For Wolfgang “Wolfie” Schiblhut, java and jazz should never be far apart. After eight years operating record stores in close proximity to coffee shops – first adjacent to Restaurant Tranquilo (now Mad Good Cafe) in Stirling, then near Parkside’s Bar 9 (now East Borough Eatery) – he’s finally united his two passions under the same roof.
“I always wanted to have a coffee station myself, right in the shop,” he tells Broadsheet. “We’ve got a little outdoor area where people can sit … it’s going to be really cool.”
The third iteration of Wolfie’s Records occupies a 100-year-old shopfront on Magill Road in Norwood (one block over from Big Star Records) and is a microcosm Wolfie's various predilections. Crates of well-categorised, high-quality used vinyl fill three rooms. The main space houses an espresso machine serving Dawn Patrol coffee, and other areas are dedicated to top-end audio equipment, vintage clothing and local art.
Wolfie’s trades in rarities and bargains across all genres of music. Stock turns over quickly, and the “just arrived” crates are always worth a look. There’s a small selection of newly pressed evergreen albums too. “You always have to have Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, and Radiohead,” says Wolfie. “If someone wants something else, I’ll send them up to Geoff [at Big Star].”
He plans to centre the new Wolfie’s shop around his love for jazz (especially new recordings), and name-checks Melbourne record-store-slash-label Northside Records as a major inspiration.
Two listening stations are set-up out front, and another in the “diggers’ room”, which is dedicated to funk, jazz, soul and R&B. “One thing that annoys the shit out of me is if I walk into a record shop and they’ve got these ’70s earmuffs,” says Wolfie. “It just doesn’t sound right. I’ve got some quality headphones and good head amps so everything sounds really nice.”
He’s something of a savant when it comes to hi-fi equipment. He keeps an assortment of turntables, amplifiers and speakers on show and will even tailor a set-up to your musical taste.
Wolfie decided to close his Parkside location when his lease expired in April. Then coronavirus hit and he was unexpectedly stranded between locations, with thousands of albums – not to mention shop fittings, audio gear and more – and nowhere to put them. Piers Schmidt – owner of the Earl of Leicester Hotel where Wolfie has a regular DJ gig – tossed him a lifeline, and offered the then-closed pub as a temporary storage facility.
Before the album crates and coffee station landed in the Magill Road shop, the building needed to be touched up, inside and out. Wolfie’s partner Rachael Dejanovic did the brushwork, including a colour-coded legend linking the various rooms. The retro-inspired murals are by local artist Alex Bellas.
The cabinets in the main room have been around since Wolfie’s inception, when Wolfie flipped an old butcher’s shop to turn it into the original record shop. They’ve been given a spruce up to suit the bright and tidy new space, and now sit below handmade display rails inspired by music stores in Japan.
As he settles into his new digs, Wolfie plans to add more features and events. Once a month he’ll throw a weekend courtyard market where punters can plug gaps in their libraries with cheap records, tapes and CDs. “I buy [private music] collections almost every day,” he says. “Out of, say, 100 records, there might be 40 that I keep for the shop, and the others I just need to pump through.”
He’s also planning live gigs and exhibitions by local visual artists. The shop’s hallway gallery will showcase a different artist every month (currently on display: Bridget McPeak). Wolfie also plans to host occasional sets by online radio station Groundfloor Radio.
154 Magill Road, Norwood
0475 775 010
Tues to Sun 10am–5pm