Wayne Snow & Darius with "Equilibrium" vinyl
Photo: Courtesy of artist
Record Store Recs: Darius & Wayne Snow Take Us To Paris, Berlin, Tokyo & Beyond
With the unprecedented global disruption of 2020, it's important to support the music community however we can. With our series Record Store Recs, GRAMMY.com checks in with vinyl-loving artists to learn more about their favorite record stores and the gems they've found there.
Berlin-based Nigerian future soul artist Wayne Snow and Paris-based French dreamscape producer Darius are quite the musical force, with Snow's rich, inviting vocals being the perfect fit for Darius' floating melodic house beats. They first joined forces in 2015 on "Helios," following with two collab tracks ("Night Birds" and "Lost in the Moment") on the producer's 2017 debut album, Utopia. 2017 was also the year Snow released his debut full-length, Freedom TV.
The powerhouse pair's latest release, "APOLOGY," is an emotive, thumping track where the singer's angelic voice is backed by a gospel-inspired chorus asking for forgiveness in a dark world. The powerful, poignant track is the follow-up and B-side to "EQUILIBRIUM," and was just dropped on Paris' Roche Musique on Oct. 1.
For the latest Record Store Recs, Snow and Darius invite us into their musical world, sharing some of the music that inspires them (including jazz, bossa nova and experimental electronic music artists). They also invite us to crate dig for vinyls with them in their hometowns of Berlin and Paris and while on in Seoul, Tokyo and Los Angeles.
Pick three to five records stores you love.
Bigwax in Paris
Hi-Fi Record Store in Tokyo
Music Library in Seoul
Amoeba Hollywood in Hollywood, Calif.
Oye Records in Berlin
Sound Metaphors in Berlin
Hard Wax in Berlin
Why do you love these shops? what kind of goodies have you found there?
Darius: I have to talk about Bigwax because they are both our partners for years on all our Roche Musique releases and one of my favorite Parisian record stores. The place is super nice, spacious, modern and if you like electronic music, it's the perfect place to find house, techno and experimental nuggets. If you want to dig a little bit more, there is also a very sharp selection in hip hop, jazz, funk, disco, soul, etc. This is my favorite part because I always find at least one or two nuggets on the spot. Moreover, for someone of my generation it's really the ideal place to have a drink with friends because the place also regularly organizes events with DJ sets and live bands.
During my first visits to Tokyo on an Asian tour, I had the chance to discover Hi-Fi Records, this exceptional little record store in Shibuya owned by a couple! A friend of mine had taken me there and I remember listening to a small selection of soul and funk music taken at random and coming across some incredible stuff.
The store also offers a repertoire of a large number of records that can be pre-listened on the site. Unfortunately, if you don't live in Japan no delivery is possible but the advantage is that you can still discover their selection and I admit that I keep looking from time to time to find new nuggets when I want to feed my Spotify playlist.
Music Library is a bit of a must-see in Seoul if you're a music lover. When I'm in Seoul, I usually stay a five-minute walk from the Music Library. The space is bright and the architecture is beautiful. It's really nice to see that there are places like this that highlight the world of vinyl as well as a work of art in a museum.
Amoeba Hollywood is a classic in Los Angeles. I try to go there as soon as possible when I have time when I'm there. I 'm not an expert in the field either but I've never seen any other place with such a concentration of artists/albums of all kinds available. I have the impression that you can always find what you want in this record store, or almost.
Snow: At Oye Records you can find tons of local stuff from Berlin-based producers and record labels. While you're digging, they always play dope music. There are two Oye record stores in Berlin. My favorite is the small one in KreuzKolln as we say it here (between Kreuzberg and Neukolln area).
Sound Metaphors is for the party crew, there's a lot of weird disco and obscure rarities from Africa, Asia, etc.
Hard Wax is the home of techno music in Berlin. [German record producer/engineer] Moritz von Oswald started the record store. What's interesting is that it's full of dub and reggae records from the '90s. It's a very small shop with endless discoveries.
Kenny Burrell The Tender Gender vinyl | Photo: Darius
For at least one of your favorite shops, share a recent record or two (or three or four…) you bought there and what you love about the record/artist.
Darius: I have to mention Arthur Verocai's self-titled album (1972) because it's one that I listened to over and over on Spotify and I absolutely needed the vinyl. Luckily, I stumbled upon it completely by chance at Amoeba. For me, it's a must listen bossa nova/funk/Latin jazz album.
Kenny Burrell's The Tender Gender (1966) is a nugget I found in a garage sale in a small village in Charente-Maritime, France. I didn't know the artist until I bought it and the seller explained to me that this guitarist was one of the leading guitarists in jazz/blues.
I am gradually trying to expand my collection of Marvin Gaye vinyl. He inspires me in so many ways, and his story has touched me a lot. I also stumbled upon his [soundtrack] album Trouble Man (1972) by chance and took it without hesitation. There are a lot of his titles that I love and will never get tired of, like "Please Stay (Once You Go Away)," "Distant Love," "Just To Keep You Satisfied," "I'd Give My Life For You" and others.
Snow: I found a gem from Austrian musician Giuseppe Leonardi at Oye Records. His Mente Mente EP (2020) is Balearic vibe—tropical, chilled ambient music.
What's a record you have your eyes on picking up and why?
Darius: Charlie Rouse's Yeah! (1961). This is jazz the way I love it, this album is a pure delight, I have no words to describe it. It's my last nugget. I feel like I'm there [when I listen to it], the quality of the recording is incredible. You can feel every instrument, the breath of Rouse's saxophone playing, the harmonies on the piano that puts us on a cloud, and the round and all-encompassing double bass that warms the heart.
This album really transcends me every time I listen to it. [The vinyl is] quite rare, I dream to have it in my collection and listen to it in an optimal way. I especially love the track "When Sunny Gets Blue."
Snow: Allysha Joy's Light it Again EP, being released on First World Records in November. She is an amazing artist from Melbourne.
When crate-digging, how do you pick out records?
Darius: I still have a lot to discover, so there is a first big phase where I make a selection only related to the cover, for sure. Sometimes I come across artists/labels I know and add them to the pile. For me, that's what the record store is all about, it's the opportunity to try out records that fall into my hands that I'll never have the chance to find by chance on the internet.
Wayne Snow: Sometimes it's just a feeling, or simply based on a recommendation. Generally, when you are in a great shop you just have to listen to the music blasting around you.