Q: What would you be doing in an ideal world?

A: This isn’t an ideal world?! Probably making music instead of selling it. I’m pretty much a one-man band with an electronic pop type of setup, under the name Mr. Sandman, which is also my DJ handle. I’m not playing out at the moment; it’s mostly studio stuff, but I’m on the verge of getting a local gig. I’d also like to start doing a video night in Portland, an ’80s underground video thing, which I used to do in New York.

Q: So you’re a DJ as well as a record store guy?

A: I DJ’d in New York for the last three or four years I was there, on a weekly basis, until last fall. In fact the last few hours I was in New York I was DJing. At the end of the night I took my bags to the bus station, and came up here.

Q: Bags must have been heavy. All those records.

A: No, no! Two weeks before I left the city, a friend and I got a moving truck and brought (the inventory) up to Portland. Since then, a guy I used to work for has been up several times with loads of records.

Q: What brought you here in the first place?

A: I’d lived in Maine in the ’90s, about two years each in Bar Harbor and Portland. When I was in school in Michigan, studying photography at an art school kinda like MECA, I came up for the summer to work, and fell in love with the coast (Last fall) I decided to get out of the city, and Maine seemed the most attractive place to go.

Q: Is this your first retail venture?

A: Yeah, totally. I had never even toyed with the idea. Then last summer I came up to visit a friend and walked around and saw the record stores on Congress Street, and all kinds of people flipping through the records, and thought, hey, there might be the possibility of opening a store here. I was selling online and already had to rent a storage space on the waterfront for the stock, so I figured, why not just get a store?

I looked around at places, and this was next door to a (MECA) dorm and had the space two weeks later.

Q: Does the store have a specialty?

A: Mostly ’80s dance music, hip-hop, reggae, new wave, ’80s underground stuff. A batch of 45s — heavily ’80s, with some 60s, and lots of kids’ records and comedy stuff. Probably about 30,000 records total. I don’t think I have even one box of blues, folk and jazz put together. Lots of classic rock.

Q: Oh, dad-rock.

A: Hadn’t heard that one. I just bought a whole table (of classic rock) from a dealer at the record show at Port City on Mother’s Day.

Q: Do you sell all used records?

A: No, I have some reissues and a lot of older stuff that’s still sealed. I’m going to start ordering more reissues, and new titles.

Q: Where do you get your stock?

A: Anywhere I can. I do trades, buy stuff. When I opened, a lot was out of my own collection. I still scout around at the Salvation Army, Goodwill, Good Cause You never know when something will pop up, or what you’ll find.

Q: What’s the most expensive stuff you’ve sold lately?

A: It was online, on eBay. A couple of Incredible Bongo Band records, and the Louvin Brothers’ “Satan Is Real.” A classic cover — I think it sold just for the cover. Those went for $70-$80.

Q: But most are —

A: The range goes up to about $15. Most records, more than half, are $2.

Just because I have so much garbage — I mean, I call it garbage, but it’s all clean, all in paper sleeves, and some of the $2 records are still sealed. It’s just that most of them are pretty common in the section that’s $2, or three for $5. A lot of people like to get a chunk of things for their $20. And if they’re good titles, in good shape, you can build a good reputation.

Q: Any drawbacks to the job?

A: I’m kinda bound here, six days a week. Maybe that’s a drawback, being a one-man business. You either have to close the store or be there. It’s not such a big shop that I could hire an employee, and I don’t think I’d want to anyway, it’s so small here, and sort of personal.

Q: Who are your customers? MECA kids, hipsters ?

A: Lots of DJs. People into the “DJ culture.” I want to say the hipsters, but they don’t have much money. Probably more like people 30 and up; not so much the younger kids, although I get a few, looking for big ’80s groups, or music from movies — I’m getting people asking for Joan Jett now, because of “The Runaways” movie.

A few Beatles freaks come in on a weekly basis. Some people want more and more and more Beatles. More people are finding me, so that’s good. I survived the winter without having a summer preceding it, and that was a good thing. Peter Wolf was in here last week, the day that he played in town.

Q: Did he buy anything?

A: No. I think he was on his way to the museum. I did get to meet celebrities, a variety of people, at the store in New York. DJ Premier used to come in, and Q-Tip. I got to help David Byrne.

Q: Do what?

A: Buy the “Casino Royale” soundtrack, the original from the ’60s. He was a nice guy. And then you’d have like Barry Manilow, Bette Midler, coming in. Bjork. She was picking her nose and I will always remember seeing it. It was excellent.

Q: Where’d you get the store name?

A: I can’t remember The day I got the (lease), the name popped into my head. I didn’t want to use “record” in the name; it seemed redundant. I watch a lot of old movies and TV from the ’50s, and people used to say things like, “That sounds absurd.”

Q: But people might not realize it’s a record store.

A: That’s OK. I’ve had people walk by some guy once yelled, “What the hell is this place?” This used to be a burrito place. There’s got to be 10,000 records on the floor, but people will walk in and ask for burritos. I tell ’em, they’re all sold out.

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