from the likes of The Beach Boys, Arthur Russell, Big Star, The Smiths, Grinderman, Nirvana & some insanely limited imports from the likes of Kate Bush, The Flaming Lips & Karen Elson. What works really well though is that there is a wide spread of artists covered by the RSD releases so there's pretty much something for everyone.

Craig: Last year was even better than 2010 - the queue snaked around the corner and up the side of our shop. I think there were close to one hundred people waiting when we opened the doors at 9.30. We were a little more prepared than the previous year, so despite the queue being a lot longer, we managed quite well. People always seem happy enough to wait - from the first RSD press release of the year until right up to the day itself; I think it gets drummed into people that it is a "first come, first served. 1 copy per release, per customer" event, so there’s never any pushing or shoving. They know that they'll have to sacrifice time in bed if they what the rarest releases. We haven’t as yet felt the need to employ a ticketing or queuing system, but maybe we’ll have to this year.

I'd love to say I could remember one popular record in particular, but they all disappear so fast - even with the aid of looking at last year's list. I don't think there was quite the scramble last year as there was for the Blur 7" in 2010. The day just files by.

What were your personal favourite records from last year, did you purchase any yourself?

Steve: Seem to recall getting the Arthur Russell, Moon Duo, Of Montreal, and The Vivian Girls. Maybe more. can't keep track of all the records I buy, terribly addicted.

Natasha: My favourite releases were the Beck & Bat For Lashes collaboration, the Gaggle live 12" & the Black Angels 10".

Craig: I don't think I got anything last year, although some of other the guys certainly bought records. The Go! Team and Ray Lamontagne spring to mind.

Why do you think so many bands and labels are getting behind this event?

Steve: Well, independent labels/bands have always been supportive of independent record shops (and vice versa), as for the majors - I think RSD is the day of the year that people at those labels who actually like music seize the reins from the accountants for a bit.

Natasha: It's the most talked about event in the indie calendar. They can release records on this day that would get little to no exposure normally or that would just get lost in the vast selection of music that is released every week, but when released as part of such a massive event, they get be exposed to their target market directly with loads of coverage. RSD releases are instantly desirable, collectable & in demand.

Craig: Well, it's great exposure for newer, upcoming acts and labels; and for the more established amongst them, it does genuinely seem to be a way to give something back to the fans. Plus, there doesn't seems to be a downside to the event - even customers (in my experience) who miss out on the record they may have wanted don't get too disappointed... they accept that the day is about more than that and they realise that quantities can be very limited.

Will you be putting on events during the day, such as instores etc?

Steve: We're too small for instores, but every customer will get a free tote bag with some goodies in.

Natasha: Sadly, we don't have the space to host instores during the day on Record Store Day but in the evening, Mute signings Big Deal will be popping down to play a free instore performance early evening (about 6.30pm) when we will also host a raffle & maybe have some refreshments too to thank everyone who contributed to the success of the day. We will be handing out free goody bags to the queue as well with posters, promos, samplers, badges, stickers & other freebies.

Craig: To be honest, we haven't in the past and are not going to this year. We've found that we're so busy throughout the day that there, perhaps, wouldn't be an appropriate time to stop trading and watch a band. Besides, we get fair number of customers who are either not interested in RSD (we sell thousands of DVDs) or, enticed by RSD, have simply come in to visit a record shop.

How do you go about selecting which records you'll be stocking?

Steve: We'll be stocking 90% of the list - what we wont take is down to mix of sheer economics and sheer hatred (the Bruno Mars ep).

Natasha: In previous years we decided to stock absolutely every UK release so that customers had a pretty good chance of getting what they wanted from us. However, this year, with over 450 releases, we have had to be a little more selective. We are still stocking 90-95% of everything put out in the UK though!

Craig: We do employ some control in the ordering as not everything is suitable for us and our customers; but, we try and order as much of everything that we can and sit back and hope for the best.

What are you personal favourites from this years selection?

Steve: Also classic Sire Records 7"s look great, plus the Blouse 7", the PIL 12", Moon Duo lp, Lee Hazlewood, probably more.

Natasha: Field Music covering the Pet Shop Boys - genius! Also releases from Animal Collective, Beach House, Bo Ningen, Moon Duo, C.W.Stoneking & woodwind versions of tracks from Metronomy's 1st album!

Craig: For me it would have to be The Cure reissues or the Eleven Pound 12". Other staff members are looking forward to the Animal Collective 12", Sigur Ros single, and The Supremes heart-shaped vinyl.

Do you have any advice or tips for those attending RSD for the first time?

Steve: Get here early! Also don't be too disappointed if you don't get your whole wants list. Some titles, we will be literally allocated 1 or 2 copies. And remember, we have cool vinyl records for sale 365 days a year.

Natasha: Get here early if there's something you are desperate to get your hands on. We open at 8am but queuing will start in the middle of the night! Sign up to our mailing list at www.resident-music.com & follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with all developments and chat to your fellow music lovers in the queue - lots of new friendships have been born in RSD queues!

Craig: Be early, don't push and try not to be too upset if you don't quite get all that you want. There's not too much more to it than that.

And finally, can we get a sneaky peek at what items you'll be stocking?

Steve: There's a list on our website of what we've asked for, we wont know what we have 'til I open the millions of boxes that arrive the day before.

Natasha: They will all be going up on the website by the middle of this week. Not for sale obviously, but you'll be able to see details, covers & prices.

Craig: Well, apart from what I've already mentioned, I hope that we'll get plenty of copies of: The Beatles box set; the Pete Townshend Quadrophoenia Demo double 10"; the Daniel Johnston T-shirt pack; the Edwyn Collins 7" box; and the singles from Arcade Fire, Elbow and Coldplay.

If you want more information or wish to check what items each store has requested, you can find out below:

So I've got my wish-list printed out, possibly taking out a loan, and I get the impression that I may just have to hang around overnight to get my hands on those sought after records - just as well that Brighton has many a great venue to while-away those early morning hours before heading down to join the queues.

I can't wait to experience my first Record Store Day, and I look forward to seeing you in the queue!


For more information on Record Store Day head to www.recordstoreday.co.uk