X-Ray Records has been an independent, locally-owned record shop in Regina since 1987. The store used to be owned by Dave Kuzenko. Kuzenko originally opened X-Ray Records back in 1987 as “Record on Wheels.”
As the business moved along, Kuzenko changed the name to X-Ray Records and moved from a chain to a locally-owned store. Over the years, X-Ray Records has been on the move and has called several locations home. They used to be down in a basement on 11th Avenue, then on Dewdney Avenue, and then they used to be on the second floor of 1810 Smith Street before moving to where they are now on the main floor.
X-Ray Records is a store that has been around in Regina for years and has been handed down by Kuzenko to Noah Biegler, who started working there in 2015. X-Ray Records seems like a great place to stop in to check out the latest or the oldest music, dig through the bins and find what you are looking for, or to have a chat with Biegler himself or the community.
Biegler stated that “Regina has an amazing music community,” and appears to be happy to be a part of it and to help serve others. Now that X-Ray Records has moved into the main floor, Biegler feels the location is better for space, foot traffic, and more accessible to the customers.
However, X-Ray Records is more than just a store. X-Ray Records is highly important to Biegler and was highly important to Kuzenko as well. Biegler started and wanted to own the store because “Regina needs an independent record store. People come here to chill and talk and hang out. It is more of a community than a store.”
“This is one of the oldest independent record stores in Regina,” explained Biegler. “The community is all about loyal customers. People used to come in here, talk with [Kuzenko], and hang out and talk about music, Blue Jays, everything.”
“Now, people are starting to do that here with me, which I love,” said Biegler. “It is a great community because it spans anywhere from people who are super young to in their seventies, and the people all love music and love vinyl.”
Not only do people of all ages come down and chat with Biegler, but people who crave and look for different music genres come and look for some vinyl.
“For music, basically we have everything. We can go from the craziest metal, like Darkthrone, all the way to Taylor Swift or country, like Luke Bryan, with everything between like jazz, blues, and electronic music,” said Biegler.
“Now I am starting to categorize by genre order, by alphabet in certain sections. He [Kuzenko] had a very special way to organize. It was all in his brain, but he knew exactly where everything was. Nobody else did but him.”
Well, that sounds very special and, based on what we have been told by Biegler, X-Ray Records was very important to Dave. Knowing how the store is organized, by memory, takes talent.
Many people may not know what is so special about listening to vinyl records. What makes this more of an experience compared to listening to music on your phone? Biegler describes it as “the warmth of the record, it is a warm sound and more of a pure sound.”
“The thing about the records is that you get to hold the artwork in your hand instead of staring at a screen,” he said. “Having a physical copy is a lot cooler than holding a phone screen. It is more of an intimate, more involved feeling. I can choose to throw headphones on and do things. But with a record, I can put it on and chill and appreciate the music and the sound. The whole process of putting the needle onto the record, flipping it around to the other side. People love that stuff.”
One of the biggest parts of record collecting is making an outing of it, at least according to Biegler. “People can find what they want to find here. There is always something for everybody, we have over 4,000 records in the store right now. There is something for everybody and their music taste.”
“We constantly get new shipments every week of new records and releases,” added Biegler. “I also do special orders as well. If it is not here, I can order it in, as long as it is on print on vinyl. Our records are all sealed from the factory; they are re-pressing and re-printing about everything in music right now.”
It looks like X-Ray Records has all that you need to get into record keeping or to keep on doing it. They have tips and tricks on how to make the sound more “pure” as Biegler stated.
“Definitely don’t touch the playing surface,” he said. “Hold it by either the edge, or the middle where the hole is, where there are no tracks. Use some good inner and outer sleeves. Outer sleeves are the ones that go over the artwork, the inner sleeves are where the record is held. I personally use the non-static ones, scratch-free, made up of rice paper. Static and records do not mix well.”
Biegler added that “Caring for your vinyl is like caring for your tattoos. There are many ways to tell you how to take care of it. But there is no set answer. It is based on beliefs and personal preference.”
Another thing that is based on personal preference is the record player. X-Ray Records does not have any for sale yet, but they are hoping to soon. They have recently launched their online store and website at xrayrecords.ca.