Matt Talley Expands Cool Kids Vinyl With The Video Series “Closing Up Shop”

Matt Talley, 29, is the founder of Cool Kids Vinyl, a record shop that occupies the second floor of Maketto on H Street NE. Talley, a manager at the restaurant, retail, and coffee shop is utilizing where he’s at to expand his Cool Kids Vinyl business. His latest addition is “Closing Up Shop,” a digital performance series.

Trying to take advantage of Covid, I thought creating online content would be the best bet, instead of having [in-person] events,” he says. Talley has worked at Maketto for almost four years and leaned into his experience to develop the concept last summer. “I didn’t want to interfere with dinner service or anything involving Maketto, so I thought let’s do these live performances when Maketto closes, so we named it, ‘Closing Up Shop,’” he shares during a recent phone interview with The Washington Informer Bridge.

Featured in the first episode is saxophonist, composer, and singer Kenneth Whalum. “Even beyond Jazz, he’s dope. He comes from a linage of Jazz musicians like his brother [Kirk Whalum]. He has production credits on Mac Miller’s album [“Swimming”] and works with Big K.R.I.T. often,” he says. “A lot of people don’t know about him, so I’m hoping that people get a little bit more acclimated with him through the episode.”

Talley notes, the first season of the series will also include performances by Rob Stokes, NAPPYNAPPA, Rahiem Supreme, and freejacob.

The series is teased on the Cool Kids Vinyl Instagram account (@coolkidsvinyl), and the full episode appears on the Cool Kids Vinyl YouTube account. Episodes are directed by Jus Yusef, produced by Talley, and music is done by Ceez Neckmusik.

Episodes will vary in length from 2-5 songs, which I think will keep the consumer on their toes,” he says. “You may watch an episode that is one shot, one performance, or you may watch an episode that is 15 or 20 mins, and it’s 3 songs.” Each episode will include an outro of the artist performing some sort of closing up shop activity, adding a signature stamp to the series. Whalum’s episode closes with him counting the cash register drawer.

Ultimately, Talley would like for the series to include both national and local artists. “Right now we’re in talks with including The String Queens and Stalley on the next season,” he says.

Also helping to build traction around the digital performances is a monthly newsletter, playlist, and the Cool Kids Vinyl online store, where books, records, and more are available for purchase. Talley’s fluid, yet strategic approach to curation is a testament to years of dedication to his craft.

Cool Kids Vinyl

While Cool Kids Vinyl has experienced buzzing success since opening in September 2020, it all began with Diggin’ Thru the Crates, started in 2016, a hip-hop event series hosted with D.C. legend DJ Alizay. The multi-city pop-up series featured guests like Tabi Bonney as well as the now-deceased Biz Markie and gave attendees a chance to dig through crates of vinyl, pick one, and hand it to the DJ to spin for the party. Then the pandemic hit and shuttered in-person events as we once knew them.

To this end, Talley started Cool Kids Vinyl with his growing personal collection featured at Diggin’ Thru the Crates. “Now we have a deal with a record distribution label under Warner Records, for books we have a deal with Simon & Schuster, and Taschen,” he says. “I still seek out and buy CDs, cassettes, and collectibles, but it’s nice not to have to pull from my personal collection anymore.

The expansion of the Cool Kids Vinyl imprint continues, as Talley pushes the limits of his curatorial know-how starting with where he is at and working with what he has.

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