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Today we had a chance to sit down with the owner of Forch’s Record Store, Paul “Forch” Fortune. This store specializes in vinyl records and record players, and is based out of Cambridge, Ontario, Canada – a small city of about 120 000 about an hour’s drive west of Toronto. The store motto: “Come in and get your Vinyl on!” Well, ok!
Is Vinyl Making A Comeback? Heck Yes!
The reason we wanted to chat with Paul today is twofold.
First of all, with the resurgence of vinyl at an all time high right now in 2017, we wanted to speak with someone who could shed some light on this somewhat mysterious subject, and perhaps answer the question, “Why is vinyl popular again?” If anyone can give us an answer to that one, its Paul. This guy knows a ton about vinyl, record players, and music in general. A good guy to know if you like music, for sure.
Forch’s Record Store
The second reason we wanted to talk to Paul was because we were curious about why someone would open up a record shop in Cambridge, Ontario, of all places, at this particular point in time. The store suddenly appeared in 2016, and word of its presence spread quickly. For us local music-loving residents, it was a welcome sight indeed, but also a strange one, considering its been a while since the city of Cambridge has been graced with an actual record shop of any sort, much less one that could almost be considered a vinyl record “boutique” of sorts.
Paul’s mission? To bring the full vinyl experience to anyone who walks through the door of Forch’s Record Store. If you’ve been missing the full color sleeves, with all the trimmings – gatefolds, special editions, and so forth, Paul has you covered. As for genres, he does not discriminate – “classic rock, pop, folk, blues, Americana, country, jazz, classical, funk, soul, spoken word, soundtracks and holiday, featuring signed and indie artists” is what is on the menu according to the official Forch’s website. The wall featuring the new vinyl releases can attest to this – there’s classic records, as well as new artists – a nice mix.
Where To Buy Vinyl Record Players & Accessories? Right This Way!
And what about the appropriate gear to play ’em? Well, he’s got that too. Although his selection isn’t as big as you’d find in an international chain store, Paul has only the good stuff and knows exactly what a customer might want, from the look and design of the record players to the specific sizes. If you happen to stop by, Paul can go on at length about the specifics about different aspects of vinyl record playing technology, if you want. Or, he can cut to the chase and hook you up with a sweet system if that’s what you need. Indeed, we learned a thing or two about record player brands and what makes a good purchase from talking to Paul over the course of our interview (hear the full interview below at the bottom of this article and get the lowdown). Here is some of his stock which we took pictures of during our visit.
New Records Are The Best Records
To be completely honest, there hasn’t been a good record shop in Cambridge for a coon’s age, as my grandpa would say (this means a long time). No actual store that focused explicitly on selling new music in any of Cambridge’s three smaller municipalities – yes, I’m referring to Galt, Hespeler, and Preston. And its not like I live in a bubble, either. There aren’t too many stores in the whole region at all that focus on vinyl, much less ones that sell brand new spankin’ vinyl.
The nice thing about Forch’s is you get have the old school charm of an old building, with a slower pace to take your time as you like. If you do stop by, as he told us, he compares the vibe to dropping by your old buddy’s place, who just happens to have an extensive record collection. In other words, somewhere that you can swing by, listen to, and chat about music until the cows come home. Of course, you might want to buy some, too, for later…
Sure, you could get yourself a nice stack of used vinyl in some thrift shop or at Value Village, but its usually the same old same old, and often the quality is extremely compromised (eg. scratches everywhere), as is typical for a record you buy at the thrift shop, which takes just about anything. Could you easily get a scratched up copy of Supertramp’s Breakfast in America at just about any old thrift shop? Sure, and I certainly have done that myself. But can you find a shiny new vinyl record by John Coltrane, wrapped in plastic? Or maybe the new Gorillaz album? What about some Mozart? Never…or at least not in Cambridge for the past 20 or so years… until Forch’s came along.
The Vinyl Resurgence – Really? Like For Real?
You’ve gotta figure that if vinyl is making a comeback in a smaller Canadian city like Cambridge, Ontario, which is essentially a blue collar community with an undercurrent of faithful art and music lovers, then it must be experiencing a full resurgence everywhere. But if vinyl is in demand once again, as it seems to be, why exactly is it happening? Not long ago, vinyl was “dead”, having been replaced with compact discs and of course digital music file formats like MP3. If, like me, you lived through the 1990’s, you saw vinyl die slowly at the hands of compact discs, and then finished off by Napster and torrenting software. The “value” of music itself seemed to be at an all time low.
As Paul has said (and I agree), folks who listen to vinyl generally like it not only for the fact that records are something you can apply your five senses to, but they appreciate that it generally stands out as being superior quality-wise to everything else – if you have the right gear to play it on. There was always that group of diehard fans who never really believed that vinyl was completely extinct, and it seems that time has proven them right.
Vinyl Records – from R.I.P. to In Demand
Now, with places like Forch’s Record Store in full swing, you can not only get any record that is in print either by browsing in store or ordering it through Paul, but you have a wide selection of great record players at your disposal (we talk brands in the interview at the bottom of this article), plus any accessories you’d need to have the total record playing set-up up and running in your home.
So, sit back, and enjoy our relatively short (45 minutes – about the length of your average LP) interview, where we talk about the appeal of vinyl, the technology behind it, and why its great to see vinyl making a comeback once again.
Additional Information about Forch’s Record Store
Forch’s Record Store is located downtown Galt, Ontario, at 67 Main Street (click here for a map). Phone number is (519) 267-3495. For additional information, go visit Forch’s on Facebook and why not give them a like while you’re there.