Sound It Out: Teesside's own spin city

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The Independent Culture

Record Store Day, the annual event to promote independent music-retail, has been going from strength to strength. This year it boasts its own official film, an affectionate tribute to the workings of one such institution and the characters that frequent it.

Premiered in March at US festival South by South West (SXSW), Sound It Out focuses on a shop of the same name based in Stockton, Teesside. Run by the indefatigable Tom Butchart, it is a haven for all kinds of outsiders and escapees from the hardship and mundanity of everyday life – metal-heads, aficionados of obscure frenetic house genre makina, and a lone Status Quo obsessive. Director Jeanie Finlay went to school with Butchart and spent a year getting to know customers, but says the film is more than a tribute to a mate.

"I've always joked about making a film of the shop, but then I realised so many of these places are in danger – not that Sound It Out is going anywhere. It's a microcosm that tells us about men, records and collecting." Fittingly, much of the doc's funding came from crowdsourcing site IndieGoGo, the final tranche of which helped take former Groove Armada vocalist and Stockton girl Saint Saviour to Austin for SXSW. In the film, she is depicted returning home for an in-store set, proving that, though she is now based in London, the solo artist does not forget the place that nurtured passion for music.

Record Store Day, 16 April. Screenings: