Operating out of a garage, Gumbo Records has an intimate neighborhood feel, and that’s exactly what owner Noah David is going for. Though he started selling records on the web, the small weekend shop has become a bonafide place for record collectors and casual listeners alike to peruse selections. We caught up with David just in time for Record Store Day this Saturday, April 22.
On Tap: What inspired your decision to open Gumbo Records?
Noah David: I opened the shop in the spring of 2013, out of a garage a couple blocks from my house. There was never a conscious decision [of], “Oh, I’m going to open a record shop in a back alley garage.” It just kind of evolved from me selling on Craigslist into going more public with it. People liked the off-the-beaten-path aspect.
OT: Is your relationship with vinyl lifelong, or something you cultivated when you opened Gumbo?
ND: Growing up, my dad had all his vinyl sealed up, and we listened to CDs. It wasn’t until college that I think I put on my first record. After college is when I started collecting for real.
OT: What is the vibe in your shop?
ND: The feel of my shop is kind of a Mississippi roadside juke joint – rough around the edges, [but] a comforting spot. My customers are mostly folks from the neighborhood that have heard about it and like weaving it into a Saturday morning walking their dog (we are dog-friendly).
OT: What genres do you carry at Gumbo?
ND: Mostly blues, jazz and R&B. I currently only carry used vinyl, but am hoping to start stocking new vinyl from some of the local record labels.
OT: Name some albums that have really made an impact on you.
ND: A couple albums that mean a lot to me are Bob Dylan’s Time Out of Mind, The Wallflowers’ Breach, Dave Matthews Band’s Everyday and Neil Young’s Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.
OT: Why do you think vinyl is still relevant today?
ND: I think vinyl is special because people have this desire in the digital age to hold on to something – to touch and feel and have that visceral experience that is really unique to vinyl.
OT: What do you love most about vinyl?
ND: I love those first few seconds when you drop the needle, and the music hits. It’s just pure satisfaction.
For more information about Gumbo Records, check it out on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter at @gumborecords.
Gumbo Records: The little orange garage behind 940 Shepherd St. NW, DC; 202-930-3131; www.facebook.com/gumborecords.com