As a special gift to loyal fans, Red Bull Sound Select New Zealand will unveil a limited edition 12” EP on Saturday April 18, as part of the international celebration of vinyl records and the shops that sell them known as Record Store Day.
"I think Record Store Day is a fantastic way to bring some attention to the joy of owning physical music in a digital world and support small businesses!" enthuses Esther Stephens, front-woman to Red Bull Sound Select/Young, Gifted & Broke affiliated band The Means.
"Going digging at a record store is one of the best ways to hang out with a friend," adds Esther's band mate Abraham Kunin. "Vinyl engages more of your senses, giving you a three-dimensional experience of the music you've purchased," Esther continues. "It's been said a million times, but there's something about owning a hard copy, particularly vinyl because it stands the test of time. It's a human, active way to engage with music, as opposed to listening to whatever a streaming service decides to play you."
Alongside fellow acts Black City Lights, Kåm∆nd¡, and Team Dynamite, Esther Stephens and The Means contribute one of four songs showcased on the record. Their offering is 'Heartbeat', a slice of shimmering soul'n'beats featuring a guest verse from low-profile Auckland MC Hone Be Good.
Having thought fondly of vinyl ever since he discovered his father's records as a small child, Hone loves the medium and the places that continue to sell it.
"I have so much respect for record stores today because I know how hard it must be to succeed in the digital age," MC Hone Be Good says. "Sometimes I daydream about dropping everything to go work at the Jazzy Sport Music Shop in Tokyo."
When Red Bull Sound Select release the EP on April 18, it will be through twelve cult record stores around New Zealand. Alongside this, they will reward two hundred of the platform's most engaged local fans with a physical copy to call their own. The list of shops involved includes Real Groovy (Auckland), Southbound (Auckland), Penny Lane (Christchurch), Relics (Dunedin), Mint Music (Lower Hutt), Just the Record (Napier), Slow Boat (Wellington), Vinyl Countdown (New Plymouth), Deathray Records (Newtown), and Rough Peel (Wellington). They're all fascinating places manned by thoughtful and knowledgeable staff, and jammed with interesting records, CDs, merchandise, and sometimes even cassette tapes.
While, for all involved, a vinyl release is an event moment, Team Dynamite producer Haz Beatz sums it up best. "Just the emotion of having something you've created pressed to wax is a big deal," he admits. "It's what I dreamt of making music all these years... It means everything [to me] because I feel that's the type of format I want to be releasing [music on] instead of the internet."
Real Groovy, an enthusiastic supporter of the Independent Record Store Day celebrations worldwide, again prepares for this big day on their calendar. Marty O’Donnell says the store will put on live performances and signing sessions from featured bands, a full days DJ line-up of guest personalities spinning their favourite tunes, as well as supply the Red Bull Sound Select 12” free for buyers of Record Store Day titles.
“The chance to work with Red Bull Sound Select in this year’s celebration is a fantastic fit for a store that exists for music fans, and a chance to deliver on vinyl the result of a music project representing the efforts of talented emerging artists within their development program.” Says O’Donnell. “Independent record stores continue to thrive in an every changing world and it’s essential for those of us who participate in this industry are open to collaboration and ways to support each other to keep our vibrant and local talent in front of music lovers.”
Given the buzz bubbling up around all of the acts included on the 12”, it's easy to imagine some of the songs booming out of nightclub speakers over the months to come.