Swimmers Club

The pioneers of aviation were never lonely

13th June 2017


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Courtesy of Outpost

The Subterraneans

Push your shoulders and hands under the surface of the water.


Who: Outpost.
Where: Cardiff, Wales
What: A vinyl cafe.

Cat No: DW-353

Do you have any idea how the name come about and when the shop started?

We knew we wanted the shop to be a part of Cardiff's vibrant music and culture scene; which in itself is on the fringes. We're located on Cardiff's famous Womanby Street, alongside most of its independent music venues. We launched as a pop-up shop in the beginning of 2016 and worked with local venues, brands and festivals, then opened our full time shop in October alongside Cardiff's SWN Festival.

Are there any particular genres that you specialise in or are you a mixed bag?

We hand curate every record in our racks, whether it's an album or label that we love, every record has a story behind why we choose it and why we recommend it!

We really want to champion local independent and micro labels, so we have a 'Welsh & Indie' section fully stocked with great artists from labels doing really interesting stuff.

Can you tell us a little bit about the city in which you are based and what influence, if any, it has on the shop?

We're based in Wales capital city, Cardiff, where both of us (Sophie and Matt) studied at university. We grew up in towns just outside Cardiff and came to the city to see our first gigs, buy our first records and now we both live and work here. Cardiff has a huge influence on the shop and everything we do, from the music we listen to and the stock to the reason why we sell vinyl at all!

Do you sell other things aside from music? Fanzines, magazines, etc?

We are a coffee shop and a record store.

Do you sell cassettes?


Has Record Store Day been good for your shop?

2017 was our first year hosting Record Store Day and it was an absolute smash. We were very lucky to have some great local bands (Farmhand, from Welsh Micro label Shape Records & electronic duo Roughion) and DJs (GRLTLK, Twinfield & Rotary Club) play in-store which really added to the buzz of the day. It was great to get the whole community together and celebrate alongside our everyday customers and to be exposed to many new customers through RSD. We're incredibly excited for RSD 2018 (and a little less wet behind the ears now).

Swimmers Club has a focus on the state of independent culture at the moment (independent coffee shops, presses, record labels, etc). How healthy do you think independent culture is right now? How could the state of it be improved?

In Cardiff at least, independent culture is booming. People want a more authentic and personal experience of retail and of their products. We've formed relationships with many of our customers and that informs the records we buy and the events and the in-store events that we programme. We work with many independent companies in and around Cardiff not just the bands and record labels but also coffee roasters, bakers, milkmen right through to the people that screen print our tote bags! . People want to invest in new and exciting grassroot companies and become part of those communities.

We are based in a building called The Castle Emporium; which was a disused 1920s cinema but now is a collection of local independent businesses who run the building as a co-op. 

Do you think the role of the record shop has changed in any way due to 21st century digital landscape?

It's a very different environment. You can go on eBay or Discogs or Amazon and maybe get things cheaper or harder to find but with a record store you have the personal touch. You can chat and flick through the racks, listen to music. It's a great feeling to organically find a record you've been looking for and it makes us incredibly happy to do that for our customers.

Do you have a good balance between championing new music and selling reissues of older stuff?

We definitely have more new music as that's more our market but we also have a selection of 'Outpost Classics' and a selection of our favourites from our own collections - 'Outpost Picks'.

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