Lolo Reskin on Miami's Music Scene
Sweat Records Co-founder, DJ, and Florida Chapter Board member Lauren “Lolo” Reskin discusses why she opened the store over ten years ago and the resurgence of vinyl records.
What inspired you to have a career in the music industry?
My dad is a Juilliard-trained trumpet player and composer and my grandmother Joan Field was a concert violin soloist. I also grew up next door to a roller rink where I became obsessed with contemporary tunes and DJ culture. By the time I was a teenager I’d realized that I’d be miserable in a career that didn’t involve music.
Why did you start Sweat Records and what was the process like?
I started Sweat Records for Miami and the people growing up and living there. At the time (2004) we didn’t really have a local-centric shop which was disappointing. I’d been a DJ and club promoter and worked at a Virgin Megastore starting in high school so I knew the audience was there. I was 21 when we started planning and 22 when we opened so it was a very DIY process but we’ve come a long way. When we first opened we wrote down sales in a spiral notebook and now we run some of the most sophisticated retail software available.
What are some unique artists that you have discovered as the owner of a record store?
Between Sweat and the background music programming I do I pretty much listen constantly. With so much out there it can be daunting to navigate what’s available but I discover a lot via distributor emails, new release lists, links from friends, etc. I post annual best-of-the-year playlists and other collections of discoveries and themes on my Spotify account. Some current favorites are Jens Lekman, Run The Jewels, Entrance, Alexandra Savior, Khruangbin, and Ondatropica.
Why do you think there has been a recent resurgence with vinyl records?
In one word: rebellion. What better way to go against digital culture than by buying a big, analog record? We say our customers are younger people starting their first collections and older people starting their second. Many in the younger generations have never had a physical music collection so vinyl being their first foray is beautiful in my eyes. It’s been a huge plus too that so many artists and labels take the time to create really gorgeous packages, added-value items, extended liner notes, and so on.
What are some of your favorite records to listen to on vinyl?
All of them! Last year we actually started the official Miami chapter of Classic Album Sundays, a monthly vinyl listening party that started in the UK in 2010. We have a partner in local audiophile boutique Deja Vu Audio South and once a month we give out pizza and beer while people enjoy presentations and full playbacks of these albums. It’s become one of our most favorite events.
What has your experience been like as a music programmer for hotels and restaurants? How does Miami’s musical landscape affect your programming choices?
We are lucky to have some really great clients who care deeply about the music they play - and rightfully so! I’ve absolutely walked out of restaurants that were playing terrible and/or too-loud music. It’s a fun job though and one not a lot of people know exists. I do a lot of research and digging to create sonic profiles that gives the spaces identity and engages the customers just enough without being distracting. I’ve been a DJ since I was 17 so it’s also neat to have people listening to my selections 24/7 in a ton of different locations.
Are there any projects you’re currently working on?
We’re always working on making Sweat better and better, and in the fall I’ll be back co-hosting Art Loft on South Florida PBS.
Where have you seen growth in the Miami music scene and where is it headed?
There’s been constant growth in the audience for music here, as well as the number of entities contributing. We’ve got SunPress Vinyl making records in our city for the first time in almost a decade, gear companies like PureSalem Guitars, great music-centered non-profits like Miami Girls Rock Camp and Guitars Over Guns, and a ton of new bands and random places to play. We could always use more venues so a few new ones would be appreciated, and since SunPress opened we’ve already seen an uptick in local bands pressing vinyl which we hope continues forever.