The formally known humble record store Sweet Little Hi-Fi has undergone some serious changes, now operating under the new title Prehistoric Records, along with a brand new Warrnambool location. Forté chat to owner Shane Godfrey.
Hey Shane, thanks for taking the time to chat to Forte. You’ve had a change of name from Sweet Little Hi-Fi. What was the reason for the change?
Well the business as it stands is very different to the one I started eight years ago. The musical reference to “Sweet Little Hi-Fi” was always a little too obscure for people to get. When I started, I was selling turntable accessories online, but that evolved into a record shop – it happened so gradually even I almost didn’t notice! With the new premises here in Warrnambool, I thought I would go with a new identity too.
You’ve recently been doing some work to the store itself. What’s changed and what’s new?
Well with the new premises, the big thing is I’m actually there all the time! I get to interact personally with people. Before a lot was done through social media, which worked well for a time, but I also felt it may have held the business back too – I have always had a lot on my plate. In addition I am concentrating more on bringing in quality LPs from Australia and all around the world as well as Pre-loved LPs and CDs, and ramping up my online shipping all around the world to such places as US, Japan, UK, Europe and even Iceland! Little by little I will introduce those things, put on the odd gig here and there, and you never know but I’d really like to start my own record label.
You regularly announce new arrivals of new and pre-loved Vinyl Records and CDs. How does the process of the business work?
I get new stock each week. Anywhere from 40 to 120 new titles. I usually organise one import shipment – be it from the UK, US or Europe per week and order from local suppliers all the time. Due to population constraints, I can’t really specialise in particular genres like some stores in Melbourne, so I get a pretty broad range from Madonna to Muddy Waters, Sex Pistols to Slayer and Fela Kuti to Frank Zappa!
What has been the most meaningful record you have bought to date and why?
That is difficult to answer as I feel the answer could change weekly! The most meaningful would be the two volumes of the Murder Punk CDs which are bootlegs of early Australian punk singles from the 70s. They sparked a renewed interest in early Australian punk and a lot of those tracks were later released legitimately. Bands like The Chosen Few, Fun Things, Scientists and The Victims.
How do you find the record scene in regional towns like Warrnambool and Geelong? In your opinion what is it that keeps people coming back and buying records?
It’s a growing scene for sure. When I started it was mainly the domain of middle aged men! That demographic is now certainly changing across the board. This past Xmas a lot of people got turntables. They grabbed their old records from the garage and are buying new music and reissues of established acts. I think the revival is due that vinyl is tactile, you have to work to put a record on! So it demands you actually listen to it, rather than mere background noise. The other aspect is the collectable nature, coloured vinyl, picture discs, special packaging, limited pressings all contribute.
There is still a lot of stuff that has not been made available on vinyl or has been out of press for years. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked for Queens Of The Stone Age “Songs For The Deaf” on vinyl I would be a rich man… but I’m certain it will happen!
The new shop is located at the Rear 130 Liebig Street Warrnambool is open Wednesday to Saturday, with the stall at the Mill Market in Newcomb continued being restocked every Tuesday
Visit their Facebook for more info.