So, what is a guy in the beauty biz doing blogging about a record store? Kops Records is the pretty much undisputed king of vinyl in Toronto , being its oldest record store and purveyor of quality music to people who appreciate that sort of thing. It also boasts the largest collection of 45's anywhere in Canada.
The Kops Records story starts with Martin Koppel in 1976 on Queen street. Since then it has moved east and west before settling in its current location at 229 Queen street west. In 1976 Kops inception was strongly tied to Martin's love of "northern soul", a sub genre of music that descended from the mod scene of the 1960's and sounded something more akin to the motown-detroit era of music that we became familiar with in a mainstream way. Northern Soul had become a hit in the dance clubs of northern England, but was virtually unheard of in Toronto, until Martin Koppel came along.
Fast forward about 38 years and Kops Records is alive and well, thriving in a digital modern era where vinyl lovers and audiophiles still appreciate that raw unparalleled sound of a record spinning your favorite tune. Kops recently opened up a Bloor street location as well, to meet the demand of the most discerning music lovers.
About one month ago, we were lucky enough to have been allowed to shoot a fashion editorial at Kops Records, thankfully to Andrew Koppel (son of Martin). We chose the location based on the history and story behind it. Seldom do you find a place in Toronto so entrenched in its past that you virtually feel the energy in the air. We had a vintage, rock type of theme, and the Kops setting was second to none. Our inspiration came from the deep history this store has and we envisioned what it would have been like to walk into that store in the 70's and 80's and browse the then latest and greatest of the music world. That it was we set out to do with our photos and I believe we achieved our objective. (Stay tuned for images).
To have had the privilege to shoot a fashion story in an independent record store with thousands of records, memorabilia and countless autographed pictures on the wall is really something. Listening to old 45's spin while we took shot after shot still resonates a month later. It is a testament to the Kops Records legacy and the fact that after 38 years they are still spinning records the same way they did when vinyl was the only way to go. This is one place I feel really is somewhat of a landmark in Toronto, and when walking down Queen street feel free to drop in and take it all in because Kops Records is in a class of its own.