Two young entrepreneurs have opened a shop dedicated to spearheading a cassette revival movement in Manchester.
Mars Tapes in Affleck’s Palace stocks a selection of newly released limited edition cassettes from international independent labels as well as a catalogue of second-hand favourites.
It also has a medley of old-school music gear on sale such as boomboxes and Walkmans, and offers services like cassette player cleaning.
Mars Tapes was conceived by Borja Regueira and Moira Lorenzo at Squeeze, a gig run by the Manchester indie label Sour Grapes, which Borja co-founded.
They realised that people wanted to buy analogue music and support artists, but didn’t fancy taking home bulky vinyl records after a night out.
Borja said: “I think cassette is perfect if you want to support bands.
“It’s cheap: you can buy a tape at a gig and put it in your pocket without any hassle.
“It also has an analogue sound – the sound is quite dirty – in a good way.”
Mars Tapes has already attracted some attention from Northern Quarter shoppers on its first day of trading.
Borja said: “Some people think it’s a funny idea, but others are getting really into it and finding things that they had as a kid.
“We’ve even had some DJs coming in to find samples, and a guy who’s really into analogue stuff who was impressed by the idea and some of the tapes that we have.”
Originally from Galicia in Northern Spain, Borja moved to the UK in 2014 to follow his dream of working in the music business.
He started off building his own speakers out of shoeboxes at the age of 12 and using them to make music with friends.
Later on he worked at a radio station in his home town of Santiago whilst DJing at the weekends, before moving to Manchester where he studied music production at Spirit Studios.
Borja co-founded record label Sour Grapes with Manchester musicians Alex Tadros and Giorgio Carbone in 2017, and together they have fostered a community of like-minded artists.
Sour Grapes’ weekly Squeeze events at Big Hands bar showcase psychedelic and garage bands from all around the world, and they pride themselves on the fact that all their performers are treated fairly and paid well for their efforts.