Local record store Hear Records, along with its sister outlet Hear Records At Chinatown, have always been more about the people than the music.
Step into their Chinatown abode and you'll find a wall adorned with framed "sleeveface" portraits, many of whom feature close friends and customers, and their Burlington headquarters is run by the store's founder, Nick Tan, who spends hours talking to customers about music.
They've taken their dedication to communal spirit one step further with Larger Than Life, a new photo journal depicting the local collectors that help make up the growing vinyl community in Singapore.
A new campaign in collaboration with electronics giant Canon, Larger Than Life offers a peek into the collections of different vinyl collectors — from the middle-aged fanatics to the young upstarts, captured by photographer Tan Shung Sin, a collector himself and former member of indie rock band The Great Spy Experiment.
The campaign was fittingly launched on Record Store Day, commemorated on April 22nd, and the series also goes beyond the rare pressings and weird bootlegs, examining the stories behind certain collections.
Nick Tan explains the decision behind partnering with Canon for Larger Than Life:
MUSIC. I LOVE MUSIC. MUSIC IS THE SOUNDTRACK TO MY LIFE. NO MUSIC NO LIFE
But what exactly does MUSIC means to you, has MUSIC impacted your life in one way or another? Or is it just a tool for entertainment?
Vinyl is a great music medium but is nothing without the content on it (MUSIC). At times, vinyl collectors have gotten lost with their obsessions, forgetting the root of their love - Music. HEAR x CANON would like to take the chance of the LARGER THAN LIFE campaign to use photos/stories of collectors (not chosen by the size or rarity of their collections but rather their passion for music) to inspire readers on how MUSIC can shape life, how we can channel the thing we love (MUSIC) to something more positive than mere listening pleasure.
A CANON X HEAR collaboration sounds like the most odd ball combination, but then again hasn't music & photography worked in the most similar way to arouse memories, emotion & feelings? In a modern context, where most people access music through streaming and smartphones, I presume people who still buy physical music and shoot with conventional cameras want more out of the thing they love — and more out of life — because they are LARGER THAN LIFE.
You can read the first two entries over at the project's Facebook page, or in full, hi-res detail on Medium.