Get To Know Your Local Independent Retailer Vol. 26 – 1-2-3-4 Go! Records

Forget the prelude. 1-2-3-4 Go! fucking rules. Read what owner Steve-O has to say about it.

1. Tell us briefly about your store.
1-2-3-4 Go! Records started as a label in 2001 and opened our real world store in Oakland, CA in March 0f 2008. Pretty much the worst time to start any business, especially one in an industry most people thought was on it’s last legs. We’re very proud to say we’re having our 5th anniversary in March 2013! We moved in to our latest location last year and now host shows in a separate room. We have 4 to 8 a month as well as a rotating monthly art installation.

2. What got you into the independent record store business?
For most of my adult life I had worked in record stores or music related businesses so I had the history and I saw that there were some great really big stores in the bay area but nothing like the smaller shops I was used to working in. Well curated and focused on punk/indie/etc records. Since those early days we’ve expanded to have a small but pretty killer selection of jazz, blues, classic rock, funk, reggae etc as well but keep still keep our main focus. We pride ourselves on the fact that you can come in here, spend half an hour or so and walk out with an armload of great finds that would have taken you a few hours to dig out in larger stores.

3. Who are some of your favorite contemporary stores?
Green Noise in Portland, Singles Going Steady and Jive Time in Seattle and you still can’t beat Amoeba for size and pure volume.

4. How have things been going from a business perspective?
Every year business is consistently up. We’re currently doing five times the business we did the first year we were open so things are definitely moving forward. Always a bit tight but always getting better.

5. What do you think spells the survival for an independent record store today?
Focus. Not trying to be the everything to everyone sort of store. That’s a brutal game to try and compete in and for one stop shopping people hit the internet these days I think. But if you offer something special you’ll drag people out of their homes and offices to come have a look.

6. What are some of the coolest thing labels have done with you? Instores? Promotions? Sales?
Sales and giveaway stuff are always great. When a label works with you to sell a record you believe in it’s the best for everyone. What’s better than loving a new record and being able to get in someones hand at a discount and/or give them something cool to go with it? Nothin!

7. Why do we need record stores?
It provides an experience that you don’t get online. The thrill of the hunt and subsequent score in a store can’t be beat in my opinion. Every store is different and you never know what you’ll find or who you’ll meet inside it. Some of my longest band/genre tangents have been inspired by talking to folks at stores and about new things or getting hyped on them from customers or the guy behind the counter. I prefer it to blogs myself.

8. What kind of taco is your favorite?
Flour tortilla for sure. Heresy I know. I’m vegetarian so it can be difficult to get a good one but La Pinata in Alameda makes a damn fine one.

9. Who are your top 3 favorite bands right now?
Been on a huge Smog kick lately, got really in to Jobriath and I’m biased because their LP is coming out on my label but Synthetic ID is really killing it for me out here. Really great tense bay area post punk.

10. What is your favorite thing about your store?
The amount of support it continues to have from our customers. I’ll be out and see our stickers on cars of people I don’t know and if I ever overhear something about the shop it’s how much people like it. I wanted to establish a place that was fairly priced and consistently had great new and used stuff in it, staffed by friendly people you can actually talk to about music and I think I did a pretty good job.

11. What are your goals for the future of your store? Long term and short.
Continuing to grow at the pace we have been short term. Long term (also possibly short) a second location. Possibly in San Francisco or Portland.