What Record Store Day means to me Jump to main content

What Record Store Day means to me

Photo credit: Jan Trygg

Record Store Day, the annual celebration of independent record shops, will be taking place on Saturday 12 June and Saturday 17 July in 2021. Special vinyl releases are made exclusively for the day and many shops and cities host artist performances and events.

To mark the occasion, DJ and vinyl-lover, Raisa Pänkäläinen, who is also the ISM’s Office & Member Administrator, tells us about getting back behind the decks after lockdown, how she developed her passion for records, and why Record Store Day is such a special event.

DJing after lockdown

From Monday to Friday, I work in the membership team at the ISM, and during the weekends, I am one half of DJ duo MILK x COOKIES.

I’m one of the lucky ones who has already been able to play a few DJ gigs since the end of lockdown. And I have to say it has been great. After so long away from being behind the decks, I have finally been able to go through my records, plan my sets and play for a live audience!

Getting ready for a gig

I usually start preparing for a gig a couple of days beforehand by picking the records, but I always want to leave some room for improvising on the night too, so will add in some extras. As a vinyl DJ, there is a limit to how many records you can carry with you, but I make sure I have a selection of dance floor classics with me in case the night needs that vibe.

I have played a few digital DJ sets, but it lacks the warmth of the vinyl, and I am prepared to carry 30-40 kilos of records with me, without complaining, in order to get the sound I like! For a DJ, the best reward is to see the dance floor full of happy people enjoying the tunes. Even though dancing is not allowed yet because of COVID-19, you can still feel the energy from the crowd, and I don’t think that livestreaming can beat that feeling of togetherness.

Why I became a DJ

My love for vinyl started a long time ago, and I have been slowly growing my collection over the years, but it was only a couple of years ago when my partner and I decided to start DJing together.

As the female half of the duo, I sometimes hear comments like ‘Ah you’re just the DJ’s girlfriend, right?’, and when people come to thank us for the set and only speak to my other half, that can be frustrating, but it has only made me want to be a better DJ. It's the love for the music that keeps me going.

Record store recommendations

My favourite record stores in the world are Love Vinyl in London, Round Sound Records in Turku (Finland) and Phono.cz in Prague. They all are tiny shops that have wide selection of Latin beats, Afro sound and 90’s hip hop, which I love.

Record Store Day is a great way to celebrate independent record stores and I am truly missing the days when Berwick Street in Soho was transformed into a mini music festival for a day. Hopefully it's all back next year! But even without the festival, there is always something special about Record Store Day - it’s the atmosphere and buzz that you don’t want to miss!

Soundtrack recommendations

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