Satchmi is not your average vinyl shop. It’s a music and lifestyle specialty store that first opened in SM Megamall and then branched out to U.P. Town Center. Vinyl shops usually house themselves independently, but for Satchmi, positioning themselves inside malls is about making their stores more accessible. It’s a true testament to their mission which is, “to make vinyl and generally the love for the old world more accessible to everyone.”
THE STORY BEHIND SATCHMI
Satchmi was born out of a love of music and what they call “the old world”. It’s a celebration of the era that was, of the beauty of vintage. The lifestyle behind the love for film, music, and vinyl is what inspired the owners to set-up shop and bring this experience to Manila.
The name Satchmi is a reference to Louis Armstrong’s nickname, “Satchmo”. Back when they were only available online and in bazaars, they initially focused on vinyl records and Motorino turntables. When they opened a physical store, they started serving coffee and stocked film cameras and specialty items.
As soon as you step foot inside Satchmi, you’ll notice the wide selection of vinyl records. There are rows full of them, and even some hang on the walls. A Motorino turntable plays a vinyl record from the store’s collection. You’ll also see tables around the shop where people are nursing their drinks, engaging in conversation or working on their laptops.
“Satchmi is for people who are obsessed with music, film, and good specialty coffee,” shares Reena Mesias, Satchmi’s Marketing Officer. “It’s particularly for those who are looking for a place to slow things down, to see familiar faces they may have seen at some good shows around town, to simply hang out and talk about music, food, and the culture with each other—sometimes even with people in our team if you chance upon us in the stores.”
HOW THEIR VINYL RECORDS ARE CURATED
Satchmi’s curation process is very hands-on. For their vintage collection, they have people on top of their team, who go around to look for records, check the quality and grade them before finally releasing the records in-store. Satchmi makes sure the records are in great shape, especially the vintage records, For newly released records, these can be under any of the following categories:
Satchmi favorites, recommended or well-reviewed, rare and collectibles, top 40, customer requests
The store not only stocks vintage and hard to find records, but also new releases as well as those in the top 40. When they curate their vinyl records, they think about whether or not it will be a record their customer will want.
SATCHMI’S VERY OWN MOTORINO TURNTABLE
Their commitment to accessibility aligns with everything they do—from curation to location. It comes as no surprise that Satchmi introduced their very own Motorino turntable. It’s another way for them to make vinyl more accessible, especially for those who are just starting out. This turntable is what they describe as an, ” an entry level turntable without compromising the quality.”
If you’re someone new to vinyl, investing in your first turntable can be overwhelming. How do you know which player to get? What specifications should you be on the look out for? “One of the (if not the most) important part of a turntable is the stylus. Get a bad stylus and you’ll surely damage your record,” shares Reena. “Ours is an Audiotechnica NP5 diamond stylus which is unlike most entry level turntables’ styli that are ceramic. Another important aspect of a turntable is the tonearm. Ours features a moving magnet cartridge and has a fully functional and adjustable counterweight. The newest Motorino turntable, the Motorino Mk. III, already is integrated with a Bluetooth connectivity (that allows you to play through your Bluetooth speakers) and a built-in headphone jack. All for P8,499.”
You can demo their Motorino turntables as well as some of the records in their listening rooms.
WHAT ELSE THEY HAVE IN-STORE
Aside from vinyl records, Satchmi stocks specialty items under their curatorship program. These items include leather goods, music accessories, socks, stickers, and even craft beer. They also have their own curated line of film cameras under the brand Film Folk. In terms of supporting the local music scene, Satchmi carries CDs of local artists and sometimes, they even hold in-store gigs.
After expanding their collection to carry film cameras and specialty items, there was a demand for food. This lead to Satchmi opening a cafe with their own coffee blend, the Satchmi Blend, alongside a menu of comfort food.
“We have an in-house cafe. This is to emphasize our vision of being a place where you don’t just buy or look around-and-run. We actually invite you to hang out,” Reena shares. It’s a place where people can get to know each other and take their time browsing around the shop.
It’s how they built a community around the love for music and vintage. “Biases aside, it has one of my favorite blends of all time: the Satchmi Blend, which, of course, goes well with a full-blown menu (do get that Reuben Sandwich).”
You can purchase their Satchmi Blend coffee beans to take home.
SATCHMI’S VINYL DAY
Vinyl Day is Satchmi’s annual trademarked event. It began in 2013, and every year since then, it’s a day where music lovers can enjoy live performances, purchase local products, and get discounted vinyl records.
VINYL RECORDS FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO GET INTO RECORD COLLECTING
I asked Reena to come up with a list of 5 vinyl records you can start with if you’re new to vinyl collecting. Here are her picks:
1. The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
The sounds that Brian Wilson perfected in this record complement so well with the charming little noises that the vinyl and turntable make.
2. Kanye West – Late Registration
Some people say that more contemporary records don’t sound as good the ones before. Kanye and his immaculate production beg to disagree. If you like The College Dropout more than LR, that works, too.
3. Leon Bridges – Coming Home
This album (especially played on a turntable) will give you that feeling that you get so rarely with music these days (considering it IS music these days). Quite soulful.
4. Volcano Choir – Repave
The record that will keep you staring at the ceiling/emptiness, and be alright with it.
5. Michael Jackson – Off The Wall
I’d have said Thriller, but Off the Wall has “Rock With You” and it immortalizes the sound of a young Michael Jackson. With less the drama and controversies, it’s a fun record to return to especially on vinyl.
When in doubt, check our Spindle Jam series on satchmi.com/blog.
There is much to be explored in the Philippine music scene. Beyond the artists, concerts, and songs, there are music-related places that you should check out. If you’re in Mandaluyong or Quezon City, be sure to visit Satchmi.
You can find Satchmi on the fourth floor of SM Megamall’s Mega Fashion Hall or second floor of UP Town Center Phase 2’s Cinema Building.
FOLLOW SATCHMI ONLINE
If you need help navigating the Philippine indie music scene, grab a copy of the Beginner’s Guide to the Philippine Indie Music Scene e-book. It lists down the bands you should know, ways to find gigs, as well as tips for when you explore the indie music scene.