A Q&A with Glitter Records Founder Riley Fitzgerald: The Maverick of Brisbane’s Vinyl Revival

Words by Mitch Wilson
Graphic by Riley Fitzgerald

Step into the world of Riley Fitzgerald, the founder of Glitter Records and an intriguing presence in Brisbane’s cultural milieu. Known for his innovative spirit and bold vision, Riley has been at the forefront of reshaping the local music landscape. In this exclusive interview, we explore his journey, motivations, and the impact of his pioneering efforts on the dynamic world of vinyl culture. Join us as we uncover the story behind a maverick of Brisbane’s music scene.

Cosmic Magazine: You’ve been deeply involved in various facets of Brisbane’s cultural and music scene. Could you share with us how your journey began?

Riley Fitzgerald: My journey started in music journalism around 2012, freelancing for Australian publications like Music Feeds and Collapse Board. It was an exciting time. I covered topics from underground music scenes to mental health in the industry and had memorable conversations with The Jesus & Mary Chain and members of The Go-Betweens.

Cosmic Magazine: Beyond journalism, you’ve also ventured into music production with your ambient EPs. How did your interest in creating music come about, and what inspires your sound?

Riley Fitzgerald: Creating ambient music allowed me to explore another side of creativity. Future Shocks and Strange Waters aimed to evoke specific moods. Collaborating with Andrew Boyd from Chivalry enriched my experience and expanded my musical horizons.

Cosmic Magazine: Your academic background in music and entertainment law seems diverse. How have these studies influenced your perspective on the music industry?

Riley Fitzgerald: Studying music provided a deeper understanding of classical and popular genres, informing my writing and music production. My stint in entertainment law gave insights into the legal complexities that musicians navigate daily, broadening my perspective on industry challenges and opportunities.

Cosmic Magazine: Tell us about your ventures in publishing Cosmic and The Glitter & Gold. What motivated you to start these publications?

Riley Fitzgerald: Cosmic stemmed from a passion for psychedelic music and art, aiming to provide in-depth journalism on acts like Tame Impala and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. The Glitter & Gold followed, expanding our coverage and exploring new narratives in music.

Cosmic Magazine: What inspired you to establish Glitter Records?

Riley Fitzgerald: The resurgence of vinyl culture was a significant inspiration. After years of documenting the music scene and witnessing renewed interest in physical formats, I felt compelled to offer Brisbane a fresh perspective. Glitter Records reflects my passion for music that challenges mainstream narratives, curating a selection that reflects this ethos.

Cosmic Magazine: How do you approach curating the records in your store?

Riley Fitzgerald: Drawing from my background in music journalism, I try to curate with an objective perspective. I’m fascinated by challenging beliefs and uncovering undocumented aspects of music history. I aim to showcase recordings that are unique or hold significant cultural value, whether they’re rare vintage finds or albums that push boundaries.

Cosmic Magazine: Could you highlight some of the rarest or most unique records in your collection?

Riley Fitzgerald: Our collection includes rare shellac recordings from the early 1910s and 1920s featuring performances by classical composers such as Rachmaninoff. We also feature limited releases from local artists and rare international imports.

Cosmic Magazine: What sets Glitter Records apart from other record stores?

Riley Fitzgerald: Our extensive catalog, now over 11,000 recordings, and our growing community. We’re committed to creating a discovery-driven environment, continually redesigning our digital and physical spaces to accommodate our collection and enhance the customer experience.

Cosmic Magazine: How do you stay updated with current music trends while focusing on vintage and rare records?

Riley Fitzgerald: I use tools like Google Trends, Chartmetric, and insights from platforms like Discogs to track mainstream releases and trends. Additionally, Blend 42 , a fantastic YouTube channel, documents live performances from underground artists in Brisbane. Glitter Records is located in California Lane in Brisbane’s nightlife precinct so good music is never far away. We also host concerts in the lane. Following local gigs, reading music trade publications, and word of mouth also keep me connected. This balance ensures a diverse and informed selection for our customers.

Cosmic Magazine: What advice would you give to new vinyl collectors?

Riley Fitzgerald: Develop your listening skills. There are countless resources available to deepen your understanding and appreciation of music and other people. It’s a skill that enriches all aspects of life.

Cosmic Magazine: How do you envision the future of vinyl records and physical music formats?

Riley Fitzgerald: Physical formats will continue to thrive as people seek new experiences and a sense of connection. There’s a growing recognition and emphasis on the sustainability of collecting pre-owned items, which is long overdue. By promoting the use and reuse of recycled items over new production, we can significantly minimize our environmental impact, thus preserving the planet for future generations.

Cosmic Magazine: What’s been the most rewarding aspect of owning Glitter Records?

The most rewarding aspect for me is fostering connections through music and supporting overlooked artists. From my perspective, Glitter Records is continually evolving in incredible ways. Each day unfolds as a new journey of musical discovery for me. I’m deeply grateful for that and for everyone who has helped make the store what it is.

Explore Glitter Records‘ extensive online collection here

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