Music

Where to get vinyl records in Bengaluru

Worldwide, the interest in LP records and players has stayed strong. And it is not just music from a certain era; you can even buy music from artists today such as Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande on vinyl. And if you want to skip the expense of a proper set-up, just take your pick of a portable player.

In Bengaluru too, there is a growing interest in vinyl. The owners of Antique Palace, Ram’s Musique and Seetaphone Company are in perfect agreement on four things: many college students land up in their shops; passion is the key word; they will source the record if it is not available; and profits is not their primary motive.

Hey, mister DJ

Rajesh Kukreja

Rajesh Kukreja   | Photo Credit: Sampath Kumar GP

Ramesh Kukreja (73) has a mischievous glint in his eye as he starts talking. A records collector from a young age, he, somewhat bashfully, confesses, “I used to DJ when I was in studying in RV College of Engineering. We would have a party every Saturday at what was then called Hotel Stay Longer in Shivajinagar and I would play music by Boney M, The Carpenters, and disco numbers.” In 1971, Ramesh set up an electronics appliances store on the ground floor in Unity Building. After retiring from the business in 1992, he converted the tiny room that served as a service centre into Antique Palace as it stands today.

Enter the narrow space and you are greeted by HMT watches, Raja Ravi Varma reprints, cassettes, CDs and of course, LP and EP records. “Collecting all this was my hobby. I know exactly where everything is. If you need something, you just have to ask,” says Ramesh.

Choose from the large collection that ranges from Hindustani classical, and Hindi film music to The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and The Rolling Stones. His personal favourites include Kishore Kumar, Talat Mahmood, Boney M, and ABBA.

As for what he enjoys most about listening to a record, he says, “You get deeply engrossed in the music. If you hear a disco song, it will make you jump up and dance! That’s the feeling with analog. A person who has heard analog sound deeply will never go to digital.”

Record prices start at 500. Antique Palace is at BF 3, B Block, First Floor, Unity Building, JC Road. Call 9900707269.

All in the family

DS Venkatesh Babu of Seetaphone Records

DS Venkatesh Babu of Seetaphone Records   | Photo Credit: Sampath Kumar G P

Seetaphone Company is a familiar name to many Bengalureans. After all, it has been standing amidst the cacophony of Avenue Road for close to 100 years now. It was in 1924 that DN Seetharam Setty set up the store. His son DS Srinivasa Murthy took over in 1963 and his son DS Venkatesh Babu (48) runs it now. Not only does the shop sell LP and EP records, Venkatesh says it may the only place in the city that does gramophone repairs.

Talking about its history, Venkatesh says, “Actually, even my great-grandfather was in the business. My grandfather then set up his own shop. At that time, we were the dealers for Odeon and Columbia gramophones and my grand-uncle was the authorised HMV dealer. So, we used to sell gramophones and all related items.”

Of course, over the years, there have been some changes. In 1991, the building was demolished and a new one was constructed. In 1996, Venkatesh started a handicrafts store on the ground floor, which became the main business. To see the LPs and EP records, one has to step outside and walk up to the second floor, which is where the repairs are also done.

When it comes to the perceived superior quality of LPs, Venkatesh, who is an engineering graduate, says: Though it is not proven scientifically, people believe that there is a depth in record. Once you digitise, that depth is missing.”

As for the records they sell, he says it is mostly Hindi classical, Carnatic, and Hindi film music.

Prices start at 50 for an EP and 250 for an LP. Seetaphone Company is at 519, AVM Chambers, Avenue Road (opposite Balaji Temple). Call 9341308333.

Play that funky music

K. Ramachandran of Ram's Musique

K. Ramachandran of Ram's Musique   | Photo Credit: Sampath Kumar G P

A native of Kannur in Kerala, K Ramachandran, now 60 years old, landed in Bangalore at the age of 20 in 1978, hoping to join the Indian Air Force. But, that dream didn’t work out.

“I worked till 1982 in an electronics shop. At the time, all the music cassette distributors were on SP Road and I came to know about T-Series. I left my job and started my career with about 30 cassettes, selling them in front of a shop in Blue Moon complex. Then the shopkeeper gave me the showcase. After some time, he gave me half the shop and then the entire shop. In 1983, I started my business in Utility Building.”

He had collecting LPs and cassettes. “Now, after so many years, vinyl records have come back.” Remarking that people buy cassettes and CDs even now, he says, “I have entertained three generations. People affectionately call me Music Ram.” Nowadays, Ramachandran sits in the emporium next door but the moment he sees a customer enter Ram’s Musique, he is off. “I had three shops in Bangalore but I closed them. I started running the franchisee of Kerala state handicrafts emporium here three years ago.”

Apart from English rock, you can also find music by KL Saigal and MS Subbulakshmi. Six months ago, Ramachandran started selling the newer make of record players. As for the sound, he says, “Once you listen to vinyls you will not appreciate a CD or tape.”

Prices for the records start at ₹1,600 and go up to ₹ 2,400. Ram’s Musique is at 34, First Floor, Public Utility Building, MG Road. Call 9986000966.

Other places to buy records and players are Blossom Book House, Church Street; amazon.in; and flipkart.com

If you would like to listen to some records or play your own, head to Koramangala Social for Drop the Needle with Etienne Sangita on September 1.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2021 12:57:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/where-to-get-vinyl-records-in-bengaluru/article29260303.ece

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