Record Stop Sessions: An Interview with Jay Van Raalte

by - April 28, 2022

Family-owned and operated since 1974, Record Stop began as a small chain of record stores on Long Island in New York. With over four decades of introducing Long Islanders to rarefied music, Record Stop opened a new vinyl haven in downtown Charleston, S.C., just steps from the Charleston Music Hall.

Owner Bruce Berg met Charleston native and musician Jay Van Raalte when they were working at the local guitar shop that once let Berg sell records out of. He had been trying to convince them for years to play an acoustic show in the store, but Van Raalte didn’t want to be a rock band with little to no experience in acoustic performances.

They didn’t want to go for the obvious song choices, such as “Origami Stars”, which already has a mostly acoustic feel. Instead, they took the time to map out how they wanted the arrangements to sound and which songs they wanted to perform.

“It was really thinking about how we can build something together and trade off and be playful about it, and I'm really stoked with how that turned out,” they said. “When you listen to the songs, and especially when you watch the video, you can tell how much of a band we are; that we know each other, that we're playing off of each other, that there's this playfulness and comradery.”

Record Stop Sessions is comprised of four songs: three from Van Raalte’s debut EP, Linearity, and one song from their upcoming full-length. The day of recording, they set up amongst the shelves of Record Stop and brought along pieces of themselves to place as hidden nods to their favorite things. In between boxes of 45s and LED string lights are some of their favorite records and one very important purple stuffed dinosaur.

They played to a crowd mostly made up of Record Stop shoppers, opting for a casual opportunity for record lovers to hear some live music. They filmed the session from two angles as well as audio recorded the entire production to be used for the album. They also did everything entirely in-house, from setup and production to mixing, mastering and film editing.

“This is a really exposed, vulnerable format that doesn't work very well if not everybody's on the same page,” they said. “Getting to do this and then coming home and listening to the tape and watching the videos and seeing the results of how we actually pulled it off… everybody was a team player and we did it together. It was just really exciting and special to capture that moment.”

Watch Record Stop Sessions below or listen to the album on Spotify.

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