Since 1995, Beatdisc Records has been serving Sydney’s West with deep punk cuts and local releases, helping to foster and sustain the underground scene. In these parts of Sydney it’s the only true record store still in existence; while riding the waves of the CD boom and the vinyl revival, and hosting some of the city’s most epic in-store shows, it has been fuelled, throughout by a vibrant local music community. As Pete, the store’s owner says, it’s the personal connections developed through Beatdisc that have been central to its rewarding longevity.
“Some of my best mates that I hang out with all the time now have come from owning or working in the shop. And I always just come back to the community that surrounds Beatdisc – it’s just so awesome. Like just last Friday the new Dillinger [Escape Plan] album [came out] and two of my friends… they both messaged me separately like, ‘oh is it going to be on time, is it coming in?’ And I was like, ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’. And they sort of both arrived within half an hour of each other and they were just here for a couple of hours listening to it and loving it….
“And these two guys would have never met if it wasn’t for Beatdisc and now they’re good friends. Not because of last Friday but just because of the events we have and whatever, and we all enjoy it together.”
In November Beatdisc will be celebrating 10 years since they first opened their doors for in-store shows. With a reputation for showcasing blistering local talent and the odd international set, in-store’s continue to be a large part of the store’s music-invested, scene-devoted identity, says Pete.
“It’s very important and I think that’s where we built the community from that. A lot of people have met through the shows that we do and bands have formed from that, you know from meeting at Beatdisc… I think it’s very important to the sort of history of Beatdisc.
“I always think about the first one which was a band called Unpaid Debt, who are a classic Western Sydney punk rock band that are no longer together. But because it was our first one it was just really memorable and we just got so many kids that day and it was just like a really good eye opener to think, ‘Fuck we can actually do this’, which is really cool. So I always think back to that and we got some funny footage and photos so that’s exciting.
“Another one is… one of the US bands that’s played here called Pity Sex… I’m good friends with Andy who runs Poison City and sort of struck up an annual thing now actually, so almost every year we’ve done kind of a secret show with one of the American bands that have played [Poison City Weekender] and that was just choccas. There was I think 90 people here, which was just incredible and just for a band that we sell heaps of records [for], and everyone’s so into them, to have them play here in Western Sydney was just really special.”
Like many record stores Beatdisc experienced an injection of interest with the vinyl resurgence. Yet, as Pete explains, its punk ties put the store in a unique position throughout this transition.
“It’s probably a similar story with most shops as you say, but I guess for starters we’ve always had a good sort of punk rock following in Beatdisc. I’ve always tried to keep that quite well chocked and punk rock has always been vinyl related as well so our new vinyl sort of grew from that. And you always had your second hand stuff coming through, your ‘70s and ‘80s rock. But I think for Beatdisc our prices are really good – sorry to blow my own trumpet – and we get told almost weekly that our prices are really good and we’ve always tried to be very reasonable, so I think that has something to do with [our success].
“With punk it was always cheap records you know, you could get $20 records and that was great sort of 5 or so years ago, but… the dollar [dropping] and the vinyl revival has unfortunately put up manufacturer’s prices, and then obviously the suppliers had to charge more. So just because I think there’s more involved now, it’s old technology, consumables, it’s all expensive, they’ve got to use oil to make the vinyl and all that boring shit (laughs). It comes down to the dollar factor unfortunately, and these days we’re seeing really expensive vinyl. But people are still loving it and consuming it which is really exciting for us. Even though we have to charge 60 bucks for a record people still come in and are really excited about it.”
And with this level of enthusiasm reciprocated by Pete and store manager Tom, it’s no surprise to see Beatdisc is still going strong.
“We’re still excited about the music we stock and the music we put out and the music and the vinyl we clean to put out on the racks. And it’s posted on social media and we’re excited about all of that still and that helps massively.”
Beatdisc is located at 11/181 Church St, Paramatta. For more information about the store head to beatdisc.com.au.