When a legendary New York City record store closes up shop after more than 20 years in business, you’d be sadly mistaken to think that’s the last you’ll ever hear of it.
Thanks to film directors Rob Hatch-Miller and Puloma Basu, Manhattan record store Other Music’s popularity is surging despite having permanently shut its doors in the summer of 2016. The film-making duo’s latest documentary, aptly titled Other Music, premiered Friday night at the Tribeca Film Festival to a slew of musicians, music lovers, and fans of the former record store.
“We just saw the atmosphere of the store [during its last few days], and everyone coming in and being so sad and so upset,” Basu said when asked where the initial idea for the documentary came from. “We just saw a movie happening right in front of us, so we immediately were like, ‘okay, someone has to do this.’ We didn’t think it was gonna be us, but then it was.”
Soon, Basu and Hatch-Miller were researching the shop, setting up a Kickstarter campaign to fund the film, and tracking down current and past store regulars who had hit it big. One of the past customers they reached out to, and ultimately featured in the film, was drummer Brian Chase of the indie rock band Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
“Mostly, I was just part of the community when [Other Music] was around. I was a frequent shopper, and the store meant to much to me,” Chase told us at the film’s premiere. “[The film] touches on the value of the record store… as a link between the artists and the public.”
Lucky for Basu and Hatch-Miller, many artists, like Chase, wanted to commemorate such an important piece of the New York music scene just as much as they did: members of the bands Vampire Weekend, The Strokes, Interpol, and Depeche Mode also appear in the documentary to speak candidly of the iconic record store.
Some artists even lent more to the film than just their faces.
“It was all very meant to be,” Basu revealed, “because for instance, Martin Gore who is in the band Depeche Mode, the way we got him in the movie is he contributed to our Kickstarter.”
“He just loved Other Music so much,” Hatch-Miller added. “He watched the movie a few weeks ago, and said he was blown away and wanted to show it to his kids so they could see how important record stores were to cult music culture, and hopefully will be important again.”
Basu, Hatch-Miller, and Chase have all said they hope the documentary helps people understand the importance record stores have historically played in launching musicians’ careers and in unifying people with shared interests. Chase noted that record stores are now mainly seen as nostalgia hubs. Basu just hopes they once again become more necessary than novelty.
“Young people now, they don’t have the same access that we did to places like this simply because they just don’t exist on the same level anymore,” Basu said. “We wanted to make [a film] that young people could see and feel inspired by, and be like, ‘I want something like this in my life.’”
Basu and Hatch-Miller plan to take Other Music to more films festivals around the world, and are looking for distribution partners to eventually bring the film to a larger audience.