I am finding it difficult to write this introduction to Satellite Records. How am I supposed to put in a few words what this interview was about? We were lucky to get a chance to sit down with Sean Hartman, the store manager of this delightful record shop in Kalamazoo, Michigan. His endless wisdom about music is blinding. Normally I don’t disclose how I feel about the interviewee, but I want to let our audience know before you scroll down that you should get out a piece of paper and a pen; there is a lot to learn from Sean.
Satellite Records is based in Michigan and they have become one of the most important players both locally and on Discogs. After talking to Sean, the secret to their success is crystal clear for us. But we are going to let him do the talking. Discogs community, we introduce you to Satellite Records, a record shop that we guarantee you will need to include in your “Want To Visit” list on Vinylhub.
What’s the name of your shop?
Satellite Records, we are based in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
How long have you been selling on Discogs?
It’s been 3 years now.
How did you get into selling records?
Bought my first record at FBC (Flat, Black & Circular) in East Lansing, MI around 2002 and have been hooked ever since. Always loved the atmosphere of record stores and their importance to local culture. Started working at Satellite in 2009 and can’t imagine myself anywhere else now.
What is your favorite record store right now? Why?
Would have to be People’s Records in Detroit. Legendary spot for Soul 45s plus great selections of Jazz LPs, 12″ singles and more. Seems like it’s getting harder all the time to find stores with good prices and good selection but People’s has got it under lock. Detroit has such an amazing musical history and People’s is the perfect place to explore it. Got to give shout-outs to some other favorites: Corner Record Shop (Grandville, MI), Vertigo Music (Grand Rapids, MI), Brewerytown Beats (Philadelphia, PA), Academy Records (Brooklyn, NY), Logan Hardware (Chicago, IL), Beautiful World Syndicate/Philadelphia Music (Philadelphia, PA), Attic Records (Pittsburgh, PA), and Jerry’s Records (Pittsburgh, PA).
Do you have a story that you’d like to share about record selling? Please tell us!
In 2014 we bought an 8,000 piece Jazz LP collection, the largest we’d ever done at one time. It was from a local collector that had passed and we worked with his family to acquire it. Looking back it was a major turning point for the store and almost instantly helped us establish a reputation as a Jazz and Soul dealer. Something we’re very passionate about here at Satellite. We noticed that people started traveling from further away to visit us and we were getting a lot more people telling us we are must stop destination.
What is your favorite record of all-time?
So hard to pick. The most common ground between all the employees is Jazz and Hip Hop. Especially Free Jazz and Instrumental Hip Hop. Some of the most played albums here would be Madlib “Shades Of Blue” and Anderson .Paak “Malibu” and J Dilla “Donuts“. We tend to spin a lot of John Coltrane, Sun Ra, Eric Dolphy, Pete Rock, Chance The Rapper, Kendrick Lamar…
What does your own record collection look like?
A lot of Jazz LPs, Soul 45s, Hip Hop and noisy Rock stuff. John Coltrane, Archie Shepp, Sun Ra, Les Rallizes Denudes, The Dead C, Sonic Youth, John Fahey, The Temptations, James Brown. I do a lot of DJing and especially love playing uptempo 60s Soul dancers. Usually, start off these sets with Dinah Washington‘s “Soulville“.
What has been your best record find?
Got a crazy good deal on a Mono first pressing of Wayne Shorter‘s “Speak No Evil” a few years back. Probably the most valuable record in my collection currently. For the store, we love finding local, private press and oddball records. Always cool to get Uncle Dirty’s Sound Machine stuff like Sweet Maya and Poor Richard. Bought a ton of 45s from Don Jobe of local band The Ghosters that had a bunch of cool finds. Got a box full of “Shout” by local band The Soundsations one time.
What is your number one tip for buyers and/or sellers on Discogs?
List everything as accurately and cheaply as possible. A lot of sellers try to only put up their high dollar/rare/cool stuff but we make just as much money on common and “uncool” records. Everyone has different taste and we get excited about them finding exactly what they want no matter what it is.