Positively 4th St. Music | Buzz Blog

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Positively 4th St. Music

Posted By on March 4, 2009, 9:48 AM

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With a booming music scene come music stores, and some of the newest additions look to be making just as big an impact as the artists they sell.

--- Case in point, Positively 4th Street Music. Sitting on the east end of 4th South, the small shop has been sitting underneath Stoneground for under a year, and has already solidified itself as a hotspot for local music. Selling old-school vinyl and record players along side current CD and MP3 formats, as well as locally made products and sounds, they've turned themselves into a one-stop music shop. To add onto that, news his early this year of an ownership change, and with it comes a brand new vision and direction for the store. I got a chance to chat with the soon-to-be new owners Chase Loter and Craig Te'o about the store's history, the ownership change and new things on the way, thoughts on the scene and a few other questions. Plus pictures of the place in its current state.

Chase Loter & Craig Te'o


Gavin: Hey guys. First off, tell us who you are and a little bit about yourselves.

Chase: I'm Chase Loter ,27 years experienced. I grew up in Phoenix, moved here in 2000, moved around a bit (New York, New Zealand, California) but have always come back to Salt Lake. I love it here, it's the small big city that I now call home. I've been DJ'ing and collecting records for the past twelve years. Music and old vinyl are my life for the most part.

Craig: My name is Craig Te'o. I was born and raised here in SLC. I'm the youngest of 7 children in a Polynesian family. I'm not sure when it happened, but I've been in love with music my whole life. Maybe it was being raised in a musically gifted family, or being exposed to good music from my family and good friends, at an early age. I love diggin' for old records. It's my favorite thing to do. The shop is my life and with my trusty partner Chaseone2 we're going to change the way Utah buys there music.

Gavin: For those who don't know, what is Positively 4th Street Music?

Chase: 4th St. Music is kind of a mix of all the other record/music stores in the Salt Lake area. Slowtrain is more indie based, and by the way used to be "Stinkweeds"one of my favorite record stores in Tempe, AZ back in the mid-late 90's. Chris & Anna are amazing. Randy's is the mecca for any record you can imagine, just ask Randy and I guarantee he's got it, Randy has and knows everything you could ever want to know about vinyl. I've had the privilege of brushing elbows with DJ Shadow and other legendary producers and DJ's there. But let's not forget about Dave at the Record Collector, if anyone could give Randy a run for his money it would be him. Then you got Chase at Uprok, Salt Lake's only hip-hop shop that caters to the writers, dancers, emcees and DJ's. I look up to all those people you know, everyone's got there own little niche. So what we've done here is kind of thrown all of that in a big mixing bowl and came up with the best of all worlds.

Gavin: How did the place get started, and why the current location of the store?

Craig: The place got started when Robert McCarthy was walking through Sugar House and stopped into Orion's and walked out with a record store, and I was fortunate enough to come along for the ride. This shop has survived from Smokey's, Salt City CD's, Orion's, Positively 4th St. Music, to 4th St. Music and will continue to be a solid part of the community. If it wasn't for Robert, we probably wouldn't be having this interview. Much love and respect to him, he's the whole reason this dream hasn't died over the last few years.

Gavin: The main focus of the store is on vinyl. Was that done more for personal taste, or for the way the market seems to be headed again?

Chase: Vinyl lasts forever. I mean how many CD's do you have that are older than 10-20 years? Probably not too many, or you may but will they actually play? Every format has come and gone except records, they have been around over a hundred years and have no sign of slowing down, unlike other formats. Also most newly pressed vinyl for modern artists come with the free MP3 downloadwith the purchase of the record.

Gavin: You're one of the few music stores that actively sell turn tables. What's been the reaction to that from local DJ's?

Craig: We do sell a fair amount of new and used turntables, mostly listening tables and not too many DJ tables. Most people just need a good player so they can play that Herb Albert record they just picked up at the D.I. Anyone who is truly serious about becoming a DJ or has any questions about DJ'ing, we can definitely style them out with anything they need to get started.

Gavin: One of the big things about the shop is you mostly sell local music and products. Was that a decision from the start, or was it something you grew into? And what local stuff do you sell?

Craig: Being a local store it's only natural we support other local artists. We carry everything from CD's to sunglasses, and they are all local product. We really enjoy working with local artists and companies who are trying to put a stamp on this earth, just the same as we are.

Gavin: I understand the ownership will be changing hands shortly and you'll both be taking over. How did the new changes comes about?

Chase: Basically, we weren't bringing in enough business to get by, and with the owner having three employees to pay, it just wasn't working financially. So we came up with a new business plan that will work and will only have two employees/owners, Myself and Craig. all other employees are all volunteers working for trade with product in the store.

Gavin: When the changeover happens, will there be an event to mark the occasion? And will you start bringing in locals to play show in-store?

Chase: There will definitely be a big bang going on, I'm not gonna drop any names, but it will be BIG! I promise you that. Keep an eye out mid-April sometime.

Gavin: You mentioned to me there will be Download Stations in the shop. Tell us about them and how they'll work for customers.

Craig: Basically everyone downloads music, it's cheap and convenient. I mean, what if you only wanted that one song off a 20 song album? You can do that and not have to pay the price of the full album. Also if we are out of the physical CD, or if something is back ordered, you always have a back up plan.

Gavin: You'll also be switching the place to mostly vinyl. What kind of a catalog will we find when that change hits?

Chase: Yes, as we all know CD's are a dying breed and vinyl is stronger than ever. You'll find the same catalog, but beefed up like a major league baseball player!

Gavin: A little state-wide, what's your take on the local music scene, both good and bad?

Craig: The local music scene is thriving right now, but like all scenes it has it's ups and downs, goods and bads. I've been able to see so many bands/artists at a smaller venue like Kilby  with 10-15 people there, then I'll see them a year later at a sold out show at a much larger venue. Local promoters/venue owners like Will Sartain & Lance Saunders with S&S Presents have and always will be a few steps ahead of the pack.

Gavin: What's your take on local labels, and do you believe they help or hinder artists in the longrun?

Chase: Local labels like Psuedo and Kilby push there product very well and are only helping their artistsin the long run. Any help to get your name out there, I say take all that you can. Any help is good help.

Gavin: Stations like KRCL, U92 and X96 are playing local music, but its only for certain time periods. Do you believe that's helping local musicians or making it feel more exclusive?

Craig: I think any airplay can only help any up and coming local band/artist.

Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it all bigger or better?

Chase: Stations do keep more of an open minded take on local airplay. Playing a little bit of something for everyone and not the same artist over and over like U92. X96 and KRCL do a great job already and I think it can and will only get better. Call up Dave, Brad, eBay or whoever's on the air at KRCL and ask to hear your favorite local band/artist anytime during the day, not just for an hour.

Gavin: Do you believe DJ's are making a comeback in clubs, or is it more of a resurgence in backlash to the “setlist” music that clubs have been using for years?

Craig: Honestly,from a DJ's perspective, DJ's have never left the club. There might be more people DJ'ing nowadays with iPods, CD players, Laptops, but we've always been here.  There are two categories of DJ's, the “Push-Play/One Song” to the next. Then you have the DJ who will mix and blend songs together. Both must be able to read the crowd well and must be a good track selector.

Gavin: Going national, what are your thoughts on the current state the music industry is in?

Chase: The record industry basically makes the majority of their income from downloads not physical CD purchases. The ones that have realized the change have been doing well with more vinyl being pressed with the free download with your purchase. The ones suffering are losing income because they mass produce CD's that they expect to do well and don't. most of the smaller labels caught on to this a bit earlier, therefore are becoming major players in the industry.

Gavin: What are your thoughts on file sharing and how it affects you as both a musician and a music store?

Craig: There are many pros and cons when it comes to file sharing and downloading. Pros, being getting your name out to more people who will purchase product/concert tickets/etc. in the future. Cons, being those people who strictly download and file share and don't invest in future purchases, therefore the bands/artists don't make a cent. All in all I think it can only help bands/artists by creating more exposure for them and broadening their audience.

Gavin: Touching a little business wise, how is it operating in downtown right now, and how are things for you in this current economy?

Chase: Being Downtown is great for all the street traffic/walk-ins that get people who would not normally visit our shop. Also being right on the Trax line helps out quite a bit too. The economy is horrible for everybody right now, but people will always need that old Beatles LP or that Miles Davis CD. So we're confident in our future in the business.

Gavin: What can we expect from both you guys and the shop the rest of the year?

Craig: Ever heard of the big bang theory? Picture that here in Salt Lake, we're going to create a whole new world! In-stores, live shows, record swaps, DJ-producing lessons, art shows, 4th St. Music clothing line... the list goes on and on.

Gavin: Besides the obvious, is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?

C&C: Randy's Records, Slowtrain, Record Collector, Uprok, Orion's Park City, The Urban :Lounge, Kilby Records, Psuedo Records, Riktor Peeps Sunglasses, all our local glass manufacturers, Skull Candy, Wax Poetics Magazine, City Weekly, Mike and Angela at SLUG Magazine, Stoneground Restaurant, Cafe De Bolla, Moochies Cafe, Monk's House of Jazz, Jackalope Lounge, Club Orange, W Lounge, Twilight Lounge, Mury, The Rotten Musicians, Fisch, Finale, Odetta, Linus, DJ Knucklz, Jesse Walker, Roksteady, Flash N' Flare, God's Revolver, Roots Rawka & Che on The Fallout Show, Babylon Down Crew, Mindstate, Julio Child, Alchemy Coffee, Nobrow Coffee, Lazerfang, The Furs, Naked Eyes, Fuck The Informer, Starmy, The Rubes, eBay, Dave, Brad at KRCL, UtahFM.org, Omar Edison, Lost Art Tattoo, Peach Boutique, Old Yellowstone Garage, Jam, DJ Balance, DJ Superb, Brighton Ski Resort, and S&S Presents. Support your community! We all need each other!

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