Monday, September 6, 2010

Get your vinyl on @ the DC Record Fair!: Q&A with Neal Becton, Owner of Som Records

Here's what DC's Czar of Vinyl, Neal Becton, had to say about Som Records, Brazil, crabcakes and the upcoming DC Record Fair!


Q: You mentioned that vinyl record shopping has become a "special trip" now.  What do you mean by that?  

A: Well its not like the old days where everyone got their music from the local record store. You can buy online, copy CD's from friends, whatever. You can stock your whole music library without leaving your apartment so a trip to a local music store is more of a planned event these days.

Q: We are already excited to hit the next DC Record Fair, set for Sunday, Sept. 26th.  Where and what can vinyl enthusiasts expect to find?

A: This show is going to be at the U STREET MUSIC HALL . We hold record shows about three times a year and we've had them at the Black Cat, Comet Ping Pong, Civilian Arts Project and the Warehouse Next Door. For each show we invite record dealers from all over the East Coast and have a mix of DJ's.  The dealers (who we change every show) bring records in a mix of styles and price ranges. You can find rare Blue Note jazz records (and pay accordingly) or stock up on dollar bin classic rock. Its a little bit of everything but its all vinyl.

Q: You've been booking Brazilian Nights at Cafe Saint Ex for two years now.  For those who've never been what are they like?  

 A: My "Brazilian Rhythms" nights are basically a musical trip to Brazil. I play everything from classic bossa nova and samba to current baile funk and hip-hop and everything in between. Its definitely a dance night as opposed to a see and be seen night. We get more and more Brazilians coming out each month so we must be doing something right!

Q: Who are the local DJ's that you book for Marvin's and Cafe Saint Ex and what are their styles?  

A: There are loads I like and their styles vary. Depending on the night they might play hip-hop, or indie rock or reggae, it just depends. Some of my favorites are DJ DK who is an awesome on the turntables, DJ Nitekrawler who has the best funk collection around, and DJ D-Mac who can really rock the party (pardon the cliche).

Q: With out giving away too many secrets, how do you find your stock for Som Records? 

A: I go out looking for records almost every day. Thrift stores, flea markets, estate sales, yard sales, relatives' garages, you name it. The longer my store stays where it is the more records walk into the shop which is the ideal (saves on gas!). Whenever I go out of state (to see my parents in Florida for example) I turn the trip into a record finding mission. If anyone reading this wants to sell (or give or trade) me any records please call.

Q: What is the rarest record you've ever come across and did you put it up for sale or did you keep it for your personal collection?

 A: Last year my wife and I drove from LA to Monterey. We stopped one night in Pismo Beach. At breakfast I checked the local craigslist and found a yard sale, actually it said "free records," and it was only five minutes from the hotel. I went and checked it out and an came back with 25-30 interesting looking Christian rock records. Most turned out to be pretty worthless but one was a sealed copy of The Search Party - MONTGOMERY CHAPEL , I sold it for $1200. I was tempted to keep it but not at that price!

Q: What's your favorite Thing to Do in DC? 

 A: So many fun things to do around here, but probably spending a Saturday morning shopping at Eastern Market and having crab cakes at the counter inside after is my favorite.

 Photo Credit: Sam Vasfi

Photo Credit: Jennifer Vinson

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