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IFFBoston Preview: ‘I Need That Record’

ineedthatrecord‘I Need That Record’ is the first feature documentary from director Brendan Toller. His film is a documentary feature that takes a close look on why over 3,000 independent record stores have closed across the U.S. in the past decade.

His film features Boston-based Newbury comics CEO Mike Dreese, Noam Chomsky, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, Ian Mackaye of Dischord Records Fugazi/Minor Threat, Mike Watt of the Minutemen and much more.

We had a chance to ask Brendan some questions:

LR: Why’d you decide to make a movie about independent record stores?
BT: Around 2003 there was a mess of stories in the press trying to give definitive answers on why the music industry was tanking. The stories that focused on record stores always pointed to downloading and file-sharing as the main culprit, which I knew wasn’t totally the case. Corporate greed, payola, deregulation, big box stores, the US and world’s push towards conformity seemed to poise bigger threats. I’ve always loved the sights, the sound, the people, and (most of the time) the smells of different independent record stores.  It’s like you’re walking into the music. Indie record stores are places with an amazing sense of history and discovery.

LR: When did you start this project?
BT: In the summer of 2006 the record store I grew up with , Record Express, closed down. It didn’t necessarily come as a surprise since things were getting grim for a lot of indie stores at that point- but it was still heartbreaking. To this day there’s such an absence in Middletown, CT that the new restaurants and gentrified blocks aren’t replacing. Where the hell is the neighborhood record store! They used to have 3 or 4 at one time… That factor and the sense that no one really had made a film about what happened in the music industry in the past 10 years to cause all this motivated me to pick up a camera. Fall 2006 I asked Ian MacKaye for an interview after an Evens show and got the ball rolling from there.
LR: Did you go to undergrad/what’d you study?
BT: “I Need That Record!” was the result of my undergrad thesis! I went to Hampshire College in Amherst, MA an alternative college that allows you to propose a year long project your final year. I studied filmmaking, journalism, political theory, music etc. Graduated last year- now lookin’ for a job…
LR: What are you Top 5 favorite records?
BT: Its changes probably day to day, but I’ll give it a shot:

Guided By Voices “Bee Thousand”
Rolling Stones “Exile On Main St.”
Mission of Burma “Signals, Call, and Marches” EP
Neil Young “Tonight’s the Night”
Paul Westerberg “Stereo/Mono”

Check out ‘I Need That Record’ at the Somerville Theater, Saturday, April 25th at 7pm.

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