When Blue Rodeo came through Kitchener recently to play Centre In The Square, they were accompanied by a film crew from the National Film Board documenting their life on the road. When the band was asked where they should be interviewed several members insisted on “that cool indie record store, Encore.”
That national touring musicians know and seek out Encore Records should come as no surprise. The store’s owner, Mark Logan, is well-known across the country for both his passionate support of independent musicians and the breadth and depth of his well-curated music store.
Over a recent coffee, Logan discussed his career.
“I’ve worked at Encore since 1985 then bought into the ownership in 1989. It was just L.P. records then, long before CDs and the Internet. Back then, business was booming, people bought a lot of music,” he said. “Things have changed considerably in the past 30 years.”
Have they ever. Recorded music sales plummeted 50 per cent since 2000 alone. Factor in online streaming, downloading and the purchasing power and pricing of large retailers and the result is the disappearance of independent stores like Encore. How does he keep going?
“I get joy from music, it is as simple as that. I have to be very hands-on and adapt quickly. I have to know my clientele and be able to constantly re-focus to deliver what they want, but at the end of the day, this is not about the money. This is what I get joy from,” said Logan.
Joy – not many people are able to describe their work with that term.
It doesn’t stop at selling records. Logan also finds joy in his other “occupational passion” – his record label, Busted Flat Records. The label was formed in 2003 to promote and distribute a recording by local, globetrotting troubadour Shannon Lyon. “I believed in his music and wanted it to be heard far and wide, so I did the logical thing and started my own label,” said Logan.
The label, which started as an enterprise to help out a friend, has morphed over the past decade into a platform for worldwide exposure and sales. Busted Flat Records is distributed throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Holland and Australia.
With the label, Logan’s passion for music plays a big role. “I must love a record to stand behind it. The work that it takes today for an indie label to effectively release a record in this oversaturated and hypercompetitive environment is, well, staggering. You have to love the music to invest work and money into it.”
A look at the Busted Flats roster reveals the music Logan loves. It also reveals his commitment to nurturing local musicians on the world stage. Artists such as Steve Parkinson, Paul MacLeod, Lynn Jackson, Lucas Stagg, Daddy Long Legs and Cheryl Lescom call Busted Flats home. This commitment has also brought several internationally renowned artists to Logan’s label including Carla Olson and Matt Andersen.
We in the Waterloo Region are fortunate to have Mark Logan serving as a musical anchor in our community and as a music ambassador for our community. Stop by Encore Records and take in both the history and the future of music. You just might feel the “joy.”
Encore Records (encorerecords.ca) is located at 54 Queen St. W, Kitchener. You can find Busted Flat records at bustedflatrecords.com