Conversation with Apera Tehemara, Co-Organiser of The Other Crate Record Fair

For over a decade, Apera Tehemara has been the driving force behind The Other Crate Record Fair, a vibrant event that unites vinyl enthusiasts and celebrates the rich, tactile experience of collecting records.

Born out of a simple suggestion to create a space for like-minded music lovers, The Other Crate has grown into a beloved fixture in Auckland’s cultural landscape. With its unique blend of curated vendors, eclectic music selections, and live DJ sessions, the fair offers a haven for anyone passionate about vinyl records and music. Join us as we delve into Apera’s journey and the story behind this remarkable event.

Tell us about your journey with The Other Crate Record Fair. How did it start and when? Is there any reason you decided to call it The Other Crate Record Fair? How did you meet your co-organisers?

Twelve years ago, The Other Crate Record Fair was born from a suggestion that I curate an event for people who share my music tastes. This was quite a challenge as I was new to Auckland’s Vinyl Community after living in London for over a decade. It was a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with a community passionate about listening to and collecting vinyl records, which is a pursuit that centres on me and provides immense enjoyment.

The journey began by meeting potential buyers and sellers at Auckland’s local record stores, where we bonded over our shared love for vinyl. With the help of Jubt Avery and Dustin Lindale, the fair grew. The name, The Other Crate, signifies an alternative to the mainstream offerings at the time.

Our first fair was held at the Polish Hall in Kingsland in 2012.

Since then, we’ve moved to various venues until we found a home at Allpress Studio in 2015, thanks to an introduction to Frith and Nicola from Allpress Espresso back then, and the support of Linsey, the studio manager and the Allpress team. The aesthetics of Allpress Studio align perfectly with our standards and the quality of curated vendors and music we offer, featuring notable names like Cian from Ulo Records, Dustin from Dusty Crates NZ, and Jim from Stinky Grooves, among many others. Paired with top-notch coffee and new and seasoned DJs playing vinyl selections, we’ve created a unique and inviting atmosphere. Our goal is to prioritise quality over quantity and ensure a safe space for everyone.

Any challenges and opportunities in organising the fair or within the record industry that you'd like to share?

During the breaks between COVID lockdowns, we saw peak attendance. Each fair's success depends on effective promotion and the appetite of vinyl record enthusiasts. Organizing such an event comes with logistical challenges, but achieving the best possible outcome—like great coffee and a diverse audience discovering and enjoying music in a format created 80 years ago—is incredibly rewarding.

What do vinyl records mean to you? How did you get into it?

Collecting vinyl records connects music enthusiasts to the art and history of music. As a child, I was captivated by the cover art of progressive rock albums, which sparked my interest in vinyl. In my early teens, I began collecting vinyl, starting with singles and gradually expanding to albums as my knowledge and taste grew.

There is an engaging feeling that comes with being absorbed by the music you listen to. While one doesn't necessarily need a physical representation of music to relate to it, it certainly enhances the experience. Crate digging introduced me to like-minded individuals who shared their knowledge of various genres, enriching my understanding and appreciation.

Material culture, represented by physical objects and societal architecture, plays a significant role in collecting. For me, collecting vinyl is both satisfying and thrilling.

What's your coffee ritual? Any record you specifically like to play for your AM/PM coffee routine?

My morning coffee ritual is essential. I fire up my 90s Gaggia espresso machine, and after two flat whites, I feel human again. In my opinion, any jazz record, whether modern or classic, makes the perfect companion to a caffeine fix.

Upcoming Event

In celebrating NZ Music Month, the annual The Other Crate Record Fair returns to Allpress Studio on Saturday, 25th May. Doors open at 9 am and run until 1 pm. Guest DJs all morning and we’ll have the coffee brewing to fuel you.