While the rest of the industry worries about MP3s kicking the chair from under the high street chain and streaming services looming over the shoulder of digital downloads, vinyl is enjoying a revival. Why? Your humble independent record shop. Last year we explored the Record Shops of London, and recently the Record Shops of New York, but what about Manchester?

For the inaugural edition of The Record Shops of Manchester, Danny Payne made his way to Eastern Bloc Records (Northern Quarter, Manchester, M1 1DN), which was established in 1985 by John Berry and Martin Price (808 State). To find out more, head over to their Twitter or Facebook.

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Eastern Bloc Records

What's on the turntable right now?
MATTHEW HALSALL & THE GONDWANA ORCHESTRA - Journey In Satchidananda / Blue Nile [Info].

Why did you decide to open a record shop?
John Berry and Martin Price opened the shop back in 1985 through their passion for great music. This passion is still present in the shop with the current staff members. When I started as one of the buyers, I was told when I started 13 years ago, "If you think it is good and you think you can sell it then take a risk on it."


Eastern Bloc Records
Eastern Bloc Records
Eastern Bloc Records
Eastern Bloc Records

When did you open?
We opened in 1985. We are celebrating 30 years this year with a series of music events around Manchester. More info coming soon...

What else happens here other than records?
We now have a fully functioning cafe within the same walls. Now and again we will host in-store events here with DJs from around the globe. Previous events have featured Carl Craig, Nick Hoppner, Objekt, Mike Huckaby, DJ Marky, dBridge, Marcus Intalex. We sell coffee, cakes, snacks, breakfast, lunch and specialist soups everyday.


Eastern Bloc Records
Eastern Bloc Records
Eastern Bloc Records

What sorts of people do you get in your shop?
The kind who love music and want to find out more about music and maybe pick up a few records they didn't even know they wanted. Generally very open minded people. For example we have been selling a lot of Jazz & World music product to many of our Techno regulars. Says it all really. We also have all walks of life coming in for food and drinks.

Do you specialise in anything (second hand, new releases, genre etc.)?
We specialise in new Electronic music on vinyl for big soundsystems. Mainly House, D&B, Techno, Dubstep and everything in between. more recently we have been into new territory for us, such as Reggae, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Funk, Soul and more World music kind of stuff. In the last couple of years this has proved very popular with existing customers and we have gained many new ones.


Eastern Bloc Records
Eastern Bloc Records
Eastern Bloc Records
Eastern Bloc Records
Eastern Bloc Records

With music buying now dominated by MP3, why do you think that vinyl is still so popular, especially when compared to other dead or dying formats like cassette, MiniDisc or CD?
Simple answer really: vinyl is better for your soul, mind and body. It sounds better. You have something with artwork to look at, sleeve notes to read and vinyl is highly collectable and very personal. MP3s do not have this function. Cassettes are just outdated, MinDiscs don't sound as good as CD. CDs are still very relevant in this shop.

Do you remember the first record you sold?
No. Probably a D&B 12" in 2003 (when I started in the shop). Could have been a few things. I cannot remember.


Eastern Bloc Records
Eastern Bloc Records
Eastern Bloc Records
Eastern Bloc Records
Eastern Bloc Records

Do you remember the first record you bought?
DJ Die ‎– Hydroponics / Live And Direct - Full Cycle - FCY006 [Info].

What's the most prized vinyl in your collection? Hard to say really, there are a couple which I hold very close.

Photek ‎– The Seven Samurai / Complex [Info]
Roy Ayers ‎– Lots Of Love (Signed Copy) [Info]
Arthur Verocai ‎– Arthur Verocai [Info]
Equinox ‎– Acid Rain V.I.P. [Info]
Gianluca Petrella ‎– 103 EP [Info]


Eastern Bloc Records
Eastern Bloc Records
Eastern Bloc Records
Eastern Bloc Records
Eastern Bloc Records