ReturnAn Interview with Rockers, Hannover
Hannover is home to one of the more unusual MTN Dealers: Rockers Records. Between racks of reggae, hip-hop, punk and metal vinyl, you can find a wide selection of Montana Colors products.
MTN News caught up with shop founder Christoph Stadtmüller to talk about his decades combining art supplies and records in Hannover.
When did your relationship with MTN begin?
Probably the same year Montana Colors started working here in Hannover. We started really small. I thought selling Montana Colors would be a nice match, as we sold a lot of hip-hop stuff. There was only Hardcore back then and we started off with 15, 20 colors maybe. One box of each. And it grew from there.
When did Rockers first open?
In 1993. I started round the corner in a very small shop here in Linden. It’s starting to get very hip but when I started it was a cheap, multicultural and student area.
The shop’s quite unusual. Most of the shops we feature are purely graffiti or art supply shops, but you combine aerosol paint with records. How do they combine? Is it hard to manage the two?
Not really. A lot of our graffiti customers are interested in music as well, and many of them can afford two hobbies.
We’re visiting Hannover for the occasion of Hola Utopia! And Urban Nature, two festivals that celebrate new muralism and graffiti art in Hannover. Have you noticed an increase of visitor to the shop and the city in the last few days?
There have been some, but the events haven’t fully integrated into the more conservative Hannover art scene, which may be a way to get more publicity.
Could you see a musical aspects to the festivals in the future?
I could imagine that very well. There are venues that have large walls nearby and rooms that could be integrated. You could organize painting in the day and partying in the evening.
What’s the club scene like in the city?
It’s not a massive city, there’s about half a million people who live here. But a lot of people here know each other, and have known each other for a long time, so you get unusual connections made, like graffiti and music in my case.
I noticed you had an aerosol mural in the back of the shop.
Yeah, it was a commissioned piece by Olf Lupin. They chose some figures from different types of youth culture and painted them on the back wall of the shop. I still love it!
Records and paint are freely available on the internet these days. Why do you think people keep coming to small, independent stores like Rockers Records?
We do mail order for records and cans too. We started in 1996 with the mail order, it was pretty early. I think in the past few years, people have started to appreciate going to stores again. We are all now used to being able to get any record you want, depending on your budget and how long you are willing to wait. But going into stores, meeting people, digging through the crates and finding stuff is getting more important. It’s a more direct way to satisfy your urge. You can go home and play the record straight away.
How about selling paint? Why would people choose a local shop over a website?
A lot of people are very impulsive, they make their decision to go painting in a moment, it’s like: “Ok, I’ll meet some friends, have a beer and we’ll go painting.” They don’t want to plan too far ahead. I think graffiti writers are quite spontaneous.
You have a wide variety of Montana Colors products like 94, Hardcore, Mad Maxxx, markers and some MTN Systems, so you’re an essential visit for graff heads visiting Hannover. Are there any sections of the records that writers might be especially interested in?
It is still the classic connections with hip-hop and the more dance oriented records. But as people get older, we have painters for every type of music, and music for every type of painter. Artists into Krautrock stuff, metal, punk and hardcore stuff. We also cater for activists from the political left who paint stencils, they’ll traditionally come from a more punk/crust punk background. We have customers into reggae and rock too. Probably hip-hop and punk are the biggest musical styles connected to graffiti, but it’s not that clear cut.
Are there any moments that stick out in your memory from your time selling Montana Colors?
One funny thing happened to me that has probably happened to anyone that sells paint. One day I was setting up a display rack, and loading all the cans onto the racks. But I hadn’t secured it properly to the wall and the whole thing came down on me. One of the cans was actually punctured so I had to hold up the entire display with one hand whilst trying to catch the other one as it sprayed paint all over the shop. I remember it was blue paint and I ended up looking a bit like a Smurf. It’s funny now but I wasn’t laughing that day!
Check out the selection of records and graffiti supplies on Rockers’ website, or be sure to pay them a visit next time you’re in Hannover.
ShareSeptember 14, 2021