Music Record Shop's Dan Sexauer Talks About Local Vinyl And More
Dan Sexauer has been passionate about music—and a part of the scene—for more than ten years. After studying music management, working at local venues like The Old Rock House and 2720, along with Madison House (a booking agency out of Boulder, CO) and playing guitar for a band called Laite, Sexauer has seen a lot of different sides to the music industry. “I feel fairly comfortable with knowing most of the people in the scene in one way or another,” he says.
Now, kicking back to enjoy the show, Sexauer watches the music scene go by from behind the counter of Music Record Shop—a relatively new addition to The Grove. The shop has not only hit the ground running as far as business goes, but has earned a slot in the hearts of local music collectors and creators. Surrounded by new and old vinyl, from classic to modern day records, Sexauer finds himself in the midst of music heaven explaining, “I think it’s cool when record stores are a hub where people can talk music whether it’s local or national acts,” he says. “It’s a meeting place for music-lovers and it’s cool when you can be comfortable with the staff. I think we’re small enough that we can have a personal aspect with the customer and I take pride in that.”
You can catch Sexauer spinning his favorite records at The Gramophone every third Sunday of the month. Check out the Q+A below for all things Music Record Shop, and its involvement in our music community.
How did the shop come about?
Mark Carter (owner) started a website first. He opened up a shop in Kirkwood, and then he heard about the opportunity at this location. I was told about the shop coming around by Brandon Cavanagh from The Demo. [The music venue located next door.]
When did the shop open?
Who would you say is your biggest clientele?
It varies. There’s the guys who have always been collecting since vinyl was more prominent, but then there is a whole market of people just getting into it. It’s fairly diverse.
How did you get the job?
I worked with slackers before—I always like to be around music. I got Mark’s contact, we took a meeting and he liked my resume. I’ve been there since it opened. I went full time with it August 2015.
What do you like most about working there?
It’s a cool gig ’cause I get to do a variety of things and it’s always evolving. From the event booking to social media, and some of the ordering. It’s typically exciting.
Can you talk about an album that came through the shop that you found unique or exciting?
There’s a really cool local band, Staghorn—they had really unique packaging. I’ve never seen anything like it. They are a couple from Florida, and moved here somewhat recently. They do amplifier and guitar petal custom modifications on Cherokee—it’s called Mills Custom. They put the record in a burlap sack, it was a colored vinyl, kind of pink & white swirl. It definitely stood out to me—one of the coolest local packaging that’s come through.
Who else works in the shop?
How do you find the records to put in store?
It’s a collaborative process between staff and customers. The staff definitely has a bit of an input, but we’re always listening to customers to hear what they want, too.
What is the goal of Music Record Shop? What does it hope to represent in our community?
We will outright buy local releases on the spot—skip the consignment. Also, [Carter, the owner] has been doing replication—cassette, CD, DVD. You take your finished product to him, with your artwork and he’ll do the packaging. He’s done it for Obviously Offbeat (Kevin Koehler‘ new project), Brother Lee’s new record. He’s done it in the past and it’s something he’s revisiting. One thing I can say is it’s [Music Record Shop] very local-centric.
When did the in-store performances start? That was one of my roles right away. I think our first one was Cassette Store Day October 2014. We had The Reverbs, Little Big Bangs, and Boreal Hills—all bands with tape releases. We try to have on average one a week.
Talk about the collection of local music on the shelves.
It’s a mix of vinyl, tape, CDs—7-, 10-, and 12-inch records. It’s a wide variety of styles. We work closely with CaveofSwords, their most recent “Sigils” was probably one of our hotter releases in terms of local. That was also a really cool translucent vinyl, the whole colored vinyl is kinda a big thing on its own. Bruiser Queen did a special release of demos on Cassette Store Day 2015. Boreal Hills did a custom-painted tape where each was painted individually but if the cassettes were put together, it made an image.
Talk about the in-store artwork done by local artists.
Dana Richard Smith is the artist. He goes and photographs shows and then takes his favorite photos and paints them. They are all for sale. The most famous—he did two separate paintings of Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar from Mississippi Nights. Dana came to me and had these paintings—he wanted to get them hung somewhere out of storage; it made sense. We get a lot of compliments on those. We work closely with Joey Albanese, too. He does all the chalk art. He’s been doing that since the get go. It’s always been a theme of the shop. He’s done our genre signs hanging above the bins, and he also did the painting on the window.
Do you have any ideas for the future of the shop and its involvement in the STL music scene?
We want to continue what we’re doing with the replication and the local buying. We want to continue to push and promote local records. Also, we’re doing “Turn Table Take Over” with local and touring artists. It’s an event where an artist, a band, a tastemaker in STL runs the sound for a while and they can play their favorite records in the shop.