Scratches Record Store
By ALEC SMART
Scratches Records, an independent Hip Hop music label in Surry Hills, also runs a new and used vinyl record store with connections to a long-closed record store in Newtown that shared the same name.
2010 magazine caught up with Label Manager Lorenz Prichard.
What are the best-selling genres in the record store?
“Hip Hop is definitely the biggest selling genre in our shop,” Prichard replied. “We are also an independent record label focusing on Hip Hop, we get a lot of the Sydney scene in store, digging for gems. Loads of classic albums from around Australia, but also a lot of 90’s east coast US Boom Bap, largely due to the fact it is my favourite era/location for Hip Hop.
“I try to promote and sell the music I love the most. We also get rid of a lot of Jazz, Blues, soul, Rock & Pop. I am still expanding our collection, looking for more Dub, reggae, electronic etc. If you got some, bring it to me!!”
What else does Scratches retail apart from records?
“We also sell Scratches Records street wear, designed by our extended team of artists, spearheaded by our visual art director Sam Clouston. Retro clothing. Art/Graffiti supplies. Comics. CD’s + more.”
Prichard, also known as Hip Hop artist P.Smurf, was the son of Janette and Peter who managed Scratches record store on King St, Newtown, a popular venue for lovers of vinyl records, which closed in 1993 coinciding with the arrival of the digital age.
Did CDs spell the end of the original family store?
“The arrival of CD’s in the late 80’s/early 90’s did definitely contribute to the end of Scratches Records,” Prichard confirmed. “But more so, suffering a major break-and-enter, which resulted in all of their CD’s being stolen overnight, meant they were constantly chasing their tails financially for their final year of business.”
Prichard’s parents were forced to abandon their community venture when rent increases crippled their ability to continue. Meantime, Prichard developed a name as a Hip Hop artist, and continues to record music and perform under the name P.Smurf.
How did Prichard come to choose the ‘P.Smurf’ moniker?
“My good friend Brad Ludwell gave me the name P.Smurf at the age of 14,” he revealed. “This was due to the fact that as a junior at Newtown High School, I was forced to wear a blue shirt as a school uniform until year 11/12. The seniors, who all wore white shirts, referred to the juniors as ‘Smurfs’. Brad was a senior at the time, along with most of my friends. They then donned me with the name ‘Papa Smurf’, aka ‘King of the Smurfs’. Not long after we started our first Hip Hop crew called Reverse Polarities, and the name was abbreviated to my current MC name, P.Smurf.”
As P Smurf, Prichard also hosts Hip-Hop workshops. What might participants expect?
“I have been working as an external youth worker and Hip Hop facilitator for over a decade now,” he replied. “Mainly focusing on the art of rhyming/rapping and graffiti. We work with all age groups, focusing on writing, technique, performance and recording. I also employ external facilitators, who teach music production, DJing, mixing etc. We will be starting weekly introductory workshops to various elements of Hip Hop at our store very soon!
11 rappers appear on the Scratches Clique video released by Scratches Records. How many rappers are involved with the music label?
“Our label roster has a broad range of contributing MC’s, DJ’s, vocalists and producers. Our roster currently consists of Platterpush & Codeks, Hi Trax (Joe Snow, Sinks & Able 8), Fresh Violet, Billie Rose, Chris Munky, Caustic Yoda and myself.
“We also have numerous affiliates and some amazingly talented artists we are currently working with, such as my fam ‘Ragga Army’ who will be dropping some new music with us really soon.”
What is Scratches relationship with Golden Robot record label?
“Golden Robot Records approached me in 2018 to see if my former label, Big Village Records, were keen to merge into the GRR family of sub-labels. After numerous meetings I decided that I was ready to part ways with the management of Big Village, and begin the process of launching my own label, with help from GRR. They are shareholders in the business. Their team have helped to assist me with our backend of operations, online shop, digital distribution, finances, etc.”
What other companies are creatively linked to Scratches?
“We have such a large family of affiliated businesses who have helped both the record label and our new storefront to grow, in such a short period of time. 567 King helps to supply us with our graffiti/art supplies. The Stitch Up provides us with some fresh retro threads for the store. Undefine Media has worked on numerous videos and photo shoots, Elefant Traks assists with our merchandise mail outs. Deluxe Custom Aesthetics assists with design. Plus numerous individuals, sole traders and contractors.”
Photographer Adam Scarf made a name for himself with a certain risqué photo of a wedding scene that went viral. Is he creating similar risqué imagery for Scratches?
“Haha, not yet!! But Adam Scarf has always been such a massive supporter of P.Smurf and my extended projects. He is a very talented photographer/videographer with a heart of gold. Look out for our risqué 2022 calendar shoot later this year.”
A: 74-76 Oxford St, Darlinghurst
E: Link FB: @scratchesrecordsstore