R.I.P. City - Interview
Erica and I have always been fans of Soft Kill. When we heard about the R.I.P. City shop, we were excited to find out more. Tobias, Nicole, and Conrad were nice enough to tell us about the shop and their plans for the future.
Can you tell us who each of you are and a little bit about yourself in general?
Tobias: I grew up in a unique household when it came to music. My uncle and dad both toured with bands as crew members and still do to this day. I was exposed to a lot but it was my uncle’s influence of bands like GBH, Discharge, Killing Joke, the Misfits, etc that got me going to shows on my own around 12/13 and I never really looked back. I have played in a lot of bands but currently am part of The Criminal World, Funeral Door and Soft Kill.
Nicole: When I got clean I immediately dove back into music, being on drugs for a decade of my young life had really separated me from who I was and what I cared about. I literally went two years without hearing any music outside of stores and television. It was one of the more devastating aspects of my addiction. Getting clean gave me all of that back. I am the owner of Cercle Social Records and am in Funeral Door, The Criminal World and Soft Kill.
Conrad: I moved to New York in 2001 and joined and started bands and short lived tape labels and put out demo cd-rs with hand drawn covers. I have been in Portland since 2010. Every few years I work on a project called Warm Hands and I am also in The Criminal World and Soft Kill.
How did the idea for R.I.P. City come about?
Tobias: Since Nicole and I came together we always dreamt about having a store. Once Soft Kill started selling enough stuff on a weekly basis that the joke of having a retail location for the band seemed like a viable opportunity, we started imagining what all that could incorporate for SK and outside of the band.
Nicole: I had a retail background and worked in high end boutiques. When I started running a record label in San Francisco I brought that skill set and mentality with me. I had to leave that situation because it was super toxic. But I have always approached everything I do with retail in mind. I love the “art gallery” aspect of certain stores, the calmness of the mall. We have always been pushing the envelope of Soft Kill as a brand. Currently we are running three different online stores. We thought how cool it would be to bring all of that online presence into a physical space. We had been driving by this spot for over a year saying “that’s the spot”. Finally we called and the rest is history.
Conrad: We have talked about doing a merch pop-up many times and this feels like what we were maybe really talking about all along. Nicole and I both have spent some time working in retail so it’s exciting to get to dig into this project together.
What are you going to carry in the shop?
Nicole: We will be carrying a crazy selection of exclusive Soft Kill merch and records, as well as all the label titles. We will also have records, clothing, books and gifts. We will be carrying guitar effects including the Soft Kill pedal, there will be an amp and guitar in store to try pedals out. We want it to feel like a destination.
Where do you see R.I.P. City in the future?
Tobias: doing a shop label in addition to Nicole’s Cercle Social imprint that focuses solely on new output and reissues from Oregon bands.
Nicole: I have so many, I think my goal is mainly to get to work side by side with my best friends in a shop that is a manifestation of all our internal dreams and aspirations. With “Dead Kids, R.I.P. City” we built an imaginary world and I think we thought why not bring that world to life?
Conrad: I feel like just having a physical store was a goal or idea that seemed so abstract or out of reach. Now we’re just doing it. I hope we can just continue to expand the little universe of what R.I.P. city is.
What has been the most unexpected part about getting everything up and running so far?
Tobias: I can probably speak for everyone by saying the fact that it’s actually happening haha. As I’m sure Nicole mentioned, there was one building we had in mind and when it became available it only took one phone call and one face to face meeting with the landlord and here we are.
Are there any record stores that you really love and draw some inspiration from?
Tobias: We aren’t aiming to really function as a traditional record store, as our current aim is to just carry specific releases and labels that inspire us or we feel aren’t readily available locally.
Nicole: Although we will be selling records, I have no interest in running a record store, Portland has some amazing record stores already. We are aiming to be something else. If you follow what we do closely I think most people understand that what we are presenting is something unique, a space curated by us, a place you can get further immersed in our world and our curatorial spirit.
Conrad: There are, but our inspiration for the store also comes from so many other places.
Do you plan to sell online with R.I.P. City?
Tobias: as of right now I think we’ve decided against that route. I’m open minded to seeing how things change and what feels like the right evolution for this project as we go though.
It seems like you are all always pretty busy, if you had nothing scheduled for the entire day, what would you do with your time?
Nicole: That has never once happened so I have no idea. I think our obsession with work definitely springs from the same place our obsession with drugs used to. I always imagine that it is like sharks who can’t stop swimming or they die. But our son provides us with a lot of reasons to stop and smell the roses. We would probably take him down to my parents’ farm in the Valley so he could feed the chickens and walk around in the woods.
What are your favorite records right now?
Tobias: Jesu - “Terminus”, Ky Voss - “Coping Mechanisms”, Subterranean Lovers debut, the final Mac Miller record and Kamaiyah / Capolow’s “Oakland Nights”.
Nicole: Tobias is always stealing my year end lists, this is like an ongoing problem so I will just mention what is not on his list because everything he mentioned is fire. That Mac Miller record is my AOTY. But I’d also like to mention Salem “Fires In Heaven”, Spike Hellis “Crisis Talk”, Oneohtrix Point Never “Magic Oneohtrix Point Never”, Floating Room “Tired and True.”
Conrad: “Circles” is my AOTY of the year without a doubt as well. HTRK “Over The Rainbow”, Felt “Poem of the River”, Evan’s Pyramid, The Pastels “Truckload of Trouble” and Spectrum & Silver Apples “A Lake of Teardrops”
When can we expect the shop to be open?
Nicole: Hahaha I mean we are building out the space right now, hoping to be open the week of Christmas. I want it to be perfect, so we are working on lighting and fixtures, getting great products into the shop. We are also being cognizant of COVID restrictions and guidelines. You can follow us on social media at @restinpeacecity to get more up to date info.
5916 N. Greeley Ave
5916 N. Greeley Ave
Directions: CLICK HERE
We'd like to thank Tobias, Nicole, and Conrad so much for taking the time to talk with us about R.I.P. City. We can't wait to get out to Portland and check it out as soon as we can!