For over 15 years, Plugd Records, in its various incarnations, has been a haven for lovers of leftfield music in Cork, as well as a stronghold of support for the city’s various local scenes, including hosting gigs and instore appearances. With Covid-19 suddenly shuttering the shop’s former physical space for the foreseeable, record-slinger Jim Horgan had to adapt quickly.
“Initially I thought, yeah a few weeks off, great... which evidently wasn’t the case. I did a few 2km bike deliveries for the first while, more to keep in touch with folks, than anything. The realisation kicked in that the crisis would go a lot longer, so I took the time to really think about what I wanted to do with Plugd, which direction to take it.”
On Friday, Plugd Records relaunches at plugdrecords.com, and the new website catalogues the shop's new and secondhand stock for mail order and collection.
“It’s something that has been on the long finger over the years. There were a few attempts at a site, but with the everyday running of Plugd, and the events, it never took off. Over the downtime, I have had a lot of helpful input from Plugd customers. And luckily I have a brother, Paddy – the brains of the operation, who has been helping out with the tech side of things.”
A click-and-collect service will be made available at the Filter coffee shop on George’s Quay in the city, the latest in a series of similar collaborations over the years. Horgan talks about the relationship the two shops have shared over the years.
“I worked with Eoin and Jamesy from Filter when Plugd was in the Triskel several years ago. They are both big music heads. I ran the idea by Eoin of a click-and-collect and he was into it. I’m delighted to be collaborating with them. Folks get a free coffee on Plugd as well, when they pick up a record.”
The website will also have multimedia, including live video from Horgan’s privately-hosted garden gigs, and audio material from Cork’s music scene, attempting to reposition Plugd as an online cultural hub for Cork, the way the physical outlets have been in person over the years. Looking at Plugd in terms of the 'second space' is an adjustment.
“The site will initially be a retail space. We will gradually add elements to it like guest weekly mixes, playlists, blogs etc. It will be a collaborative thing. The last few months have been great for sharing mixes and music online.
“The gigs were recorded over a few late summer evenings, in those heady days when a few folks could gather in a garden. They will be broadcast weekly from the site over December.”
While live events have been quiet, even in breaks in lockdown, the same can’t be said be for recorded output. The Irish and international scenes have been buzzing on a daily basis with new releases, both physically over mail-order and limited retail, and digitally, most importantly via indie music service Bandcamp. Horgan’s picks of the year so far reflect fine form all around for DIY tunes.
“Mark Waldron-Hyden’s ‘Future Life Continuity’, and ‘Land Of No Junction’ by Aoife Nessa Frances both stood out.
“Further afield, I’ve been listening to the new ones by Kate NV, Adulkt Life and Daniel O’Sullivan a lot recently.”
With the year that it’s been for us all, it’s with hope that we consider a future after this crisis - Horgan is no different, as one of the great survivors of Cork’s cultural scene keeps adapting to the times.
“Depending on how the online venture goes, Plugd will be looking for new premises in 2021. I’m really looking forward to hosting and attending gigs again, and hearing what music comes out of the last year or so of lockdown.”
- PLUGD reopens on Friday at plugdrecords.com, with mail order options available, as well as click-and-collect service from Filter café on Georges Quay, Cork