Sisters of Sound Records: Working to encourage the love of vinyl

Sarah Cunnick, co-owner of Sisters of Sound Records, holds one of her favorite records from when she DJ'd the Timelords' remix of the Doctor Who theme song, “Doctorin’ the Tardis." (Mason Swenson | The Collegian)

Between the smell of hundreds of album covers, the gentle sound of a woman singing throughout the small store and rows of vinyl in Sisters of Sound Records, one man was to be found, hunched low, sorting through records.

Michael Darling, of Manhattan, has been working at Sisters of Sound for eight months. Coming into the store to trade records, Darling said he walked out with a part-time job.

“It’s actually the worst job in Manhattan,” Darling said sarcastically. “You get to play music all day.”

Darling said he owned around 350 records, 500 cassettes and about 1,000 CDs at one point, but lost them all in a fire a few years ago.

Since he started working at Sisters of Sound, Darling has started rebuilding his collection.

Victoria Moseley, freshman in biology and parks management and conservation, has a small collection of records. She doesn’t necessarily choose which records she purchases, as much as the records choose her, Moseley said.

“I have one from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, which has a song, ‘Mr. Bojangles’,” Moseley said. “My dog is named Bojangles.”

Following in her mothers’ footsteps of collecting records, Moseley said she and her mom have different tastes in music but are always introducing each other to different styles.

Moseley’s mom prefers country, while Moseley finds herself more drawn to the ’80s pop-rock style, she said.

Moseley walked out of Sisters of Sound with three new records, bringing her collection to 22.

“I always tell people these (records) are like my puppies,” Sarah Cunnick, co-owner of Sisters of Sound Records, said. “I have to find them homes. We’re not ones to shove them into boxes or crates.”

Cunnick said the concept of the record begins when the band is forming the idea for the song. After the idea stage, the song is recorded and pressed into a record.

A record’s story continues when a guy walks into his local record shop in 1970 and buys an album. That same man will play the album on and off for years following. Later in his life, it is time to move, so he decides to downsize his collection, Cunnick continued.

“He then says, ‘I want them to go somewhere people will care for them like I cared for them,’” Cunnick said.

“We love and nurture them,” Darling said about the records.

When Cunnick and her sister first opened the store, Cunnick said they didn’t know if they would even carry records. Upon the store’s official opening, which consisted of Cunnick and her sister’s friends, Cunnick stocked the store with 3,000 records and 3,000 CDs.

“After that first night, I sold about 800 records, and I realized, ‘Oh my gosh, I can never stop carrying records,’” Cunnick said. “And it’s snowballed ever since then.”

The store continues to fluctuate in what they carry. Cunnick said she is constantly seeing new and old records move in and out, but customers are more interested in the older records.

“As long as people take care of them, the vinyl records will last forever,” Cunnick said.

For Darling, being in the store is all about talking to people about music and turning them to new music.

“Everybody younger than 25 refers to the vinyl as vinyl. Most people over 25 to 30 will refer to this stuff as records,” Cunnick said.

“Or LP’s,” Darling and Cunnick said simultaneously.

Cunnick brought out one of her favorite albums by The Timelords to play for the store patrons.

After Cunnick brought out The Timelords’ remix of the Doctor Who theme song, “Doctorin’ the Tardis,” together she and Darling acknowledged the nerdy mentality behind the love of the song and records as Darling increased the volume.

Like Darling, Cunnick said she believes in helping others find their own beat.