On a foggy morning in Reykjavík we visited Lucky Records, the great vinyl shop at Hverfisgata and met with the owner Ingvar Geirsson and his right hand Gestur Baldursson. They offered us coffee, sat down behind the counter and asked us what we wanted to know. We told them that we wanted to know everything about this little shop, its treasures, and of course stories about their experience owning it.
Firstly, when did you open the store and why did you name it Lucky?
Ingvar: I once worked as a DJ and there you have it. I was DJ Lucky and I mainly played on venues like Borgin, playing funk, soul, and jazz music. As for this store, I opened it in the beginning of 2009, prior to that I had a booth in Kolaportið, the Fleamarket in Reykjavík. At the time I had been collecting vinyls for a while and buying music both here in Iceland and abroad.
So, you are both musicians?
Ingvar: No, Im just a DJ (or was).
Gestur: Well, as a teenager I played for some time in my home town, Kópavogur. I was in the garage business – playing the drums here and there. There was a scene back in those days, guys playing metal who even won Músiktilraunir, a music competition held in Reykjavík, two years in a row. This influenced me a lot in my profession as a collector.
What can you guys tell me about the store, and its content?
Ingvar: The store has pretty much everything, you could say we offer a world class vinyl collection.
Gestur: There are so many vinyl shops in the world that operate within specific music genres, there are hip-hop vinyl stores, jazz vinyl stores and so on. Our collection contains a various range of music styles, and of course also Icelandic vinyl. We´ve had rarities in the store, exclusive records that are signed or singles that are prints from sessions, concerts or recordings that are pure gold for the music lover.
So, do you remember anything extra special in this context?
Ingvar: Hmm, it’s hard really to remember actually. But I can tell you that once we had a Hljómar vinyl, that was signed by all the band members. That’s a good example of a record that you can’t put a prize tag on, really.
Gestur: Exactly, some things are so valuable and historic, that you can’t exactly prize them. Especially when it’s a collectors item. Some records are one of a kind, literally. That is, sometimes vinyl have only been printed once, or there was just one copy made for example from a session and so forth. There are so many rarities in this business, really.
Ingvar: And don’t forget the Icelandic rarities. We’ve had vinyl that you can´t find anywhere else, with Icelandic artists, like Megas for example. There are so many vinyl that are rare and if you think about it, greatness on a vinyl.
What about the customers, who are they and what are they looking for?
Gestur: We have had all sorts of customers in the store, musicians, artists, music lovers and people of all ages. Well, musicians drop by a lot, we had one customer here the other day, the Icelandic pop icon Herbert Guðmundsson, buying his own CD’s. That is something that can´t be topped!
Ingvar: Back in the day, people would wait for the release of new vinyl by lining up in front of the store on the day of the release. It was the place for people to meet and talk about music, get tips about things and so on. This part of the music culture is disappearing because the record store has moved somewhat online and people download, every day, music on a digital format. But we still have this culture in our store, that is, musicians, and people that take great interest in music do come here to chat.
“Collecting records is my passion, that’s why I´m the Store’s best employee!”
Do you service the customer when they drop in, give them advice etc?
Gestur: Yes, of course. Firstly we have good turntables here, for the customer to listen to the vinyl before they decide on buying them. That is a basic demand for the customer, to get to listen to the records, in the shop. We service our customers here in the store and online, as well as buy and sell vinyls.
We take so much interest in this ourselves, so we like to help people to find specific records. We are always on a look- out for good things though.
When did you start to collect vinyl?
Ingvar: I was young, maybe 9-10 years old when I moved to Sweden. Since then, I have been collecting vinyl, playing them, dj-ing, and now I own this great record store. I can’t complain.
Gestur: I still have all my records from my childhood. Collecting records is my passion, that is why I´m the Store’s best employee! We are both specialists, we have been around this business for so long. That is why people enjoy coming here, just to talk about vinyl and other music related stuff.
What is your favourite album?
Ingvar: James Brown, without a doubt. I have all his records, I must admit, all 100 of them or so. They are all equally solid in my mind, James is such a powerful musician and an artist. It is hard to name one favourite album though.
Gestur: I agree it’s hard. I can’t name just one. Or wait a minute, I can name one band, Suicidal Tendencies, they have been around for a long time. I guess you could say that they are my all-time favourite band. Well, I think the point is, we are both music lovers and that is why we can’t list up one or two favourite artists and vinyls, that’s just ridiculous.
“Our lights are all made of vinyl, my wife made them and we only sell them to the right people!”
What else do you have in stock in your shop?
Gestur: We are not selling vinyl exclusively, we have CD’s of course, PlayStation games, VHS, posters, and what can I tell you more….
Ingvar: We are selling Lucky Records t-shirts, and hats and ohh, we are of probably selling the most unique lights that exist, look at the ceiling! Our lights are all made of vinyl, my wife made them and we only sell them to the right people!
What is ahead for you guys, anything special happening this summer?
Ingvar: Well, it’s the International Record Store day now in April that we are really looking forward to. On this day, independently owned record stores celebrate the art of music and the concept of the record store in general.
Last summer we participated in a world event with friends, here in the Heartgarden, which is located just outside our store and we will probably do so again this summer. We have also provided a DJ set or music for African days and other events, by lending them world music. I think its great, and we like the garden, it’s a great venue in the summer time.
There are so many other things, like the artwork on the covers? What can you tell me about that?
Gestur: The covers can be a freestanding art pieces if you think about it. There are many collectors that only collect the art work and don’t even listen to the music at all. Who doesn’t remember The Beatles crossing the street, Andy Warhol’s Banana, Pink Floyd´s triangle and so forth. These are images that you remember for life, even if you have never heard the music they represent it and that is pretty darn powerful.
Ingvar: I agree, there are so many things that you can’t get online, that is true. You have to have the physical cover, the physical vinyl. That’s just the way it is. Also sometimes you have memories connected to the albums that money cannot buy.
“We discovered there was another Lucky Record store, but it’s a store that has a focus on the gay genre”
Lastly, what can you tell me about the store, is it one of a kind?
Gestur: Well I have to tell you, we discovered there was another Lucky Record store, when we were googling the name. That store is located in Paris, France but it’s a store that has a focus on the gay genre and mostly sells records from artists like George Michael, Madonna, Village People… if you get my meaning. We just found it hilarious that there exist another Lucky Record store and we wish them the best of LUCK of course.
Ingvar: Well, our store is one of a kind it’s the best Record Store in Europe, I think. Hopefully others will agree with me. I think if you are in the Reykjavík area, you will not want to miss out on visiting us. We are very hopeful for the future. Long live Lucky Records!
Gestur: Hear, hear!
We say goodbye to the two friends that sit side by side with vinyl in their hand, sitting in the most comfortable sofa we ever sat in. Gestur waves us farewell, wearing his I heart Vinyl t-shirt, which is obviously what they both do. We wish them luck and great things in the future.
Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photograph: Nanna Dís