Saint-Brieuc is located on the northwestern tip of France, near the English Channel. Its most notable musical export is perhaps Julie Budet of electro-pop group Yelle. Saint-Brieuc is also home to a record store called Le Disquaire. It says something about the size of the town, and the closeness of the musical community, that these two entities call each other friends. We spoke with Gilles Ollivier of Le Disquaire and discovered that, despite the fact that it’s a small city, big acts regularly roll through town and play on the venue’s own stage.
What are the origins of Le Disquaire / What is your background in music?
When we opened in 2006, there was no independent record store in Saint-Brieuc anymore. We’ve grown up with such places (and we had been working for several years in that type of shop) where music may be something more than just a product. We wanted to share our passion and experience.
What does the store do particularly well — any specialty genres or formats?
We sell all kinds of music and all formats (including lots of vinyl), which means having the artists that you don’t find anywhere else. That’s what make us different and that’s why we work with many labels and artists (mainly French for the moment).
What is the musical community like in your area?
We are lucky to have a rich musical community in Western France. There are a lot of events all over the year. Les Transmusicales in Rennes may be the the most important. [For] a few years, many bands in all kinds of styles have contributed to this vitality. You may have heard of Yelle, friends of ours; they will release their second album in March and will start their American tour in Coachella.
Which albums has your store sold the most over the past month?
Agnes Obel: Philharmonics (PIAS, 10/4/10)
Timber Timbre: s/t (Arts & Crafts, 1/13/09)
Sufjan Stevens: The Age of Adz (Asthmatic Kitty, 10/12/10)
Funeral Party: The Golden Age of Knowhere (Sony Music, 1/24/11)
What is the “Showcase” series?
The Showcase series consists of having artists playing live in the store (album-release party or acoustic set before a concert in the evening). Since 2006, we’ve had over 80 showcases with artists such as Emily Jane White, Yelle, Radio Moscow, Laura Veirs, and almost all the local bands.
Any big future plans for Le Disquaire?
We hope to be able to go on the way [that] we do as long as possible, even if it’s hard to be independent (as much in France as in the States, I guess…), and to celebrate our fifth birthday at the end of 2011.