Have you ever watched one of those movies set in record stores (Pretty In Pink, High Fidelity, etc) and wished your job was listening to tunes all day and folding band t shirts while waxing lyrical with customers about your favourite records? Jason Dax Woodward (AKA Kasino), owner of Butter Beats Record Store has been doing it – and loving it – for more than ten years. The original Butter Beats, located on Ann Street in Brisbane’s live music precinct Fortitude Valley next door to Blonde Venus, is somewhat of an institution to locals and visitors (several high-profile) who prefer their music stores packed with the latest, finest and rarest tunes across a huge diversity of genres, manned by staff who really know and love music. Jason (also known as pioneering Brisbane graffiti artist Kasino) first opened Butter Beats in 1998 and has since expanded with stores in the Brisbane CBD and the Gold Coast. He recently told Pedestrian about the challenges and perks of running this unique business – and why it is one of Ray-Ban’s Rare Prints/Rare Places venues…
What was the inspiration behind your business? – How did you first start up? I have been involved in Street Arts and music for the last 25 years. I saw that Brisbane was desperate for a store like mine so I did it. I started in the backroom of a store called Urban Groove where the Bowery Bar is now and built it up from 3 boxes of records.
Did you have any insecurities opening such a niche business when you first began? Yes – and everyday since. It can be tough but I continue because I love it. People really need to trust you before they invest their money into you.
How do you think your Butter Beats has affected the culture of where your stores are located? A lot of local shops have jumped on the street arts bandwagon over the last 3 years. Where we were the only one selling anything to do with graffiti or stencil art for 10 years and now there is 5 graff-related stores in the three block radius. It’s a pity the Brisbane City Council aren’t on the same wave length.
You have a heap of regular customers. Any favourites or particularly noteworthy people that drop in from time to time? It ranges from Alex Dimitriades, Necro, Grandmaster Flash, Guru from Gangstarr, Dimitri From Paris, Peanut Butter Wolf, Sailor Boy from Turbo Negro… too many.
How does Butter Beats create a different experience in comparison to other record stores around Brisbane? We aren’t your usual record store snobs. All staff have a lot of involvement in the local scene and we nurture like-minded young talent locally and internationally. Our reputation is worldwide because we work on an international level, whether it be releasing a record from NY artist BLADE or a new graffiti book from Norway. My art was just featured in a book coming out of Frankfurt Germany called Jepsy and three weeks ago I was painting on Venice Beach with a famous old school graffiti artist called Duster… we exist on a bigger plane.
How has Australian art and culture influenced your business? We thrive because we have a healthy local scene with young artists hungry to display their work.
How long did it take for your business to grow into its other franchises at the Goldy and in the CBD? City store evolved after 5 years the GC store after 7.
You always see record store owners in movies looking like they’re loving themselves sick. What’s the best part of being a record store owner? I loving coming to work. Listening to classic lost records and talking with such an amazing intelligent range of people. I learn something new every day.
Do your suppliers have a similar brand concept or is your choice of stock eclectic and to individual tastes? We need to source many distributors because our vision is eclectic.
You must follow the local hip hop and street art scenes pretty closely to stay on top of it. Who are the up and coming talents we should keep an eye out for? We have a great show opening this Friday for Keiron McMaster he is Lister’s brother and really talented …there is a name to check!!
How do you and your team come up with new ideas to keep your business plan fresh and in demand? Travel OS twice a year.
What does the future hold for Butter Beats? Stores interstate and I am trying for a green card so maybe Venice Beach. I have the location sorted now the paperwork.
Butter Beats is one of 50 venues handpicked by Ray-Ban to be part of their Rare Prints/Rare Places initiative, a unique concept they developed to help their customer discover their city’s best bars, shops and events to celebrate their new range of Rare Print Ray-Bans:
You could win the Ray-Ban Rare Prints artwork from the venue by just tweeting about Butter Beats to #raybanrare.
Discover more rare venues at www.ray-banrare.com/rare