Zacharias has turned an entire arcade into a vinyl haven.
The owner of the self-titled, emblematic record-store hiding in the background of a busy downtown walkway the last 20 years, has contributed to the music education of two generations and has satisfied the fetishes of myriads of collectors. There, beneath the blue neon sign and the poster of some Indian spiritual leader we sat down for a while with him and listened to his stories about the music safaris he does throughout the planet, about downtown and the idiosyncratic vinyl buyers that he gets to meet on a daily basis.
Photos: Manteau Stam.
I started out working in a record store. Then I opened up “Zacharias” in 1989. Vinyl was always our sole subject. It wasn’t easy at that time, because I couldn’t get hold of many records. Especially during the 90’s they were almost on extinction. Now we also have a small store in Thessaloniki, under the same name.
Then I started travelling. I was going to the US and was bringing records from over there. And in other places: England, Holland, Japan , Belgium, Germany. I remember when I was in Japan, I asked from a friend of mine to find me a guide because all the labels were in Japanese and I couldn’t understand a thing. He says, I know a guy, he will help you out. I ask him how much money would he require and he responds that he didn’t need any money, just me covering his meals. It made me feel bad. The other day a huge guy shows up, of the sumo type. He was taking me to all the records stores and he was a disaster when eating. We were going to have a sushi and the guy was eating like 30 plates. He told me his parents had kicked him out because he was eating so much. This is what I love about the trips. Getting to meet people.
I opened the store in this area because this was the place I used to come looking for records when younger. Ever since I was 12. In fact I was going to the same arcade that this stored is housed in, in a basement. You could buy records for 200 drachmas a piece. It’s nice over here, no gas fumes. I always liked it here. The flea market on Sundays, the second-hand stuff, the vintage stuff, the bargains.
Records used to be somewhat of a rarity these days. Now you just visit Youtube and you listen to anything you please. Back then there was no other way. If a guy had records everybody wanted to be friends with him and they were gathering up in his house to listen to music. Nowadays you see a lot of young people that didn’t grow up with records rediscovering dad’s old records. Many of them have records and they come looking for turntables. It has become more hip.
In the store you’ll find gramophone records, cassettes, CD’s, small records, big ones, maxi’s, ten-inchers. And almost all genres: rock, classic, jazz, soul, punk, hip-hop, Greek. We also have some new ones but mostly second-hands.
The best-sellers throughout the years are Beatles, Pink Floyd, Chadjidakis, “Fos” by Socrates, “Tagari” by Poll. The most expensive I’ve ever sold is “Dyo Mikra Galazia Aloga” by Giorgos Romanos, Greek ‘69-’70 psychedeleia.
I got my first record when I was twelve from a super market. It was Beatles’ “Rubber Soul”. My sister had told me “there's “Girl” in it, it’s good.”
Collectors are collecting their memories. Someone came by when 15, 20 but he didn’t have the money to buy the music he was listening to, so he does so no. I also have a personal collection, nothing too big, around 3000 records. But I’m not stuck onto something, If somewhat comes asking for it, I’ll sell it to him.
Throughout the years I have heard the most crazy things from customers. One guy steps in and starts doing “na na na na na” and you need to have a psychic around in order to figure out which records they’re looking for. Another one was trimming his finger nails above a pot, inside the store. But I have a friendly relationship with most of them. Some see this place as a joint, they come over everyday”
Zacharias, Ifestou 20, Monastiraki, 210 3210055
D. Gounari 17, Navarinou Sq., Thessaloniki, 2310 287688
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