A Passion-Driven Record Store: SORC’s Journey from Novice Beginnings

Today, we dive into the captivating world of SORC (Space of Rock Classic), a beloved record haven in Nagoya, known for its unique approach to Share Records at Feel Records Kyoto Hanareshop. This innovative concept mirrors a marketplace vibe where each shelf represents a different curator’s collection.

Specializing primarily in rock, particularly 1960s-1970s British and American classics, SORC’s shelves also boast psychedelic, folk, progressive, and singer-songwriter gems. Owner Kumiko Kobatake, who started the store from the ground up, shares insights into their meticulous selection and the enduring allure of vinyl.

Q: Could you describe the genres of records available at SORC?

A: Our focus spans the spectrum from 1960s-1970s British and American rock to niche genres like psychedelic, folk, progressive, and singer-songwriter. We take pride in offering originals, near originals, and sought-after rarities.

Q: Does SORC offer both new and used records?

A: While we do carry some new items, our bread and butter is the used market. These “new old stock” items have typically made the rounds before landing on our shelves. We also showcase indie releases directly from musicians, reflecting our commitment to curating what we love without being swayed by market trends.

Q: When did SORC first open its doors?

A: Our physical store in Nagoya welcomed its first customers in July 2009. This summer marks our 15th anniversary! Prior to this, we operated as a specialized mail-order shop in Tokyo for about a decade.

Q: Congratulations on your milestone! What inspired the founding of SORC?

A: The seeds were planted when my husband, a passionate collector, began selling and consigning his records. Witnessing this sparked my curiosity, and the rest is history. Initially focusing on mail-order sales, circumstances led us to Nagoya, where we seized the opportunity to launch a physical storefront—an idea I had long wanted to explore.

Q: Starting a record store from scratch must have been quite the journey. How did you acquire your extensive music knowledge?

A: My journey into the world of records was greatly influenced by encounters like meeting Hans Pokora, author of “Record Collector Dreams,” during a visit to his home in Vienna. Until then, my musical palate was limited to mainstream sounds, but meeting Pokora opened my eyes to the richness beyond. His mentorship, along with many others I’ve been fortunate to learn from, has been invaluable.

Q: With numerous record stores in Japan, what sets SORC apart from the rest?

A: Inspired by the vibrant community feel of overseas record shops, we strive to offer a welcoming, casually sophisticated environment where music lovers of all kinds feel at home.

Q: You also offer vintage clothing. How did that come about?

A: Just as our venture into records was somewhat spontaneous, so too was our foray into vintage clothing. Guided by staff with a passion for fashion, we’ve curated a collection focused on unique, personality-driven pieces, particularly vintage finds from the UK.

Q: Who frequents SORC?

A: Initially, our customer base was predominantly male enthusiasts aged 40-60, largely through our mail-order service. However, we’ve seen a growing interest in analog among younger generations, influenced by artists releasing music on vinyl. This shift has made analog more accessible to a broader audience.

Q: As a vendor in the Share Records setup, how has that experience been for you?

A: It’s a familiar yet refreshing sales model that provides exposure beyond our Nagoya base, particularly appealing to visitors from Kansai and tourists exploring Kyoto.

Q: What can visitors expect to find on SORC’s shelves?

A: Our shelves are a curated blend, featuring a narrower yet meticulously selected range of genres such as 1970s folk and progressive rock. We strive to offer items that stand out and may not be found elsewhere, all at accessible prices.

Q: Finally, what is it about records that captivates you personally?

A: While trends often favor newer releases, I find older records possess an undeniable charm. There’s something magical about original pressings—they often sound richer and more authentic than their remastered counterparts. It’s a sentiment that once experienced, tends to deepen one’s appreciation for quality sound.

In essence, whether you’re diving deep into the “record swamp” or simply appreciating the artistry, I hope many more people come to discover the enduring charm of vinyl records. Visit us at SORC or Feel Records Kyoto and immerse yourself in the world of music!

Learn more about us at SORC Website: https://www.sorc.co.jp/cwr.html