With only a few days to go until Crate Diggers New York, we shine the spotlight on BreweryTown Beats – located in the heart of Philadelphia and specializing in funk, soul, and hip-hop. We spoke with owner Max Ochester about running a brick and mortar record store, Philly jazz and what we can expect to find in his crates during Crate Diggers NYC on Saturday, July 27.
Tell us about BreweryTown Beats, its background and those involved.
Beats opened in late 2014 in the Brewerytown section of Philadelphia and over the past 5 years and one change of location, we have grown from a single employee to three full/part-time employees. We have a beautiful storefront with a healthy number of items on Discogs and more recently we have been venturing into reissuing rare and unreleased Philadelphia records.
What do you specialize in?
Nothing other than GOOD music. All the employees have a deep knowledge of one or many aspects of Philadelphia music but also all music in general. We are known as a “funk, soul, hip-hop & jazz” store but we strive to include all genres of music. Just quality tunes at cheap prices.
What are some of your favorite records on your shelves right now and why these?
This is a good day to ask this question. We just bought a modest in number but big in quality record collection off of the daughter of Philly jazz pianist James “Sid” Simmons. Sid played with Grover Washington Jr for several years as a touring pianist but before that he played on some of my favorite Philly records including but not limited to Byard Lanacaster / J.R. Mitchell’s – Live At Macalester College 72.
What memories stand out from the past 5 years of Beats?
There are so many but over and over again memories are being made at the several live events we host in the shop. Things like the monthly Vinyl Tap 215 – a group of like-minded vinyl obsessed friends who get together every first Saturday for an all-vinyl DJ session, sharing music, food, stories, and love.
When did you first start selling on Discogs?
In 2014, right about when the store opened. At first, it was just to move some of the pricier items to keep the doors open but now it is a full-on operation and we are looking to keep pushing the numbers in the coming months.
What would be your number one tip for buyers on Discogs?
There’s a few. Firstly, support your local record shop – if we can’t keep our doors open then we can’t get the collections that come through and in turn provide a consistent quality product. Secondly, deal direct with your seller – don’t use Paypal Claims or negative feedback as the go-to. Most sellers will be glad to work directly with the buyer to resolve any issues. Lastly, some things are sold in the store, it just happens – it’s part of the game these days.
And for Discogs record sellers?
Grade fairly, communicate often, and provide a good product. It’s that simple.
What does your own record collection looks like?
For the past two years, I have been collecting strictly Philadelphia music, all genres and conditions. I have hundreds if not thousands of Philly 12”s, Gospel records, lounge records, outsider folk-rock LP’s – anything that has a Philly address, phone number or studio I am all over it.
Anything unexpected turn up?
At this point nothing is unexpected, I’ve had too many instances where the average collection turns up something dope. Most notably the Ron Everette LP that was sleeveless in a pile of 30 records brought to us in a moldy, dirty suitcase. After all that the record was still in VG condition. I recently upgraded to another VG copy, this time however it had a cover!
What can we expect to find at your table during the fair?
Lots of funk, soul, jazz and hard-to-find LP’s. Rare Philly stuff on both LP & 45. Just solid tunes for the people to enjoy.
Will you be digging at Crate Diggers yourself? Anything in particular that you’re hoping to find?
I ALWAYS dig, it doesn’t matter where I go and this will be no exception. I have several labels / artists I am looking for and would pick up if I saw them. For example, I need three more Black Jazz records to complete the label. Anyone got any of those?
Anything else you’d like us to know?
Besides releasing the previously Unreleased 1973 Sounds Of Liberation LP we have their first “Self-Titled” record remastered and submitted for an October release, we are also working on a Philly soul LP that is extremely rare and one of the best soul records I have heard to date. Hopefully getting that back just before Christmas. Check us on IG for the latest info too @BrewerytownBeats.
Don’t sleep on the free record fair, Crate Diggers NYC, happening this weekend at Playstation Theater. More information about the fair and the after-party can be found here.