Specialized in rare soul 45s Chicano Sweet Soul Ballads, Friends Of Sound Records is a record store located in this warm and lovely city of San Antonio, Texas! We had a little chat with George, the owner, about the business, the music and everything in between. Discover the interview!
Friends Of Sound Records – The Shop
Can you introduce your shop, you or your team to our readers?
My name is George and my team is Rambo, Kris, Anthony, Kat and new team member Miguel.
Since when your shop is open? What motivates you to open it?
Friends Of Sound opened in 2006 in Austin, Texas by David Haffner. I took over and relocated the store to San Antonio in August of 2016. I didn’t need much motivation it feels more like destiny fulfilment.
We have never nor will we ever carry Record Store Day records
The daily life of a record store, what does it look like?
Daily life in my record store is full of positive energy!! Imagine stacks of records in a 100 years old building with 20 ft ceilings and conversations about what we love.
Are you specialized in a particular genre of music?
Loaded question! We are a used store so we keep everything from rock to house to Gospel in all price ranges from .50 to “I can’t believe that record cost that much!”
I would say we specialize in rare soul 45s Chicano Sweet Soul Ballads and regional Tejano and Conjunto music, Cumbias etc., but we love Gospel, Boogie, Disco and Jazz. We are a bunch of music nerds who just like good music no matter the genre.
What are your strengths over the competition around?
I think our biggest strength is being a 95% used store. We don’t rely on wholesale distributors and often travel the country to find records. It’s a model that many stores don’t follow anymore but for us this is a lifestyle and people who come here know they get music from passionate people in a very friendly inviting atmosphere and I think that what makes us stand out from the other stores in the area.
A funny anecdote to tell us since the opening of the shop?
We came across a collection of records that included old promo items, one sheets promo pics etc., from a local band from the 70s. I remember one of the pictures had a woman sitting in the center in a white dress. We are sitting here at the shop and the phone rings, it’s a woman calling about a collection she wants to sell so we go to her house and she starts talking to us and as we ask more questions we find out she’s a singer and she brings out a promo pic of a woman in a white dress, the same one we had just been looking at!!!!
How is the record market doing in San Antonio?
The record market is a little slow but we have a strong following of guests who come through 3 or more times a week. We also sell a lot of records online.
Your typical customer? Rather passionate or neophyte? What are they looking for in your shop?
Well because we are a used store we do get a lot of people looking for original press records which we are happy to do as we probably have one of the largest selections of used records in town. We get record collectors and newbies but certainly cater more to the collectors who are passionate.
This record game can get pretty silly
The 5 best records of this year according to you?
- Dos Santos – Logos LP
- Combo Chimbita – Abya Yala LP
- Ben Pirani – How Do I Talk To My Brother LP
- Sunny and The Sunliners (LP Comp) – Mr. Brown Eyed Soul
- Kimberlite out of Canada put out 2 solid soul 45s
- The Estimations – Can’t Do This To Me / Let Me Go 7in
- Broken Hearts Inc. – Please Don’t Walk Away / Heartache ( Is All You Get)
Your selection of the 5 most disappointing albums this year?
We usually don’t carry records that disappoint us. LOL
Your personal musical tastes?
Funk/ Soul, Disco, Boogie, Hip Hop, Reggae and World Music mainly Latin records!
According to you?
Original pressings or re-issues? Why?
I collect originals because I fortunately have access to them and I don’t mind paying for something that will most likely hold its value. Some people don’t have the luxury of access to these sought after records or just don’t want to pay for it. Which I get because some guys have kids and families, this record game can get pretty silly.
What are your thoughts on the Record Store Day?
Another loaded question! We have a lot of hard core collector friends who despise it and hate the industry behind it. We have never nor will we ever carry RSD records. I personally don’t like the way it’s set up to take advantage of stores and consumers. We have plenty competing stores still selling RSD records from 5 years ago that they paid way too much for. Ironically we are the only store in the city that doesn’t carry RSD and it is one of our best days of the year so I’m ok with RSD.
Your thoughts on the digital music?
Digital formats are ok with me I’m a professional DJ so I use Vinyl and Serato.
Want to add something about yourself? Now it’s the time 😉
We have in-store all the time from local and touring musicians. We are active in the community and our doors are always open in San Antonio!
Where to find Friends Of Sound Records
We sell online on Discogs
Our website is friendsofsound.com
You can also catch us on Mixcloud
Our Facebook page: friendsofsoundrecords
We are very active on IG @friendsofsound and twitter @friendsofsound.
We are friendly folks who love what we do and we would love to see your face in our shop: 700 Fredericksburg Rd, San Antonio, TX 78201, USA
You can also drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos credit: Courtesy of Friends Of Sound Records
Thanks a lot George for your time and answers, it was a real pleasure for us!