Tuesday, June 29, 2010

An Interview with Lauren Reskin of Sweat Records

Hello again my fellow prisoners, after quite some time of being on this whole gloomy oil disaster trip, I've decided to shift gears and get back into Gonzo mode once again (before I get committed to chain link windows) and report a story of what I consider to be of great import; (and sometimes even export to, if you want to get technical about it...) specifically for the sake of the finest musicians this city has to offer. Of course, bear in mind that this interview was out there for quite some time, still gathering the much needed A section of a Q session. So for a while there, I guess you can technically say it was a one-way interview between myself and the unknown variable that is fate throwing some dice. And it just so happens that today I checked my inbox and lo' and behold... I rolled a seven! For I noticed that the interviewee (i.e. a one Lauren Reskin) had taken her time to fill out her responses carefully and to the best of her highly articulate abilities, and provided me with some pretty straightforward and directly to the point answers. No fluff here, folks... this is all bunny free, satisfaction guaranteed! And so it gives me a great privilege to share with you all the skinny on a pretty groovy record store by the name of Sweat Records. So without any further ado, here it is, folks! Enjoy...

PS: How long have you lived in Florida? Are you an original native of this land in the sun of ours?

LR: I was born in South Miami and have lived here all my life.

PS: What inspired you to open a record store?

LR: The fact that by the time I was getting out of high school, Miami didn't really have a sort of classic indie record store. The city is very spread out and I knew it would become a destination for music lovers from all over, not to mention visiting tourists looking for Miami culture beyond the South Beach scene.

Sweat Records Image 1
View from the inside...pretty cool for such
a sweaty place, dontcha think, folks?

PS: Why is it called "Sweat" Records? Is there a story behind that name? Did you come up with it yourself? Details please...

LR: My friend Sara who co-founded the store and I chose Sweat for several reasons. First is that it's Miami, it's sweaty. Second is that we do a lot of yoga together. Third is that the term can be used like "I'm sweating that new Broken Bells record so hard." It just works.

PS: What's your opinion of the Miami music scene in general? What do you feel are its strengths and weaknesses?

LR: The scene is on a massive upswing. Strengths-wise we have a TON of fantastic bands and artists making unique music and putting on great live shows, and lots of people actually going out to see these local shows. As for weaknesses, the scene in general could always use a few more venues, especially places that cater to all ages. A lot of bands I know could also use proper management to help guide them along. It's sad to see a band that's crazy talented but can't get their shit together enough to get merchandise made or properly promote their own shows.

Sweat Records Image 2
View from the outside...courtesy of Google Maps
street (AKA: roadside stalker) view.

PS: Do you feel as though your store serves a great purpose as far as turning the masses on to the local talent that Florida has to offer is concerned?

LR: Absolutely, and once we launch our local webstore (hopefully by the end of the summer), we'll have an even broader reach.

PS: Your store has been voted in The New Times best of category... what were the exact titles/nominations that you all received honorable mention for again?

LR: To answer your question... We've been voted Best New Music Store (in our first year); Best Record/CD Store a couple times, and recently Best Birthday Party for our Sweatstock event last April. They sorta stopped giving us "Best Record Store" because we're really almost the only record store.

Sweat Records Image 3
Ready? Set... Sweat!
(April 2010)

PS: Do you think that these noteworthy write-ups have succeeded in driving more customers to your store, or at least done something more beneficial for your place, in as far as getting some type of recognition for what you all do, or better put... have these votes gotten the word out about your venue?

LR: Not sure if it brings us a ton of new customers but it's nice to be recognized either way. They write about our events all the time anyways, so we love The New Times and totally support what they're doing.
PS: What do you feel as though your store has to offer that can't be found in any other typical record store?

LR: Well, local flavor for sure, and we're the only vegan coffee shop in South Florida so we've gotten a huge response from that. We're the only place in the whole tri-county area to carry Sweet & Sara vegan marshmallows from NYC, and we've started doing vegan brunch on Sundays. We also throw a ton of in-store events every month and do everything from stand-up comedy to circuit bending workshops.

Rachel Goodrich
And here we see a local musician (Rachel Goodrich)
who's definitely got her shit together... showing
her support for Sweat (and Heineken, too!)

PS: Aside from the aforementioned endeavor of yours, with the plans you have with the whole online store and whatnot, what else do you see in the immediate future for your store? Will there be more store locations, or do you plan on staying in the same location long enough to establish a sort of long term reputation, like say a mom and pop shop... you know, like something along the lines of what Tobacco Road and/or Churchill's has garnered for themselves due to longevity and all?

LR: In the immediate future we just want to stay here and hone and improve our location into the best record store it can possibly be. Longevity is our main goal so we don't want to dilute our resources just yet.

So there you have it folks; Sweat, Live Music, Stand-Up Comedy Acts, Vegan Eatery, and a pretty chill place to hang out at... all under one roof! Definitely worth checking out. You can visit Sweat Records at the following links listed below for more details, or if you're in the area, just walk on in and check the place out for yourself, live and in person! It's located at 5505 NE 2nd Avenue (directly situated right next to Churchill's Pub).

- http://sweatrecordsmiami.com

- http://www.facebook.com/sweatrecords

- http://www.twitter.com/sweatrecords

This has been P.S. Elliott (AKA: the reverend of irreverence Dr. Gonzo XXVII) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

P.S. No bunnies, rabbits, hares, or any other member bearing even the remotest semblance to the rodentia family were harmed during the making of this here interview. Well, maybe except for Mortimer Mouse, but he was dead long before he had a chance to make a household name for himself... that is, WAY before this blog piece was ever even conceived to be published! But at any rate, let's all bow our heads in unison, just so we can have a moment of silence for that aborted Disney concept!

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