Digging in Reykjavik: Lucky Records
Lucky Records is a haven for music lovers and record aficionados in Iceland’s capital.
The store has come a long way in the last 13 years. From humble beginnings as a flea market stall to its large but cozy home in downtown Reykjavik, with a stage for live music performances and a couch to enjoy a cup of coffee between crate digging sessions.
Specializing in Icelandic music and second-hand records, the shop has a wide range of music and a number of specialist staff members. Their clientele is a broad cut of Icelandic society mixed with musically-thinking tourists, their broad offerings should have something for almost everyone.
We spoke to owner Ingvar on the history and the role of Lucky Records in the Reykjavik music scene.
What’s your name & role:
Ingvar Geirsson, I’m the owner of Lucky Records
How long have you worked at Lucky Records? How long has your record store been open?
13 years since we started at the flea market and 8 and a half as a store.
What is your/the store’s specialty? How would you describe your customers?
Our strength is diversity. We carry everything from 78s to new releases, a lot of 12 inches in all styles, hip hop, disco, pop and electronica. Our customer base is all kinds because of our diversity.
How did you get into selling records?
I kinda grew up around record stores in Gothenburg, Sweden and when I moved back to Iceland there was not much for me around, so I decided to open up and broaden the selection.
What is your favourite record in the store right now and why?
Favourite record at the moment would be any of the Heliocentrics records. We try and stock them all. I’ve been a big fan since they released their debut in 2007. I just saw them in Berlin this summer and had a chat with Malcom Catto, their drummer and driving force.
Do you have any fun stories about selling records?
I’ve made a lot of friends all over through music. I just came back from a trip to the US. I went to Seattle where I stayed with one of my customers who has come to the Iceland Airwaves music festival since 2009, and has since become a good friend. I also visited New York where I stayed at a friend’s place who I met on the streets of NY 7 years ago. I was DJing that night and he showed up and we have been friends ever since.
What does your personal record collection look like?
My personal collection was around 20,000 items. But for the past 5 years I’ve been listening to everything and weeding it out. It stands at around 6,000 now, maybe 7 when I’m finished.
What is your personal holy grail record?
No holy grail record but a whole collection of grails.
Do you do any in-store events?
Yes, we have in-stores right now while Iceland Airwaves is on. We have around 40 shows in a week.
What does the future of music sales look like?
The future will be more physical. I don’t see how musicians will continue to cope with Spotify, etc. Music is being devalued to nothing, I don’t see that continuing.
What was your best record find ever?
The best finds are probably some of the collections I have bought where I discovered a couple of wants for me and good stuff for the store.
What is your number one tip for diggers out there?
My number one tip is to listen and learn, read and study from those who have done the work already. There’s a lot of good radio shows, podcasts, and websites, but first and foremost, it takes time to find stuff so stack up at the stores and listen before you buy.
What do you think of the local music and record scene? Any recent albums or acts you would recommend?
The local music scene is blooming with a growing number of physical releases, mainly vinyl. We at Lucky just released our second release with Epic Rain, called Dream Sequences. I also really like Amiina’s Fantômas album, but there’s a lot of good stuff coming out.