INTERVIEW: Travis Searle talks about what Guestroom Records is all about

Travis Searle of Guestroom Records wants YOU to give him a high-five!


Louisville is currently in record store heaven, as yet another shop has materialized, only this time in my favorite neighborhood!   Frankfort Avenue is now home to Guestroom Records, an expanding record-selling-business-operation from Oklahoma who are now open and ready to satisfy every record-buying desire your cash-having brain can conjure up.  I visited with these nice folks on their opening day last weekend, and they seem pretty genuine.  They already have a wealth of  new and used vinyl to satisfy just about any fan of indie/punk/metal/hardcore/country/whatever.  So anyway, what is their story?  Co-owner Travis Searle was kind enough to answer a few questions…

Never Nervous: So coming all the way from Oklahoma, what made you guys decide to open a record store in Louisville?

Travis Searle: It’s a long story, but over the last year we were looking to make a move. We were looking for a strong music community that we could feel at home in, and after visiting Louisville several times we fell in love.

NN: Is there a particular reason you chose Frankfort Avenue as a destination?

TS: We looked at NuLu and Bardstown Road, but seeing the wonderful neighborhood vibe of Frankfort Avenue and Clifton we decided that this was the area that we would focus on. Dozens of great shops, bars and restaurants here, and we got lucky and found the perfect spot for our store. Next door to Sweet Surrender and The Hilltop Tavern? Couldn’t ask for a better location.

NN: It seems that all of a sudden, the record store market in Louisville has become saturated. How do you plan to stand out among several other longstanding/new shops in town?

TS: We don’t really see the record store scene in Louisville as saturated so much as growing. We visited all of the shops in Louisville and felt like each of them had something unique to offer to Louisville music fans. We hope people won’t only support us, but will support local music stores across the metro. As for standing out, we think no two record stores are alike. Guestroom is Guestroom and we hope people like what we bring to the table.

NN: Is there one music genre you push more than others?

TS: We try to help our customers find what they are interested in listening to, so we really don’t push one genre more than others. We specialize in Indie, punk and alternative, but have a wide variety of classic rock, psych and soul and hope to grow our selection of metal, country, blues and jazz.

NN: Will your Frankfort Ave. location also serve as a venue for live music?

TS: We won’t be a venue, but we will be having regular in-store performances and signings with local and touring artists.

NN: Are there any bands/artists in Louisville that you are particularly into or aware of?

TS: The list is long, but we’ve been longtime fans of Will Oldham, Slint, My Morning Jacket…we saw Natives open for Wire in the summer and were very impressed. In addition to being an awesome band, the great dudes from Mote helped us unload our entire store from the truck!

NN: I know it’s a vague, open-ended question, but what genres of music are you guys particularly fond of?

TS: It sounds a little trite to say, but we really are into a little bit of everything. We might go from The Clash to The Byrds to Windhand and on to some crazy African funk compilation. You never know what you’ll hear when you walk into Guestroom. We take pride in not dictating what employees listen to in the store, it is always the choice of the person behind the counter.

NN: Norman, Oklahoma is one hell of a college sports town. As current/former residents, do you all give a half a shit about that kind of thing? Just mentioning it considering the last two schools to win national championships in basketball belong to the state of Kentucky.

TS: We like sports and particularly hanging out with our friends and while watching them. I’ve been following Kentucky and Louisville basketball for years and is pretty excited about witnessing basketball madness in town.

NN: Lastly, talk about a few records that have really been knocking your skirt up lately.

TS: There have been some great releases this year and more on the way. The list changes hourly! We’ve been listening to a lot of metal lately, particularly Venom’s Black Metal, a Folkways compilation Persistence And Change: Ballads of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the new Red Fang album and the new MGMT album. Really looking forward to new ones from Avett Brothers and Arcade Fire as well.

Keep up with promotions, new releases, and in-store performances at Guestroom Records on facebook here.