Vinyl Trekking: Matsumoto Hisataakaa of VINYL7

WRITER
Hidesumi Yoshimoto

— When was the last time you traveled?
I went last October. I am thinking of going again in February.

— That sounds like harsh winter weather….
Oh, but the cold is another reason to go—like enjoying clam chowder! [Laughter.]  There are plenty of things to be enjoyed because it’s the cold season—eating lobster! People may start to think that I am just having fun on these trips! [Laughs.]

— Between the hard work you are doing! [Laughter.]
I also really like going to diners. Diners are originally from that part of the US, and since it was one of the first regions to get established, you come across a lot of “the original this-and-that” businesses there. The South Street Diner is a 24-hour place, and Miss Worcester Diner has been operating for 90 years. I go to those places and devour a huge breakfast—an unfathomable amount in Japan—and then I keep my lunch to a banana and yogurt. I need to maintain my health and... [laughs] gotta keep myself regular!


Opened in 1974, the historic South Street Diner looks like something straight out of a movie. Tourists also find their way there.

Miss Worcester is an old Boston diner. A hefty serving—guaranteed.

— Which record shops do you frequent in Boston?
I go to In Your Ear Records. The owner there is super sweet. I go there and also to CHEAPO RECORDS—I always do. I have been going to ‘In Your Ear’ for about 20 years now, so I am kind of acquainted with the owner—we don’t even know each other's names, but he is always like: “Hey, I am glad you came!” Supposedly, he is very famous in the Boston indie scene, and he takes good care of me: he sets aside popular 7-inch rap records for me, he lets me park in employee parking, and I am also allowed to use the employee bathroom as much as I want! [Laughter.]

In Your Ear Records

CHEAPO RECORDS

— What about that flea markets you were talking about in the beginning?

That “Books Used & Rare” place is just incredible. It sells everything. The flea markets around there are set indoors, and they are divided into individual booths for each merchant to maintain. The pricing is all over the place. If you comb through the isles carefully—and mind you, they don’t have the same values as a record shop—you can find surprising things at a surprising price.

— What was the best part of your last trip, personally?
Personally, it was the fact that I found a lot of oldies records.

— Like from the ‘50s?
Yes, I bought those, too. Some of them I bought are called “soft rock” in the US: the one-hit wonder songs, or straight up hit songs from the past. I have heard them before, but I listened to them again on a record that I bought—and they are good. I know this goes against that whole “rare groove” thing… but I have to admit, I like mainstream hit songs! [Laughs.]

A storage space of a jukebox vendor in the US. The boxes stacked high are full of 7-inch hit songs—a rare find in Japan.

— At the end of the day, hit songs are well-made. [Laughter.]
Yes, like Taylor Swift these days. Somewhere outside of Boston, I saw a group of adorable girls walking around listening to Cardi B on their iPhones—I mean, that song is horrifying—but I enjoy seeing them enjoying music.

— Are there other unexpected places you may go to besides record shops and flea markets?
For example, a jukebox vendor has a lot of records. Of course, they don’t put up a sign advertising as a record shop, but depending on the vendor, they have an incredible amount. They are all hits, mind you. In their storage spaces, sometimes I even find songs that I never knew came out on vinyl.

— Lastly, can you share with us your record picks?
Maybe they aren’t that popular in my store, but personally, I choose these three 7-inch records.  Louis Armstrong in the soundtrack for Good Morning Vietnam—he makes me happy—Hansen’s super pop hit song, and the debut song of Britney Spears. I bet they are no longer made for jukeboxes, and the hits from the late ‘90s to 2000s on 7-inch don’t sell at all in my store [laughs]—but these songs resonate with me.

 

VINYL7
Location: (On Aneyakoji Dori) 492 Shimohon’nojimae-cho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 604-8091, Japan
Phone: 075-221-3337 (International: +81 75-221-3337)
Hours: Open 12pm~9pm daily
Closed on Mondays
Homepage: http://www.vinyl7.net

Interview and article by Hidesumi Yoshimoto
Photographs by Masaya Yoneda
(Photos from buying trip shared by Mr. Matsumoto Hisataakaa himself.)
Translated by Mika Anami

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