New Independent Record Store: Wingnut Records, Galway

If you’re in Galway and in the mood to buy some records, you now have a new independent record store to visit – following the closure of Redlight Records a few years back, and the recent liquidation of the Zhivago Records chain , Wingnut Records is the newest local record store on the block. (There is also HMV, but that’s not an independent store).

Wingnut is based in Bell Book & Candle, which is a treasure trove with lots classic books and old VHS tapes – I’d highly recommend a visit there. I used to go to Bell, Book & Candle on Sundays for a leisurely browse – you could spend hours in there. Here at Sweet Oblivion we’re all about independent stores because they offer a service you just can’t mess with, especially as they really support Irish independent music.

It’s clear from Ray’s interview that he is a huge supporter of the independent music scene in Ireland, and this shop came about because he wanted to show that support. In turn, Paul Deacy from Bell Book & Candle was supportive to Ray in opening his store within his shop.

I lived in Galway for a year and it’s a really cool place – laidback, relaxed and with a great music scene. Working in Redlight Records for a little while was a great education for me and an introduction to the movers and shakers in the local scene. Though I don’t get back there often enough, I really love visiting Galway. It’s a special place and the people there are, as we say in Cork, ‘sound, biy’.

Ray from Wingnut Records got in contact with me a while back about his store so I decided to ask him a few questions about what makes him tick.

Best of luck to Ray and Wingnut Records – next time I’m up in Galway I’ll be heading straight there!

Here’s a hilarious video that Ray made about his shop – rock on!


Interview – Ray from Wingnut Records

Hey Ray – why did you decided to open the shop?

Well, I guess because I really felt that it was something that Galway needed and it could work also to support Irish artists, labels and collectives. Wingnut is a very DIY job, done for the right reasons and supported by brilliant people, in my humble opinion! It is supported and made possible by fans, musicians, labels and the legend Paul Deacy, owner of The Bell, Book & Candle.
The Bell, Book &Candle is essentially a 2nd hand book shop, but also sells old comic books and old Hi-8 and super-8 video cameras, as well as supporting local bands.
So anyway, after Road Records shut, and Plugd was closed temporarily, my favourite records were not available anymore! And they were never available in Galway. So one day I was moaning to Paul about this fact and we were both expressing worry about the importance of Independent Music Outlets or lack of, in Ireland. He said that he had space and CD shelves in the store that were not really doing much, so if I could source the music, we could retail from there! Brilliant!!! Could never have wished for a better premises or a friendlier spot to work from!
So, I contacted the Main Man, Albert Twomey and he was very enthusiastic and mad to help. Bands and labels were very encouraging and then I knew we could make it work!
Doors opened last September, like I say, only down to the support of everyone.

What sort of genres do you stock in Wingnut?

Whatever you have, really! Its totally open access forall artists to stock their wares. We are lucky in the sense that we are providing a ‘one-stop-shop’ for ALL genres. So you have labels like Randal Records stocking Hardcore/Punk/Metal. Or you have Subtle Audio stocking Drum’n’Bass vinyls. Popical Island stock their mad array of punk/pop/DIY stuff. Bluestack Records stock their indie bands. Richter Collective with their crazy lineup,and the new wave of Out On A Limb stuff. And then you have self released titles like Melodica Deathship or RíRá calling in and leaving a handful of Hip Hop! Anything goes. Delighted to have it!

What is your favourite thing about running the shop?

My favourite thing is having access to all my favourite music. I buy a rake of it myself! And I’m constantly getting blown away by new stuff, it’s the best craic ever!

It has been a difficult year for record stores in Ireland – what do you think that independent record stores have to do to keep hold of customers?

Well, because Wingnut deals with independently released Irish music, for now we thrive on good-natured support from Irish music fans. We don’t go over the top for promo and have depended mainly on word of mouth. It was never meant to be run for a major profit or anything like that. If Wingnut can help Paul keep The Bell, Book & Candle’s doors open, then that would be great.
It is important to acknowledge that with a small industry like this, each and every fan and supporter is a great contributor to a sustainable music scene. Don’t be a gowl and copy a Redneck Manifesto album, be true to the cause!

What is your earliest musical memory?

I was massive into MC Hammer! No joke! Strange how The Hammer spoke to a kid in the middle of the countryside in North Cork!
I think the biggest influences on me since then has been No Disco and a lot of late night radio. I’ll never forget the very first issue of FoggyNotions magazine. They gave away a free CD with it. The first track was ‘Ger Canning’ by Giveamanakick. Straight away I realised that the greatest band in the world was from Limerick!

What is the music scene in Galway like? What are your favourite bands?

The Galway scene is BRILLIANT! Lots of people would be in disagreement but I reckon that’s because they are too spoiled.  Galway has two of the best live pub-venues in Ireland in Kelly’s and The Roisin Dubh. These venues bring quality on a regular basis.
Monroe’s is a massive brand new venue, The Crane Bar has a legacy of Trad Music, you have The Black Box. You have showcase night Citóg which s vital to new and young bands. Áras na nGael can be a mad spot!
So much goes on underground as well. Drum’n’bass nights can pop up out of nowhere, or a rave, or a quiet gig in someone’s living room!!! The UsVsThem collective bring hardcore/punk gigs to town all the time. There are DJ bars that have guests and all that good shit! Remember that Galway is not that big, but there are a lot of very active people! After hour spots and house – parties!
My favourite group is Vince Mack Mahon, turntable crew that transcend everything. Mastered their craft and create something really unique. Also they curate The Community Skratch event, very active lads as well!

What are your favourite Irish bands?

Well, personally I lean towards the hard rock and punk side of things. My faves are I’ll Eat Your Face, Hope Is Noise, Jogging, LaFaro… and The Vinny Club!

Thanks Ray! You can find more info on Wingnut Records here and Bell, Book & Candle is located at the Small Crane, Galway – a minute or two’s walk from the fantastic Roisín Dubh venue.
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