In a world of digital downloads, albums, and MP3s…there are some places that are staunch holdouts that shine like a beacon proclaiming that the best way to experience music, is still in the physical form and not the digital.
One such place that sticks out to us in doing so is Galaxy CD’S located at 94 N. Brookwood Ave. in Hamilton, Ohio. This safe haven of music is owned and operated by Ryan Shoemaker.
So we decided to sit down and shoot the breeze with Ryan and see what Galaxy CD’S is all about..this is what we found out.
(Stone Sour Playing In The Background)
MMN: “How long have you been in business?”
Ryan: “We have been here eleven years…well, a little over eleven years.”
MMN: “So what got you started in wanting to open up a record store?”
Ryan: “Well…I have worked at a chain of independent record stores in the 80’s. That was the coolest job I ever had. Then I spent the next 15 or 16 years in corporate retail and I just got tired of that. I had some money and the opportunity at the time, so I figured if I don’t do it now, I’m never going to do it. So I walked away from a real good job…and opened this place.”
MMN: “You actually started out at a smaller location (over on main st.) correct?”
Ryan: “We actually moved over here to our current location last May. We needed more room and plus our lease was up over there. There was some things we wanted to do that we just couldn’t do over there because we were just so jammed packed full of stuff. (We needed more room) for all the in-store shows we have been having.”
MMN: “So you put on live shows right in your store?”
Ryan: “Oh yeah! We just did one three days ago (with O’Brother), and a week ago. We actually have another show coming up on August 16th. We are trying to put on a couple a month.”
MMN: “So we noticed you have a lot of graffiti pieces up…”
Ryan: “That was something cool to do. That was actually a whim I had with a guy named Chris that would always come into the store. He was always getting into trouble with graffiti, so I just asked him one day “What if I gave you guys like 100 ft. of wall and no cops would you do some work for free?” So Chris and you (looks over at Richard) and some others were over here I don’t know how many nights and weeks painting before we started moving stuff in here. Man it looks great! Its like a chance to have something different in the store and showcase it as art as opposed to vandalism for people that have a real pre-conceived notion that graffiti is all bad. Actually when people come in and see some of the stuff they are like “Wow, these are really good!” So it worked for us and it worked for them, and plus it helps get rid of some of the stigma away from graffiti art.”
MMN: “So besides albums, what other products do you sell?”
Ryan: “We have new and used DVD’s, Blue-Rays, Magazines, and T-Shirts. Actually…a lot of T-Shirts. Those would be the big ones, the main products outside of albums. We also sell a bunch of energy drinks, Jones Soda, and a lot of odds and ends items to keep people in the store. The reason for that is because this place seems to be kind of a hangout where people can sit on the couch and bullshit for sometimes hours. It just has that cool environment. And actually that couch was something we just picked up for people to use while they are here.”
MMN: “As far as the local Hamilton music market goes, what do you think of it and how does it treat you?
Ryan: “Well, it is a tough market because on one hand its small and it has a limited audience. And not to throw Hamilton under the bus…but the number of people who are into the really cool cultural pieces if you will, is very limited in size and you don’t have the population. But the plus side of it is Hamilton may be a little behind the curve technology wise so there are still a lot of people who buy CDs rather than downloading stuff on their iPods. So it kinda balances out by having a smaller audience but more of them are still purchasing products.”
MMN: “When people walk in the door, is there really one type of genre of music that tends to sell better here?”
Ryan: “Well, typically in an independent record store the music would skew very hip. The stuff would be very indie rock, like the music you would see on Pitchfork and sites like that. But being the only record store in a town this size, the customer base is very diverse. We sell a lot of blues, country, hip-hop, and metal. We are the only place around that carries a lot of that stuff. Unless…you want to drive all the way to Cincinnati. So I don’t think we have just one genre that kinda keeps the place going. Its a very broad spectrum.”
MMN: “Didn’t you open up as a CD shop along with a skate shop as well?”
Ryan: “Actually a friend of mine had that skate shop, and we opened it up ohh I don’t know…a year after I had been open. We had the space at the time and he was looking for something to do, that was really…that was good cenergy for us. We had like the same kind of kids coming in and hanging out. That worked out really well, and we did it for like two years, but then he moved to another spot and we have gone on to do other things. You know, that was a really interesting time in our history that’s for sure. (Laughing)”
MMN: “Out of curiosity and fun, if you could meet any artist dead or alive…who would it be and why?”
Ryan: “Ohhh boy…uh…probably Jeff Buckley.”
“Because his album Grace, it is like a touchstone to my era of kinda alternative music. Its such a gorgeous record. And Jeff was obviously the guy who was cut down in his prime, you never really got to see what he would have been able to do beyond that record. So I uh, I really would like to talk to him to just find out what he would have gone on to do and what his plans were when he died.”
So check out Galaxy CDS on the web here: http://galaxydiscs.com
Facebook em here: http://www.facebook.com/galaxycds
And tweet them here: https://twitter.com/#!/galaxycds
Also, if you have a chance…go to GALAXY CDS and say hello to Ryan for us! I’m sure he would appreciate it. And while you are there, buy some awesome music for your collection and catch an in-store show that has a great intimate atmosphere.
And sit on the couch and BS for awhile…its comfy.
Written and Interviewed by: Matthew Dickson