641rpm: A hub for the music scene
Meet Travis Reyes of 641rpm Records.
The store (currently located at 641 W. King St.), which he co-runs with his business partner, Kevin Freeman (of local band Karloffs fame), is among the meccas of Boone's growing music scene with its live shows and conversation starters, but it's shifting gears.
While the former Grapevine Music location has been the home of rockers and record collectors for decades, 641rpm is taking its contents to a new location, the former home of the Jean Pool (691 W. King St.).
While this means fewer live shows in-house, it might be a good thing for the music scene and the store. The store will be able to expand its inventory in "a bigger space," and, as for the live shows, Reyes is using the location change as an opportunity to book elsewhere. While he already books shows at Boone Saloon, he's looking into other options for the musicians he scouts out, including Black Cat Burrito, and, at some point, he hopes the ReelHouse Cinema & Draft. This way, instead of concentrating on one venue, he can expand to spread out the music scene, in particular, to venues that allow for a younger audience.
In the meantime, records pay the bills.
"People just don't buy CDs anymore ... they're more into buying records," he said.
After all, records are tangible, the complete opposite of the mp3 craze, thus satisfying the need for the nostalgic, the dependable, and the classic sound.
It's something he's known since he first started collecting records at 15.
"Initially, it was my dad's record collection," he said. "They were these big, dusty, dirty, smelly things ... they weren't CDs ... they had some character to them. There's so much music that's not on CD ... still now. In fact, you can find music you've never seen or heard of ... there's something about the look of it. I think that's what has brought people back to records. CD sales and even mp3 sales are going down, because you can download it for free. ...Record sales are actually going up ... a record, it's more of a proactive experience. You have to put it on. You have to put the needle on. You have to put the record on."
Reyes and Freeman don't just know records.
They know music.
"We both worked at record stores for the past 10 years," Reyes said. "We've both been into classic records since we were 18-years-old."
Between Freeman and Reyes, that means 35 years.
But 641rpm isn't just about the records. It's also the home of Boone's budding new record label, Django Kill Records, the label of popular local rockers Naked Gods, currently on tour to support a new 7-inch through Wednesday with Invisible Hand.
While outsiders have questioned the economics of having a Boone-based label, the Reyes creation isn't going anywhere. After all, Boone is more than just a home to Reyes, it's a community, and, despite having contacts in larger cities ("You work at record stores long enough, you meet people through ordering and seeing shows."), Boone is where he plans to stay.
"It's a very laid back vibe in Boone," he said. "I feel like everyone seems very comfortable here. It's very few and far between that I hear someone say they're not comfortable in Boone ... the fact that it's been a little secret for so long is kind of nice."
And Boone's growing music scene keeps feeding his addiction to the town he's come to love.
"There's always something happening," he said. "There's a ton of major music."
Still, he hears it all the time: "There's no music scene here."
His response? An eye roll.
"Those kind of people really hurt me," he said. "Those are the kind of people who don't come out to shows ... they don't try to start anything."
And they don't come to shows.
Reyes's pet peeve? When upscale talent like Malcolm Holcombe comes to town and only 35 people show up.
"It's disturbing to me," he said. "I think people are just scared to go out and find something to do ... they just don't want to leave their couch. Scenes don't just happen. You have to create it."
His solution? Creating that community. 641rpm Records is part of the effort.
"The record store, I would hope, can be a hub for a community of musicians and music lovers," he said.
And it's already working. Ask around and you'll hear the buzz, about Reyes, about his store, about the Naked Gods.
641rpm celebrates the grand opening of its new location with a big sale July 5.
Wednesday, June 30, rpm presents Naked Gods ( http://www.nakedgods.com) with Invisible Hand, fresh off tour, at the Boone Saloon. Cover is $5.