Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Inherent Records owner Bobby Rayfield recently opened a location inside North Chattanooga used clothing emporium Collective Clothing.
The Inherent record label was started with some independent recordings in 2003 and the first physical retail location was opened in Cleveland, Tenn., in 2010. Inherent formerly operated two separate locations in Cleveland that have since closed.
“We are full steam at Collective Clothing now,” said Rayfield, who lives in Georgetown, Tenn. “We had consistently been asked by customers to consider a Chattanooga location but, at the time, we felt the greater need for the record store was in Cleveland.”
When he was approached by the Collective Clothing team, it just felt like the right decision, he said.
“They carry some really amazing and unique items,” said Rayfield. “You really never know what you will find there. That already feels like a record store vibe to me, so here we are!”
When it comes to record shopping, he suggests that customers take a chance and buy something they are not familiar with.
“We try our best to keep new releases and current goodies on the shelves,” said Rayfield, adding that some are one-time pressings. “Get them when you see them or miss the boat totally.”
At least four of the newer vinyl releases in stock right now are out of print, he added.
“I bought the last three copies of one of them directly from the label, and it will not be repressed per the the band’s request,” he said.
Rayfield describes the Inherent Records “family” of bands, fans, friends and customers as “huge” and “worldwide.”
“We try to distribute, name drop and, when financially possible, physically release items from all of our friends we support,” he said. “I would like to think that the label represents more than just the artists we physically release. Music is something that is very dear to us and holds a lot of power and influence over our lives.”
The label currently has records in print by Tennessee band Generation of Vipers and North Carolina artists Judas Horse and Nate Hall, as well as a compilation LP with seven different bands from North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Wisconsin featured. Rayfield said the styles of music showcased by the label range across the board to include metal, folk, doom (extreme heavy metal), crust (punk), blues and more.
Despite such a breadth of subgenres, what makes Inherent truly unique is the volunteer status of its employees.
“We have survived with the help of our ‘family’ through physical sales to pay our overhead as well as continue our record label duties,” said Rayfield.
“Every time someone buys an item from Inherent it goes directly back in the pot to buy more stock, pay related overhead, label releases, etc.”
He said he pays certain bills out of pocket every month to keep the funds in the store healthy and focused on musical needs.
“Owning a record store and label was always on my bucket list,” said Rayfield, who has always loved records and music in general. “After years of planning, the vibe just felt right and I made the steps toward opening.”
He still maintains a standard 40-hour-a-week factory job at Eko Contract that he has held for for 18 years.
He said his favorite part of owning a record store is meeting new people, listening to their stories, hearing the new music they create and seeing the way people share their life experiences through music.
“There are causal listeners and the extreme music fanatics,” said Rayfield. “Music is supposed to be a rewarding experience. I find that to be exactly what I get out of it all.”