In April of 2009, Echo Park encountered an incredible addition to the area: a vinyl record store that would feed the neighborhood with music knowledge and keep it hip. Origami Vinyl, founded by Neil Schield, is where you will find the best and latest local finds plus weekly live in-store shows and record release parties. If I lived close by, which might happen soon, I would probably camp out there every day, going back and forth between there and Two Boots, and then over to The Echo once the shop closes. That sounds beautiful. Anyway, the store just launched OnTheRecord.TV, which has videos of the in-store shows, and will present the Monday night residencies at The Echo starting in February.
I caught up with Schield and the store’s manager Sean Stentz. Here’s what they had to say…
Ash: You guys DJ pretty often at venues and bars around LA. Where can we catch you both spinning and what can we expect in the playlist?
Neil: You can catch us every Tuesday at El Prado in Echo Park for our weekly get together called Record Club. Record Club is an affair where people sign up to have us play a side of their favorite LP.
Sean: Starting in February we will also be DJing every Monday night in the back patio of The Echo.
Neil: Yeah! We are really stoked to be getting involved with The Echo’s Monday night residencies and helping out all the great local bands that play there. We will also be celebrating the release of a new album each week and play it in its entirety.
Sean: As far as what we play we go our own little musical fascinations. Lately, we’ve been spinning a lot of post-punk and hardcore. The cool thing about The Echo patio is that we can play more on a whim then play a specific set. So we might be able to mix all the soul records we love on a particular night and then the next week do something completely different.
Ash: Can you actually do origami? If so, you’re going to have to elaborate.
Sean: I can! When we opened I found a book of origami in a shop and on slow days would just sit and practice. I can’t make anything off the top of my head but if I have directions I can make mostly simple origami. I’m really proud of my origami x-wing.
Neil: Ha. I can’t at all.
Ash: In February, Origami Vinyl starts presenting Monday night residencies at The Echo, which is awesome. With the residency and in-store shows, it seems like a lot to handle. Do you plan to keep the calendar filled with shows or is this it for now?
Sean: We kinda take it as it comes. There are definitely months where a lot of bands are coming through and we want to try and fit them all in. Then there are other months where things are lighter and our calendar won’t be as filled.
Neil: We are always open to hosting bands or shows at different venues. If people like what we spin, we are also down to DJ too. Our lives are music and we love to be constantly engulfed by it.
Sean: Yeah, basically nothing is going to change in the shop. We’ll continue to do the same things as always but we are always looking for the next thing to be involved in.
Ash: Also in February, the store will be hosting a record release show every week. So the artists know what you guys are looking for, how do you select the bands?
Neil: We have great relationships with a good majority of the independent labels out there. When we announced this partnership with The Echo, we reached out to these labels to offer them the opportunity. So far we haven’t had to choose between bands, but when that time comes, Sean and I will try to determine which makes more sense for the audience.
Ash: How many shows has the store hosted as of today?
Sean: We stopped counting a while ago. A good guess would be somewhere around 100.
Ash: What’s the latest with Origami Record Label? Are you still working on some releases or is your focus mainly on the store for now?
Neil: The label is focused primarily on LA-based bands. Our aim is to release one LP a year by a different band. Last year we released Summer Darling’s S/T album and this year we plan on releasing an album by Future Ghost.
Ash: You’ve had Pete Townshend and Ben Harper unexpectedly show up at the shop. Any other big name artists or celebs surprise you recently?
Sean: Ian Astbury [of The Cult]!!! Ian Svenonious [Nation of Ulysses and The Make-Up!!! All the Ians you can handle.
Neil: Steven Soderbergh [directed films Erin Brockovich, Traffic and Ocean’s Eleven] too! Plus so many of our favorite bands come in here while on tour. It was awesome to hang out with The Dirty Projectors and Built to Spill the last time they were in town.
Ash: How often do you hit up Two Boots pizza? I wish I worked next door to them.
Sean: I think we’ve become immune to it!
Neil: Man, we used to eat there like every day. I’m a little burnt out on the pizza but their chicken parm sandwich is awesome if you ever wanna switch it up.
Ash: What was the first record you every listened to on vinyl? And what was your reaction?
Neil: My parents listened to albums all the time throughout my childhood. My first distinct memory was my mom playing The Beatles White Album. She had me come over to the record player and put “Revolution 9” on backwards and it creeped me the fuck out. I had nightmares for days.
Sean: Mine was either Blue Oyster Cult or The Police…I think it was “De Do Do Do De Da Da Da”…my dad listened to mostly jazz when I was young so that really stuck out for me as it was the first pop music I heard.
Neil: Apparently as an infant I would get my dance on to Tom Petty’s “Breakdown” in front of the speakers but I have no memory of it.
Ash: Right now, what would you say is the best selling record in the store?
Neil: Beach House, Teen Dream
Ash: What are the most recent additions to the store?
Sean: Matt Eagleson!!! Our new part-time employee.
Ash: What records are soon-to-be added?
Neil: Esben and The Witch, Destroyer, Wanda Jackson, Iron & Wine, John Vanderslice, Mogwai, Wye Oak, Computer Love, Michael Chapman and Dirty Beaches.
Ash: Name three of your favorite albums of 2010 by local artists:
Neil: Cerulean – Baths , Sleep Forever – Crocodiles, and Urgency – Superhumanoids.
Sean: Dead Head – Residual Echoes, The American Leagues – LA Font, and White Fence – White Fence.
Ash: What record do you personally own that we would probably never expect you to listen to?
Sean: Bee Gees, Horizontal
Neil: Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms
Ash: Anything else we should be keeping an eye out for in regards to Origami Vinyl?
Neil: Record Store Day on April 16th! Fuck Coachella! This is gonna be the place to be. We are already in talks with some bands about having them play. Last year we had Lou Barlow, Dum Dum Girls (who had do sadly cancel day of), and Male Bonding!!! I’m sure we will have some rad giveaways again and we’ll have some yummy food truck outside or something.
Sean: Plus we just launched our video blog: www.ontherecord.tv. We’ve been filming various in-stores throughout the last year and this is the place to put up some of our favorite footage for all to enjoy.
Neil: So far we have videos up from Jonsi (Sigur Ros), Superchunk, Lower Dens, Sun Airway and Cowabunga Babes.
Ash: Are you guys working on any other projects we should be aware of?
Sean: I’ve been spending my time outside the shop working with Nico Stai on his next record.
Neil: I’ve got a pretty big secret project I’m working on for the shop, but I won’t let that cat outta the bag just yet.
Origami Vinyl is located at 1816 West Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park. Find out more at origamiorigami.com.