My introduction to Creeps Record Parlour was via a video on their Facebook page. The ten-minute clip, taken from a webcam, featured someone wearing a red Mexican wrestling mask drinking beer and swearing whilst reviewing New Zealand vinyl. Turns out the individual, who goes by nicknames ‘Boss Dude’ and ‘Apa Hutt’, is the owner of Creeps Record Parlour.
Apa from Creeps Records (Photo by Ben Howe)
Before starting Creeps, Apa was in business with Benjamin James (now of Herb’s Mobile Record Store). The pair started Evil Genius record shop in 2011, which was on Adelaide Road in Berhampore. In 2013, the pair relocated to Wilson Street in Newtown, starting Death Ray Records. When Ben left to open Moon Bar in September of 2014, Apa took the helm and continued running Death Ray for another five years. But when Death Ray was forced to close, he almost gave up life as a record store owner. However, thanks to the insistence of his customers and the offer of a smaller space next-door, he started anew with Creeps Record Parlour in 2019. “That was when I started doing some quite out-there social media, which got me into a little bit of trouble” says Apa. “Just probably a bit too much swearing”.
Despite my initial impression of Apa and his wrestler alter-ego, Creeps Record Parlour is a chilled-out place. Apa greets each customer with a “kia ora” and says “bye” when they leave. “You don't come in here to get something quickly and get the hell out” he says. “You come in here to relax”. Apa gently fans through a bin of records, demonstrating how his average customer shops. “If you imagine my fingers are patting a cat or something, it’s kind of like that” he says.
Stepping into the shop is like stepping back half a century. The interior of the store is decorated with what Apa describes as “kitsch weirdo mid-century retro” - vintage salt and pepper shakers, kitchenware from your grandparents house, old action figures and videogame consoles. “When you come into record shop, you want it to be memorable” he says. “So I've always tried to keep this place as rad as possible”.
Inside Creeps Record Parlour (Photo by Ben Howe)
In terms of vinyl, Apa acquired a catalogue of “trashy b-grade rock and roll, garage, punk, lo-fi and indie” during the days of Death Ray, and has always had a predilection for psych, kraut and prog. Recently, he has been stocking more jazz music, and points to the world music section as being important: funk, Zamrock, Ghanaian and Igbo highlife. “I try not to be all Warners, Sony and Universal” he says. “But also, I've become really prone to ordering super popular pop music because of my 10-year-old. Dua Lipa. Ariana Grande”, he laughs. “It's pretty hard case that there is a pop section over there”.
Whether you come for the Dua Lipa, the Krautrock or the salt and pepper shakers, a visit to Creeps Record Parlour is guaranteed to be an interesting (and relaxing) experience.