Kat and Matt Peach aren’t here “to get rich,” Kat said behind the counter of their Catonsville vinyl shop.
“We’re here to help connect good people to good music. Continue a conversation about music, and musicians.”
Hare’s Breath Records, an eclectic record shop run by the Peaches, moved from its previous location on South Broadway Street in upper Fells Point to a cozy space, previously vacant on Frederick Road, just a short walk from where the Peaches live in Paradise.
Bins of 45s pressed with the sounds of funk, soul, jazz, classic rock, industrial and techno musicians line the perimeter, each graded by the Peaches and brought to Catonsville from their frequent treks record-hunting around the U.S., or sold to them by other collectors and regulars who know what they’re looking for.
“Record stores are a bit like barbershops,” Matt said. “People just come and hang about. Records stores tend to attract more characters, and we learn something from people as well.”
The Baltimore area doesn’t want for record shops, but much of what they sell is sourced from the same places, the Peaches say.
“All record stores tend to have a very different vibe,” but as far as selection goes, “we see the same stuff a lot of the time,” Matt Peach said.
In Hare’s Breath, you can expect to smell wafting incense at any given time, while Matt spins a record fitting whatever whimsy the two are feeling in that moment.
“We have a little ritual. We come in, we tend to put on something pretty chill, light some incense, shake dreams from our hair,” Matt said.
The pair have always been musically inclined, they say. Kat began playing classical piano at age 5, and Matt, growing up in the early 1980s just outside Birmingham, England, gravitated to the record store next door to the bookies where his father would bet on horses.
The two also collect records themselves — around 2,000 by Matt’s estimate — since opening doors at their previous location in late 2018. Their tastes are wide and particular, ranging from 1970s Turkish funk to early New Age.
“We like to source strange things,” Matt said, like movie soundtracks from “Flash Gordon” and “Conan the Barbarian,” Jane Fonda’s workout album, and rare albums they say are generally hard to sell, but a great find for other record collectors.
“You’ve got to have both, stuff people know, but you’ve got to be able to throw in weird things,” Matt said. “You discover new music sometimes by taking a gamble.”
“We could sell a copy of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumors,” like, every day; there’s more things to listen to,” Kat Peach said.
The Peaches run a record label by the same name, and have produced their own classical, experimental and traditional folk albums in the past, although the label has taken a back seat while they get settled in their new location.
“We love music, and we love the stories behind the music,” Kat said. Their project, The Stone Tapes, is evidence of that, combining myth and music into haunting concept albums through sounds derived from an old box of reel tapes recorded at historic sites throughout the British Isles, fed into a modular synth —or so the story goes.
The two have started recording music again — reggae, this time — and are fleshing out ideas for music installations in their shop; a synth meet-up, for instance, paired with psychedelic video projection.
In Paradise, where Kat has lived for the past 11 years, “We’ve gotten so many new businesses in, old businesses have new owners now. We sort of have some exciting possibilities” for community engagement, she said.
“I always have in my head that scene in “Hairspray” with Motormouth records, all the kids dancing in the aisles,” Kat Peach said. “That’s like, career goals.”