A hardcore punk band from Toronto’s 2006 record gives Hidden World Vinyl Records its moniker. The local record shop appears to be hardcore about something that epitomizes the spirit of politeness — community — even though the hardcore band’s name contains a not so polite term that starts with the letter F.
Hidden World is a little off the beaten road, which is appropriate. The nearby record shop is situated at 519 Second Ave. NW in Rochester in a community with a mix of residential and commercial buildings that butts up against the railroad. With a few pandemic-related closures during the past three years, it has remained open.
Although it is clear that Hidden World sells records, it also finds methods to include and energise a nearby community that cares about art and people.
According to owner and operator Vy Thorng, “Our approach to a record shop is a little different from what has been done before in my study.” “We run it as a cooperative and a debt-free corporation,” the person said.
Despite using more colorful language, Thorng claims that this approach avoids some of the drawbacks of top-down commercialization and the aspirations of billionaires.
According to Thorng, “music represents community and relationship,” thus a store that promotes music and music production should put its emphasis on that and include it into its culture.
The store has devised several original methods for doing that. For instance, the store is holding a drive for winter clothing this season. Community members can receive a $10 gift certificate from Hidden World if they donate new hats, socks, coats, or other winter essentials.
The concept for the winter hat campaign was inspired by Thorng’s experiences with the neighborhood’s homeless residents. They enter to escape the cold while en route to a shelter that doesn’t open until later in the day.
Thorng claims that the homeless individuals he meets in his shop make for great conversations. The Dorothy Day Hospitality House accepts all donations of brand-new winter clothing that Hidden World gets.
“The last two donations we received were from people who didn’t want a gift card. They merely wanted to give, claims Thorng.
Along with hosting a winter clothing drive, Hidden World also makes space available to organizations like the Rochester, Minnesota Songwriters Club, which allows local songwriters to work on their newest songs. On January 22, later this month, the shop offers free guitar lessons taught by a local musician. The lessons are fully booked and an RSVP is required to reserve an instrument.
Toby is a musician who wanted to help others, therefore this is his program, according to Thorng. He has bought a few guitars to offer to people in need. After the initial event, we’ll consider what functions for the subsequent one and move forward from there. However, participation and attendance are always free at all of our activities.
Performing music live
Even though Thorng makes it clear that Hidden World Vinyl is not a music venue, they also have live music performances. We don’t make any reservations at all, and we don’t have the money to do so, explains Thorng. “Word of mouth and community support naturally spread to the store and help us put on a performance. Donations are only intended to provide fuel and food for out-of-area crews. We have a lax approach about original material and prefer fresher performers.
A 26-year-old Rochester resident named Matt Kounniyom performs what he calls “solo bass” music that is “experimental and atmospheric.” He has watched six shows there since August and has played at Hidden World multiple times.
He says, “I’ve made new acquaintances and heard some intriguing music.” “Hidden World is excellent because it’s all ages, and they don’t mind taking chances on smaller out-of-town artists. It’s a friendly place.
He describes the record store as “unapologetic” and “open-minded.”
On Saturday, January 14, Kounniyom will give a solo performance at Hidden World alongside the acts Not Yet All Things, ACIDYOUTH, and Feral Light. The lineup, according to Kounniyom, features more “noisy and abrasive” music. He said he wants to “help grow” the genre in Rochester.
Nels Potvin performs on synthesizers and drum machines while sampling, mixing, and sequencing as one half of the Minneapolis-based dance and electronic group Not Yet All Things (NYAT). Nora, his dance partner and the “dancing half of NYAT,” transforms the music into a visual narrative.
Potvin claims that Hidden World appeared ideal because his band wanted to perform outside of the Twin Cities.
“I adore locally owned record stores. They are a fantastic location to unwind while crate diving, meet other music enthusiasts, and support neighborhood businesses,” explains Potvin.
A Wretched Success will perform live on January 28 at Hidden World, while James Reed and Luke Hendrickson will perform on January 31. February at the venue includes more performances as well as a poetry reading.
People can help us by attending our events, telling their friends about them, following us on Instagram to get updates, and giving us or selling us their worn or unused records, according to Thorng. Additionally, he claims that customers who “join bands, rap crews, art collectives, and literary groups” will support the shop.
“Be constantly curious about music and attend our friends’ gatherings in the neighborhood even if you’re not familiar with the genre,” advises Thorng. The most essential thing is that he exhorts everyone to “have fun.”
If you visit Rochester, you may find Hidden World Vinyl Records at 519 Second Ave. NW.
Open from 1 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Follow the Hidden World Vinyl Records Instagram account @hiddenworldvinylrecords to find out more information.