An opportunity for the music community to come together and interact – Nicola Mazzetti represents an independent record store in the heart of Milan
On 28 January 1754 Horace Walpole wrote a letter to his friend, Horace Mann, narrating the discovery of a lost painting of Bianca Cappello by Giorgio Vasari. He referenced the fairy tale of The Three Princes of Serendip. Since the princes were always making discoveries, by accident and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of, Walpole coined the term serendipity to allude to an unplanned discovery. «‘Serendipity’, yet it was perhaps too cliche. I therefore replaced it with ‘Serendeepity,’ the term ‘deep’ underlines the depth of research that clients can undertake during a visit to the shop. People come to me in search of a pair of vintage sunglasses and go home with a new passion for techno music, and one or two vinyl records in their bag. I felt that the term best visualised the physical depth of the shop: from the ground floor, which is entirely dedicated to music, one descends into the basement to discover a place with vintage 1980’s clothing and accessories». When opening Serendeepity, Nicola Mazzetti was twenty-three years old. Born in Gallarate, he had moved to Milan at the age of eighteen to pursue a career as a deejay. Deeply passionate about electronic music tout court, he started playing at club Plastic – a notable piece of Milan’s nightlife history – where he worked as a resident deejay for eight years. He then toured across clubs in Europe, Brazil and Japan, experimenting with techno, house and visco amongst other electronic music genres. In 2006, he started working in a major record shop in Corso di Porta Ticinese, where, as Mazzetti affirms, he learnt a ‘trade for a rainy day’. When the shop closed three years later, Mazzetti took over.
«The year 2009 was a harsh one for record shops. It was also one of the worst years in history for vinyl records sales. I was convinced that there would have been a comeback at some point. The market for vinyl records remained niche until the mid-2010s, when they returned to be increasingly popular».When asked about the possible reasons of this shift, he replies:«With time, digital music came to bore people, who were longing for something physical. A vinyl record is a tangible object, which can be handled and can give you an aesthetic pleasure. Vinyl records allow listeners to escape the chaos and overload of digital music, and encourage them to listen to an album in full. They support the original concept of album as a coherent union of songs. Record labels detected the vinyl’s economic potential and started making classic albums available in the vinyl format. To give you an example, today you can easily get a reissue of The Beatle’s White Album for 30 euros instead of buying an original copy from 1968 for much more; and you still have a good quality object in your hands. This way, you own something that will soon gain value on the market and could potentially become a collector’s item». Records, headphones, audio tools, mixers, vintage clothes and jewellery, vintage furniture and décor, books, magazines, DVDs and more. Over time, the shop started to dedicate more space, both figuratively and spatially, to music records, demonstrating its founder’s vision and taste. During the first years of activity, Mazzetti focused on his passions: techno, dance, house and club music in general, as well as jazz, soul, reggae and world music. His main clientele was specific, made of music experts, deejays, collectors and club goers. «The selection reflected, and still reflects today, my personal interests. High quality is the criterium that leads me. The contacts built during my career as a deejay turned out useful offering a complete overview of electronic music», Mazzetti continues.
«Until a few years ago, I had no record in my shop dedicated to classic Italian music: no Lucio Battisti, nor Fabrizio De Andrè or Battiato. Same as for classic rock. More and more people started requesting records by Italian songwriters. This was beneficial to the store, as it guaranteed a certain financial stability. These records are indeed popular and ensure a secure income. Everyone knows these singers and the value of their work is undisputable matter. People buy such records for themselves, and purchase them as gifts to their friends or family members – this happens rarely for electronic music or lesser popular genres. Embracing a wider variety of products could be beneficial to foster an appreciation of less conventional music. It has happened that clients coming to the shop to buy the Pink Floyds eventually purchased records of deejays they had never heard of». Three listening booths and three turntables with headphones allow customers to sample any record they please. One of Serendeepity’s goals is to guarantee a fruition of music in situ. On the occasion of the weekly events and record launches, the counter turns into a console where deejays perform. «Events are an opportunity for the music community to come together and interact». Independent labels present their new releases, including Milanese enterprises such as Hundebiss and Communion, to name a few. At times, Mazzetti invites them to the recording studio located below the shop’s basement, where he produces his own music together with Milanese label Mad on the Moon. World-famous deejay Ellen Allien included the store in Vinylism, her project in support of her select record stores across the world, and performed there three times between 2017 and 2019 – the shop was packed with people. Between September 2019 and March 2020, Serendeepity hosted Radio Rocket, an independent community radio based in Verona, allowing them to broadcast their contents twice a week from the store.
In 2019, Serendeepity launched its online shop. «Quarantine has made music necessary and crucial to people than ever before. Although our clientele could not physically come to the store, they have been extremely supportive. The e-shop turned out to be essential for the business. All objects from the store were made available for online purchase; free shipping was guaranteed to all areas of Milan». The Record Store Day is an annual event held every April to celebrate the culture of independently owned record stores. According to Mazzetti, «On this day, record labels release records in limited editions. These could be by living musicians and deejays, but also unreleased recordings of classic artists. It is a cult day for the music industry and one of the best days of the year for my business. Me and my team of three get to the store at 8 am and remain there until late evening. We offer our clients three-hundred or four-hundred records that they would not find in other major record stores. Proceeds are stratospheric».IMAGE GALLERY
Corso di Porta Ticinese, 100