How Rockinghorse Records became a pillar of Australia's dance music culture

Brisbane's electronic and hiphop music community relied on this record store for the latest (and most classic) cuts. This is the story of Rockinghorse Records.

How Rockinghorse Records became a pillar of Australia's dance music culture

In the heart of Brisbane, Australia, a beacon of music history stands tall. Rockinghorse Records, Queensland's oldest independently owned music store, has been a cornerstone of the city's music scene since its inception in 1975. Founded by Warwick Vere, the store has not only survived but thrived, becoming an iconic symbol of Brisbane's vibrant music culture.

The History

Rockinghorse Records has been a stalwart of the Brisbane music scene since its inception in 1975. Founded by Warwick Vere, the store began its journey as an import record shop in Rowes Arcade. Vere, a music enthusiast, saw a gap in the market for a store that could import records from all around the world and provide a diverse range of music to the people of Brisbane.

In 1979, the store moved to larger premises on Adelaide Street, where it stayed for 25 years. The store's bright red interior, complete with flashing lights, became a familiar sight for Brisbane's music aficionados. Over the years, Rockinghorse Records has weathered the storms of changing music trends and technological advancements, always adapting and evolving to meet the needs of its customers.

The store's resilience was tested in 2011 when it faced closure. However, thanks to a massive sale and a last-minute rent reprieve, Rockinghorse Records managed to stay afloat. This event highlighted the store's importance to the Brisbane music community, with many rallying to support the iconic institution.

The People

Warwick Vere, the founder and owner of Rockinghorse Records, is a central figure in the store's story. His passion for music and dedication to providing a diverse range of records has been instrumental in the store's success. In a YouTube interview, Vere shares his journey, from acquiring a second-hand cash register and a few unsold records to running Queensland's largest and oldest independent record store.

Vere's decades of experience in the industry have given him a unique perspective on the evolution of the music scene in Brisbane. He has witnessed the rise and fall of various music genres, the advent of digital music, and the resurgence of vinyl records. Despite the many changes, his love for music and commitment to his customers have remained constant.

The staff at Rockinghorse Records have also played a crucial role in the store's history. Their knowledge and recommendations have helped shape the buying habits of Brisbane's music lovers. As Vere puts it, "Rockinghorse has survived - or any record shop survives - when customers choose to shop and take the advice of the people behind the counter as recommendations of what they should be buying."

The DJs and the Dance Music Culture

While the store has always catered to a wide range of musical tastes, it has played a particularly significant role in Brisbane's dance music culture. The store's focus on independent music, punk, and post-punk has made it a go-to destination for DJs and music enthusiasts alike.

Although specific DJs who have worked or shopped at Rockinghorse Records are not readily available, the store's influence on the local music scene is undeniable. It has supported live gigs of local bands and has been instrumental in the evolution of various music subcultures in Brisbane. The store's commitment to showcasing a wide range of music, including self-released records from local Brisbane artists, has provided a platform for emerging talent and has helped to foster a vibrant and diverse music scene.

Live gigs and local talent

Rockinghorse Records has always been more than just a record store. It has served as a platform for local artists, hosting live gigs and promoting local talent. The store's commitment to supporting local music has made it a vital part of Brisbane's music community.

Local artists, particularly those who self-release their music, have found a home in Rockinghorse Records. The store provides a space for these artists to sell their music, offering a selection of local music that is unparalleled in Brisbane. This commitment to local music has not only helped to support emerging artists but has also contributed to the diversity and vibrancy of Brisbane's music scene.

Community impact

The impact of Rockinghorse Records extends beyond the music it sells. The store has become a vital part of Brisbane's music community, providing a space for music lovers to come together, discover new music, and support local artists.

The store's potential closure in 2011 highlighted its importance to the Brisbane music community. The community rallied around the store, demonstrating the significant role it plays in Brisbane's music scene. The store's survival and continued success are a testament to its importance to the community and its enduring appeal.

Rockinghorse Records has also had a broader impact on independent music retail in Australia. Its success as an independent record store has demonstrated the viability and importance of these stores in a music landscape increasingly dominated by digital music and large retailers. The store's commitment to vinyl records and diverse music offerings has helped to keep the spirit of independent music retail alive in Australia.

The legacy

Today, Rockinghorse Records continues to be a pillar of Brisbane's music community. The store's commitment to vinyl records, despite the rise of digital music, has played a part in the resurgence of vinyl's popularity. As Vere notes, "the Internet got the word out about analog, and analog is king. People absolutely love their LPs, and it's back to the future. We're very much a vinyl record shop."

The store's legacy extends beyond its physical presence. It has been instrumental in shaping Brisbane's music culture, supporting local bands, and contributing to the evolution of various music subcultures. Its influence can be seen in the thriving music scene in Brisbane today.

Rockinghorse Records is more than just a music store. It's a testament to the enduring power of music, a monument to Brisbane's rich musical history, and a beacon for the city's vibrant music future. As Warwick Vere says, "Rockinghorse is my life. You're doing what you love, and you get paid for it." This sentiment, shared by many who have walked through the store's doors, is what makes Rockinghorse Records a true icon of Australia's dance music culture.