An Interview with Marc Sendik of High Fidelity Records & CDs

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When I was a kid, I collected records because at the time, they were the cheapest available option. In the 90s, nobody cared about records, and even the most rare of titles could be found for next to nothing at junk shops and garage sales. At the age of 8 years old or so, I put together a nice collection of maybe 25-30 records, and I played them on the literal shittiest setup you can imagine. It was some kind of Sony relic from the early 80s, with a stylus duller than an unsharpened pencil, which was no doubt, original. The unit was spliced into a cheap Epiphone starter amp. To say it sounded like shit would be putting it mildly, but I didn’t know any better and I wanted to play my records. All that being said, at some point, I put away my records and moved onto CDs and then eventually to streaming.

In 2009, I started to buy vinyl again. Not really to the level I do today, more like a few titles here and there. I was only making a couple hundred bucks a week at the time, and really couldn’t afford much anyway. I don’t remember how, but it was around this time I discovered High Fidelity Records & CDs. If I had to guess, I probably saw it on the way to, or home from All American Burger, which was located a town over from High Fidelity, in Massapequa, NY. I can’t tell you the first thing I bought. I don’t remember my first conversation with the shop’s owner, Marc Sendik, but I can tell you that since then, I’ve been a regular fixture in the shop. I would estimate that perhaps as much as 35% of my nearly 5,000 piece record collection has been purchased at High Fidelity.

I could go on and on about all the memories I have at Marc’s store, but I’ve actually already done that when I wrote about the store here. Instead, I’ve got an interview with none other than Marc himself. This interview is important to me, as I have so many special memories at Marc’s store, and the store itself has played a huge and positive role in my musical evolution and my life in general. I can interview artists big, small and in between, but spotlighting my local community will always come first. It’s not something I will ever stop doing. Period. So, if you love records, the next time you’re on Long Island, please make a stop at High Fidelity Record’s & CDs. Their address is, 141 Merrick Rd, Amityville, NY. I promise you won’t regret it. They’ve also got a website, which you can visit here, and a Discogs loaded with fun stuff here. This one goes out to Marc, Jimmy and the whole gang at High Fidelity. Cheers.

Andrew:
Marc, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Tell us about your backstory. Where
did you grow up? What got you into records?

Marc:
I was born in Flushing, Queens and moved to Commack when I was about 9 years old. I bought music from all over the place. At that time I was into cassettes because they were cheaper than buying CDs. I had limited funds and so it was my media of choice at the time. I got into vinyl records when I discovered garage sales in the early 90s.

Andrew:
You’ve been running High Fidelity since 2005, right? I’ve been shopping in your store since
around 2009, I think. How did the shop get started?

Marc:
Yes, in early 2005 I signed my first lease. Those garage sales I just told you about? Yeah, well I went a little nutty. It’s what I do even to this day. You probably know this. My obsession never ended but now I’m obviously a seller as well as a collector. Anyway, I accumulated about 7,000 albums and 10,000 CDs at the time I knew I wanted to
open the shop. It wasn’t enough, but in 2005, when I opened no one understood why the hell I wanted vinyl or CDs, so they were happy to get rid of it and sell it to me.

Andrew:
What was the landscape like for records when you opened? How has it evolved and where
does it stand today? Better or worse?

Marc:
Your questions flow nicely, thanks for that. Yeah, no one gave a shit. It was a struggle the first couple years, but we got by with regulars who just never left the hobby of the tangible aspect of collecting. Remember, 2005 was the era of the iPod, not vinyl albums. I always
wondered why no one understood it, as it was clearly such a cool thing…collecting vinyl and music and owning it again. I was hoping it would come back and it did. So yes, now it’s better.

Andrew:
You’ve always got a cool array of records across all genres in your shop. How do you keep
the shop so well stocked?

Marc:
I’ve been in this game a while, and have a reputation of being fair and building relationships. Also, I listen to a lot of different bands from many different genres so I pride myself in having that available to everyone else who may be like that.

Andrew:
What I like about your shop is the rapport you have with your customers. At the end of the
day, it feels like you’re one of us. What would you say your style is when it comes to running your shop compared to others out there?

Marc:
Yeah, I guess I touched on this in your last question. Sometimes, I’m in the mood to say, “Here’s your music, see ya.” Not gonna lie. LOL. However, I still love what I do. I still love music and collecting and selling as well. I love cleaning dirty albums and making them clean. I love the noise my VPI cleaner makes. I love putting albums back in the sleeve after cleaning them. I love looking at the covers and the artwork and daydreaming. I like reading the lyrics, and I still love coming into work most days. So, I like to talk about that kinda stuff, and what better people to talk about it with than customers who get that.

Andrew:
Shifting gears now, is there anything within the industry that you would like to see change
for the better? What improvements would you like to see that you feel would be beneficial to us all within the Vinyl Community?

Marc:
RSD allocations have become pretty brutal but I think that may be because of more shops that opened. Who knows? But when you order 50 of something and get 3 and there are 12,000 of them out there- its a tough pill. I still love the day though! Hey, Record Store Day people who make it happen- I still love you. What really grinds my gears?? Iron Maiden doing and exclusive with….WALMART…WTF!

Andrew:
A couple years back, you moved the shop from its original location to a much larger space
down the road. Tell us about the move. What was the experience like?

Dude. It sucked. It SUCKED. I had four 10×10 storage units and one 5×5 unit that were filled, and we had to move it all into the new store. We moved 150,000 albums and about 90,000 CDs. It sucked. But….it needed to be done.

Andrew:
A lot of owners have mixed feelings on RSD. Some love it. Some hate it. What are your
honest feelings on RSD?

Marc:
I touched on a bit of the bad, but overall, it’s a nice experience. It’s a good day and seeing
passion in people’s eyes. It also gets people out buying music, so no complaints.

Andrew:
We know you love music, and this may seem like an obvious question, but do you collect
records? Tapes? CDs? If so, what do records mean to you? More so, what does music mean to in general? How many records are in your own personal collection?

Marc:
My personal collection is pretty small, couple thousand or so. Honestly, I do a lot of my
listening at the store. At home, I wind down and listen and hook the player to go through Sonos. I’m not a completist like I once was. I used to go out and try to find every live rendition of ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ by Zeppelin. I’m not at that level anymore. Some bands I have mostly everything. I’m not talking every record they made, I’m talking every THING they ever made. Sabbath I know is one of those bands.

I still love the music and the bands I grew up with and some newer acts ( I’m talking bands that started last 15 years or so). It’s still a big passion of mine, to listen. It’s really had a big
inspiration on songwriting as well so I’m very happy about that.

Andrew:
What are some albums you don’t have, but hope to find one day? Are there any albums
you’ve given up that you wish you hadn’t? Are you like some of us who purge records only to rebuy them again?

Marc:
Many years ago I was in Barcelona, Spain and I was in a record store there, and the shop owner had a 45 import ( I forget the country of origin) of ‘See Emily Play,’ pink and white sleeve, tugboat on the cover…anyway…it was about 250 American and I passed. Oh well.

I remember being in Paris and was given a bottle of wine for spending so much with them. LOL. If that counts as a purge. As far as selling, there have been many that I would have liked to keep, yes. But the boys needed diapers.

Andrew:
What are/were some of your favorite local shops to buy in around NYC and Long
Island? Do you like to travel and buy vinyl as well?

Marc:
This is going to sound horrible but I haven’t stepped foot in a different record store since 2011 when I was in Greece. Oh wait I have.…once at Princeton Record Exchange, maybe 2013ish, because I was visiting friends in Hamilton, NJ. I used to go all over, all the time back in the day. It was a great experience. Nothing against other stores, I just don’t seem to find the time and honestly I’m in record store, my own, a lot! So at the end of the day, the dishes are done, man.

Andrew:
2020 was a weird year, but we still saw a lot of great music released. What are some of
your “must have” albums of 2020?

Marc:
I was really excited about the Petty Wildflowers anniversary edition. This year Volume 4 by
Sabbath is getting an anniversary edition. I’m excited for that too.

Andrew:
What are are a few albums that mean the most you and why?

Marc:
We Sold Our Soul For Rock ‘n’ Roll by Sabbath really got me into music. I first heard it on a cassette I bought at Record World in the Huntington Square Mall. Megadeth, Rust In Peace blew me away and I still remember where I was the first time listening to it. Metallica, Black Album will always have a special place just because that summer it came out was so much fun. They Might Be Giants, Flood….same thing.

Andrew:
I can’t imagine Long Island without High Fidelity. You’re still young, but can’t do it forever, right? What does the future hold for High Fidelity?

Marc:
I win the lotto, put the key kept in the keyhole, so you can come and take it over. I’m outta
here.

Andrew:
I’ve often heard that you have to be at least a little bit crazy, and have a whole lot of
drive and passion to open a record store, let alone succeed. Would you agree?

Marc:
For sure. I don’t know what to add to that other that it does take a certain personality. It’s
definitely not for everyone.

Andrew:
Last question. Is there anything else you want all of us here as well as the general record
consuming public to know?

Marc:
Shop at High Fidelity. You will like it here and we will like you.

Dig this interview? Check out the full archives of Vinyl Writer Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interviews

Published by Andrew Daly

Since he was a young child growing up on Long Island, NY, Andrew has always loved writing and collecting physical music. Present-day, Andrew is proud to share his love of music with the world through his writing, and the result is nothing short of beautiful: articles and interviews written by a music addict for fellow music addicts. Andrew lives on Long Island and works as a Horticultural Operations Manager by day and runs the Vinyl Writer Music website by night.

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