Pagal Record Store Is Back To Business After A Brief Pause

Pagal Record Store Is Back To Business After A Brief Pause

The popular New-Delhi based record store reopens its doors after a brief sabbatical.

In this day and age, we are constantly surrounded by technology and innovation, every step of the way. Whether it is music, sports, or movies, technology has become an intrinsic part of all these fields, and to stay relevant, it is imperative to evolve with the times.

However, there are certain things that no matter how old they get, have a strong identity - a nostalgic feeling, perhaps - that is impossible to let go of entirely. Such is the case with a good old Vinyl Record or Cassette Tape.

Back in the day music was consumed in a very different way than today’s instant downloads. 90s kids will still remember the trips taken to the corner music store, scouring the aisles of different genres to pick up the latest cassette tape of their favourite band or musician and brimming with excitement on the ride home, in anticipation of listening to new music all night long on the family music system.

Before technology took over, music was released in the form of Vinyl’s or Records and later on also in the form of cassettes. Vinyl holds a special place in the heart of every music aficionado, and not only does it transport you back to another time, another place that matches no other - but the electric vibe of the music connects to your soul.

With various producers, musicians and DJ's moving towards digital means - an entire music set can pretty much fit into one pen-drive, which is definitely less cumbersome than lugging around stacks of records - Vinyl is a dying breed. However, one store that is trying to keep the essence of music alive is Pagal Record Store.

Pagal Record Store is a Vinyl and Cassette store tucked away in one of the famous, whimsical Hauz Khas Village lanes in New Delhi. Established in 2017, it’s a one-stop-shop for music lovers all over.

FTC caught up with Joginder aka Joe, owner and founder of the record store, to get his take on the current music culture, his love for vintage records, and what the future holds for the store.

“I first started to sell records in Paris in flea and vintage markets. Then I came to India with some records and started to dig in old Delhi and other cities of India and found a lot of great records. So I thought, why not open a western-style record store with record players available to the customer - a kind of living room for music lovers. That's how we started, from Paris to Delhi.”

Joe

For anyone who follows them on Instagram or has visited in-store, it is clear they house an array of genres.

"Pagal Record Store is a concept store where people coming in can find everything related to the music world. We aim to become a social place for musicians, DJs, music collectors and people interested in the vinyl culture. We sell records but we are also a listening room where everyone can enjoy a record."

Joe

From Disco to Reggae, Punk Rock to Jazz, Sufi to Techno - there is something for everyone. Joe, a music junkie himself, claims traveling and various other life experiences have helped him discover some of his favourite records to date.

“When I was 14 years old I went for a summertime holiday to my cousin's house. He is older than me and we went to a Guns n Roses concert. He was playing only The Spaghetti Incident album and then Pearl Jam's Ten, the entire time I was there - we burned those 2 audio cassettes! I would say, that is surely still in my top 5 now Bob Marley, Talkin Blues, Prodigy - Music For The Jilted Generation, and Talvin Singh - Anokha."

Joe

Delhi is a city with a lot of history and gives you a glimpse of both worlds, old and new (Pre and Post Independence). The monuments and rich culture effortlessly take you back in time and capture every ounce of your imagination.

From classical maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, who worked at the All India Radio in Delhi before becoming the legend that is, to Electronic music duo Midival Punditz who ruled the late 2000’s, to electronic/techno DJ’s like BLOT and Kohra - all hailing from Delhi - the capital city has had an important significance with regards to the countries music scene.

Additionally, with collectives like Boxout.fm supporting the whole movement of a multi-genre underground scene, it only made sense to open a concept store like Pagal Records to further the initiative.

“There was no market for records, so it was a good place to start. If an opportunity does not exist, create it! That was the idea behind it. I can't forget to mention Boxout.FM, they supported my project and help spread the vinyl culture hosting many DJs including my show with Indian vinyl called Awara Sound."

Joe

However, with a record store also comes the responsibility of successfully running it - especially in today’s time and age where everything is readily available online.

Pagal Record Store has done an exceptional job of keeping the concept of traditional records, alive and kicking with the customers being one of the most important and influential factors in keeping the store functioning.

“We sell a lot online and now that the music scene in Delhi is growing a lot, we have many international DJs as well. Indians tend to gravitate towards buying classic rock, especially senior citizens. What more can I say, I have a great staff and the business runs."

Joe

Although India has a diverse group of music lovers, due to digitisation, the way music is consumed has certainly changed and pressing of vinyls is almost extinct in the country as of today.

“In India, only Amarrass Records cuts vinyl, no other productions are made in the country. Vinyl culture is important to rediscover music - no music platform can compare with the world's vinyl collection. If you want to create your own music taste rather than follow an algorithm then your choice is the vinyl world. If you want to own a real music collection you have to buy vinyl. It's like food - it is one thing to have a nice picture on a social network, and another to have the same plate in front of you, with its taste, colours, smell - all those sensitive details can't be conveyed in virtuality.”

Joe

Joe addresses the most important aspect of listening to a song on a record as opposed to a digital platform.

“First of all, it's the physical act of listening to an album on the record itself. You keep your record in a place you have set up like a library and then go on to find that particular album. You take the album out, you hold the album in your hand, you see the album art, maybe read the lyrics or the backside. Admire the artwork or the artist who contributed to the album, if it's a gatefold you open it to read it."

Joe

He further elaborates,

"It's nothing like YouTube or other music platforms where you only see the album through a screen in whatever size screen you're in - mostly it's a phone, so maybe a 4-inch album art. Whereas here you have a solid 12-inch album. Then, when you put the vinyl on the player it's the analog sound, there's no digital. The songs come out of a piece of something. If you love an album, you'll love the vinyl of it even ten times more.”

Joe

The entire world has been going through turbulent times due to the Pandemic. It has been difficult for businesses to sustain themselves, but the record store recently opened its doors for the customers once again. While the vibe might not feel the same with the social distancing rules imposed, health and safety are top priority and customers will finally be able to visit their favourite record shop again keeping in mind the regulations.

"Initially, it was like a sudden jerk, especially during the lockdown we had trouble keeping the store open. Doing online business was also hard since everything was shut. People still come to the store just to check us out and if they're around they may buy an album but that is seldom, since not a lot of people are coming out. But slowly, we have gotten back on our feet. Thanks to the people's love for vinyl, we are open once again but business nowadays is mostly online, ironically.”

Joe

With things slowly starting to resume and gain momentum, Pagal Record Store, which also organises Record Store Day festivities and co-hosts the New Delhi Vinyl Fair are firm believers that there is a future for the vintage medium.

They are the pioneers in spearheading the movement to make Vinyl popular once again and appreciate the true beauty behind the unique sound. Check out the store's Instagram page to have a look into the hundreds of different sounds they cater to!

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