New kids on the block: Record store Escalade

Every now and then, a new addition comes on to the scene that gets the office talking. Make that new addition a record store and, well, we’re pretty much sold on the affair. Escalade. The name alone had us dreaming. Nestled in the basement of concept store For, the recently-opened imprint specialises in house, techno, disco, funk and hip hop records. We paid a visit two weekends ago to what is still for the moment a temporary concept and, although the shop could make more of an effort on the quality of its second-hands, managed to bag a few gems (french percussion maestro Guem et Zakka Percussion’s Le Chant du Monde as well as Black Blood’s latin-flavoured LP Chicano) and walked away feeling fresh about the state of (vinyl) things to come in Brussels. Here, we put a few questions to the owners to talk mountain gear, early-morning flea market hunts and doing what you like.

For our selection of quality record store in Belgium, order our book This Is Belgium here.

Can you describe your concept in a few words? What is its core business? What are its driving principles? What, in your eyes, makes it unique?

Escalade Records is a record store specialized in House music, Techno, Disco, Funk and Hip-Hop records. We also have a little bit of jazz and other musical genre. We sell records we love and we try to propose a different selection that you can find in the other stores.
We also organize events and parties to promote artists and musical projects we support.

Can you discuss the concept’s first steps? When did the idea first take? How did it come about?

As record collectors, we all share a musical culture that has influenced our lives and choices. The collective was born from the desire to develop projects based on the world and culture of vinyl.
We buy and sell records for years (vinyl markets / flea markets / discogs) and we were ready to start immediately, so it started like “I want to open a record shop, don’t you?”. We were not thinking a lot, we went for it.

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Can you talk to us about the concept’s name? What is its significance? How does it relate to the concept’s core idea?

One day we joked about the fact that we wear mountain clothes (down jacket, backpack, headlamp, hiking shoes) to dig for records in flea markets in the early morning. This aesthetic will be taken and used both in store and for visual communication.

How and why did you choose the neighbourhood you’re currently located in? What attracted you to it in the first place?

We don’t really choose the location. We knew För had a basement it used as a mini art gallery and we ask to start our activity for two months here. The desire to put the store on another level came later. So Fabio the owner was attracted by our idea and we both think we share the same state of mind.

How do you feel you’re bringing something fresh to the neighbourhood? Do you feel you’re adding value to it in any way? Are you working with the neighbourhood in any way?

There is no record store in the neighboorhood. Record stores are located in the center of Brussels so this is most a store for an informed public. But this is the first step of this project and for practical “digging” reasons we’ll move near the other record stores.

Can you talk to us about the other businesses located in your neighbourhood? Do they have any similarities between each other?

Not really, this is more about local stores in a residential area and few second hand stores.

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What, if anything, do you hope to change with this new opening?

First, we try to bring records you don’t find (or hard to find) in Belgium. Secondly we think Brussels needs more structures that reflect the local music scene and all type of events or initiatives derived from it.

What did you least expect about starting this business?

I thought more people involved in music would be buying records but most of them dont even coming. This is more about audiophile or music enthusiasts.

What would you tell the beginner?

All the tips he needs to know to buy a good record.

What would you tell the potential customer?

All the tips he needs to know to buy a good record.

Can you name one other concept that proved to be an inspiration? A concept whose moves you follow.

Every business that is honest and true to its values is an example to us, whatever it is they sell. In the music industry I think about labels like Stone Throw, record stores like Jazzy Sport or Rush Hour. But there are so many example…

What does success look like to you?

Success is like wake up in the morning, do what you like and nobody can tell you what you have to do. Feel free and choose your own destiny. Build something based on what you are, what you believe in.

För presents Escalade

Rue Africaine, 108

1060 Brussels

escaladerecords.be