It wasn’t so long ago that Harvard Square was densely populated with record stores. For years it seemed like there was one on almost every block. A rash of closings in the last few years, including the recent demise of the beloved Twisted Village, have made them a little harder to find now. But that hasn’t dissuaded Ben Barnett and Chris Andries, co-owners of the Providence-based record store called Armageddon. They opened a second location of their successful shop in the old Twisted Village space late last month. We asked Barnett what on earth they were thinking.
Why open a record store now when so many others have closed?
We’re not worried about it. I think we’re both kind of workaholics. We take this stuff seriously. We’re not sitting here reading magazines and stuff. We’ve taken the business in Providence as far as we probably could take it there. As a business, you grow and change or stagnate. Lose interest and go out of business. We’re trying to go the other way. Stores are closing every day, but I guess we’re pretty dedicated to doing this right. We’ll see how this goes.
Do you think the recent resurgence in vinyl will be a boon to business?
For a store like us, we’ve always done vinyl, so it’s not really a resurgence. A resurgence would probably be more applicable to a store like Best Buy or another chain, because they think it’s going to be a novelty for a while. For stores like us, Planet, Weirdo — even Looney Tunes and Cheapo — vinyl has always been around, so it doesn’t seem like it died to us. Major labels have started pressing records again. We’ll see how long that lasts. I think that it’s going to outlast what’s left of the CD format.
Does your store have a specific genre specialty?
What Chris and I are interested in is doing vinyl and doing vinyl well. Genre-wise, we touch on a lot. We carry a lot of punk and metal and indie stuff, and we try to carry good rock, blues, jazz experimental, garage and random weird stuff here and there. Generally, if it’s vinyl and it’s got some quality to it, we try to make sure we have it in the store. We like music, so there’s no need to limit to one thing.
Was the history of this space appealing to you?
We’ve been looking for a place in Boston for four or five years. … We heard Twisted Village was going to stop being here, and it seemed like a natural place for us to get into, with his blessing. Wayne [Rogers, former owner] spent 14 years here, and before that the Taaang! record store was [here]. I used to come up here and buy records.
12 Eliot St., Cambridge
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