Q&A: Andee Connors, Co-Owner of Aquarius Records - 2010
By Jennifer Maerz
Photograph by Jamie Soja
What do you think of as a very San Francisco band/artist?
Old days: Screamers, Residents, Flipper, Metallica. Now: Hammers of Misfortune, Oxbow, Thee Oh Sees.
When you're not at Aquarius, what's your favorite place to buy music?
I love Amoeba. Seems weird that I could spend all week working in a record store, only to head to another record store on my day off. But I do, all the time. As do many of my co-workers.
What's something happening in the local music scene that you're particularly excited about?
We have such a fertile scene, constantly birthing new, fucked-up, far-out bands — groups like Prizehog, Ovens, Pigs, Space Vacation, Borneo, the Alps, Burmese, Kowloon Walled City, Amocoma, Mastery, Moon Duo ...
Who is the most popular artist people purchase at the store?
We definitely cater to music lovers with voracious appetites, and we send out a new arrivals list every two weeks, so some new favorite will pop up every time. But more recent big sellers include Black Bug, True Widow, Leyland Kirby, No Balls, Soror Dolorosa, Teenage Filmstars, Necro Deathmort, Acid Eater, Harvey Milk, Hadewych, Strapping Fieldhands, Forest Swords, and Omar Khorshid.
What are some specific San Francisco attributes you'll acquire if you live here long enough?
You have trouble imagining how anyone chooses to live anywhere else, mixed with a little frustration at how difficult it can be to survive here.
What's the most interesting thing about the Mission these days?
I suppose "interesting" doesn't necessarily mean "good." It's weird to see it continue to gentrify. When I first moved here [in 1990], the Mission was scary. I had friends who wouldn't visit me. They were afraid of getting mugged, or crossing paths with a gang. But it's the one place we could all afford to live, and food was cheap, and there were tons of artists and musicians. It was a cool little community, which definitely still exists, but to a lesser degree. Now it's a weird sort of fancy-pants destination. But the punks and the various folks who have called the Mission home for decades are still holding out, so there's this cool cross-section of the old Mission and the new Mission. There are the weirdo record stores and killer burrito places and DIY shops, right alongside the fancy clothing stores and expensive yuppie bars and chichi eateries.
What's something that will forever be an element of the San Francisco music scene?
The constant birth and evolution of amazing bands. When I first moved here, it was like weirdo-underground- ock nirvana, and ever since, there has never been a shortage of cool, weird bands making sounds and music that you'd be hard-pressed to hear anywhere else. That is remarkable, considering how inhospitable this city can be to poor punk rockers and broke musicians.
What's your favorite place to see live music?
My favorite place right now is on the Bus, a DIY mobile show space that parks at various out-of-the-way spots in S.F. and Oakland, and crams people onto a transformed city bus to see bands play. I also dig the Hemlock. But my all-time favorite, back in the day, was the Chameleon.