Vinyl guy


A very small building under some trees at 601 S. Center St. could easily be the shack on a used car lot, which it may well have been at one time. It is about to become Spectre Records—records as in vinyl. It owners, Gabriel and Michelle Torres, are shooting for a Jan. 31 opening. We spoke with Gabriel Torres.

You couldn’t find a small building?

We think this is perfect. It’ll be easy to fill. We’re going to have lots of great stuff and it’s safer for us to start small that to go through a big phase and not be sure if there’s enough people out there looking for new records.

Define records.

Vinyl records—12 inch, plastic records, the ones that have been around for 75, 80 years now.

It doesn’t worry you that you’re three blocks from Recycled Records?

No, we’re going to be a great complement to Recycled as well as Sundance [Books]. And we’re going to focus on new releases where they focus on used ones. We’ll carry used as well, but our primary focus is going to be independent rock ’n’ roll and new record releases. [Recycled has posted an online message welcoming Spectre to the neighborhood.]

Do you think the market can support another such store?

Yes, I think so. We’re hoping that Reno is part of the growing record revival that’s been going on the past four years. Reportedly there were 8 million records—new records—sold last year over the previous year, which was 6 million over the previous year, which was 4 million. So it's got a new trajectory, for new vinyl records.

How did you even notice this building?

We’ve actually had our eyes on it. We saw it driving up Center and thought that would be a great place for a tiny little record store. And a day that we were talking about it, we drove by and saw that it was empty. So we called the number and a few months later we got in.

What have you been doing before this?

We lived in Sacramento for the past eight years. I was newscast director at KXTV in Sacramento. I left the same job, essentially, here at Channel 8, KOLO, to take the job in Sacramento, and we did that. And while we were there, both of us spent some time—my wife spent more time, about four years as a free form DJ at KDVS, the UC Davis community radio station. I did a little bit of time DJing there myself.

Did you do a SNCAT [Sierra Nevada Cable Access Television] show at some point?

I did. I did. I did a show called Sonic Noise. It was a cable access music video show on SNCAT from 1996 to just the beginning of 2000.

Tell me about that show.

It was a music video show that focused on independent bands, smaller bands, trying to give focus and attention to music that my wife and I are fans of that you don’t hear on the radio—at that time, weren’t seeing on MTV. … And there’s still the same problem with radio. There’s a lot of bands that get played on so-called alternative radio, but there are thousands and thousands and thousands of independents and underground bans that are absolutely great, and we wanted to bring attention to those bands, as well. And that’s what we’re going to carry.