Most people know him as one of the co-creators of the Beirut Groove Collective, a group of music lovers on a mission to bring quality music and live shows back to Beirut. Ernesto Chahoud (AKA DJ Spindle) has become a staple of the city’s underground music scene, and with a personal collection of over 10,000 vinyl records, he is perhaps the unofficial guru of vinyl in Lebanon. Now DJ Spindle is taking his passion a step further by carving out a small space in Beirut's cultural landscape entirely dedicated to just that: records.



What was once his grandfather's shoe factory on the busy street of Maraach in Bourj Hammoud is now a “DJ crate-digging space” that hosts a wide variety of selections from his collection, as well as some handmade accessories including leather bags. It's not so much the profit Ernesto is after, but bringing together like-minded people over their shared love of all things authentically audio. “My friends, they come in, they hang out, we listen, we exchange,” he told Beirut.com. He describes it as more of an alternative-type of hangout for music lovers.

The space could also be seen as an extension of Ernesto’s own house, which he calls “a warehouse of records.” But what you get in Ernesto's shop is a labor of love. He brought in some furniture and a gorgeous floral vintage chandelier which commands attention at the center of the ceiling. You won’t find two identical floor tiles at the shop. Every single one is a tile sample that differs in both color and texture, and all were installed by Ernesto himself. “It took me eight months to do this because I did everything by hand,” he told Beirut.com.



Chahoud says that vinyl records are making a remarkable comeback among young music lovers, both locally and internationally. And while “some places are [taking] advantage of the current vinyl boom and selling records at extremely high prices,” Ernesto’s shop sticks out as "something totally different,” he said. "This is not a commercial place.”

The DJ also makes a clear distinction between genuine music lovers and “hipsters” who are after expensive vinyl records just to show off in front of their friends. He says he despises the use of electronic devices such as USBs and MP3s in the DJ industry and is one of the very few DJs in Beirut (if not the only DJ) who hold events on a regular basis dedicated strictly to vinyl.

He thinks that the "plastics" of the electronic age are flattening the whole culture of music to a point where most DJs don’t have any idea about the music they’re playing. And it's because of Ernesto's strong convictions about the authenticity of vinyl that Beirut gets to hear from DJs who know how to spin records. Chahoud was instrumental in bringing in British hip hop DJ and producer DJ Format who will play a strictly vinyl show at Yukunkun on May 31.

Ernesto is currently working on a belly dance-disco compilation in collaboration with the Beirut Groove Collective. His projects also include hosting an upcoming underground radio show on Radio Beirut and of course the usual “massive parties for the summer,” hosted by the BGC.

Ernesto’s new music space is an open invitation for music lovers to “just hang out and listen to good records.” The shop is open to visitors but not fully launched yet, hence the absence of a name. “I don’t know, what should I name it?" he laughs.

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