What first inspired you to open Brunei’s first vinyl record store after so many years? AIMAN: It’s from our love of music basically. It’s the only way to listen to it in the original format – how the artists designed it to be heard. Especially for music from the ‘50’s,‘60’s and ‘70’s, where they designed an album to be heard in full, with a side A and then a side B. Often each side can sound really different, which is lost with CDs and when people these days just download individual tracks. AIZAT: For jazz and blues, nearly all albums were created this way, taking the listener on a different journey on each side of the album. The best thing is the sound though – the analogue sound is way better. An MP3 is a digital sample, you lose quite a bit of the original content and you can feel the difference – the overall warmth of the recording is lost.

How did you identify this gap in the market to start up selling records?

AIMAN: We didn’t really, we just thought we’d give it a go as there was no-one selling vinyl and it’s our passion. We started up in a van as a hobby about 3 years ago, going to events, advertising on Instagram and Facebook, to see if there was a market. We thought: worst-case scenario, our friends might buy something…it was called the Rolling Records Store and we were surprised so many people were interested, both young people and from the older generation. AIZAT: We were always late showing up to the events. The van was so old – we always had to jump-start it, though I think that was mostly because we used up the battery with the sound system. We eventually realised there was enough of a market to then open a proper record store. AIMAN: From the start, we also started selling turntables as we realised many people didn’t have them, so that really helped our business too.
To be progressive is to always do what you feel is the right thing, without expecting recognition or reward. Follow your passion and principles and be authentic in everything you do.

Who are your best customers and what kind of music do they buy?

AIZAT: We have all sorts of customers who are into a wide range of music. If it was up to us, we would just stock jazz and blues *laughs*, plus maybe hip-hop, soul and funk – we’re really into Black American music. AIMAN: But we know there’s a wider market, so we stock records across all music genres. Many new bands are releasing on vinyl, plus there are re-releases of classic albums from the last 20 years and beyond. So we have younger customers who like to buy the latest LPs on vinyl instead of iTunes or streaming. Some of the latest records also come with the CD and even download vouchers – so you get 3 in 1. And with vinyl, you get the whole package – the artwork, the physical media. AIZAT: It was surprising when the older generation came in too, to see the new kids in town. And some who were musicians themselves in the past. I even have some old ‘45s from Bruneian artists from the 1960s, who recorded and got records pressed in Singapore. AIMAN: They also come to sell their records and some have been very generous, for example giving us a record cleaning machine and even some speakers. Also we have new musicians who bring in their own music, so we support them by selling their CDs and having live music sessions too. AIZAT: The great thing is that we meet so many people who have gravitated towards the shop, those that like the kind of music we are into.

What are your future plans for the business?

AIMAN: More record stores *laughs*. I don’t mean just for us, rather that the whole scene grows and more people understand and enjoy the experience of listening to complete albums and the beauty of vinyl. AIZAT: We just hope that more people will start to appreciate what we like to think is proper music, rather than the commercial pop that makes up most of the music you hear today. If you wanna get your hands on some vinyl, head down to their store in Kiulap or checkout their IG: @doitgoodrecords]]>