An Interview with Michael Cline Owner of Vinyl Envy

“We are building a music community where people trust each other.”-Michael Cline

When Michael Cline pictured his career, running an all-ages music venue was not exactly what he had in mind. Yet, it could not have turned out any better. “I’ve been a record junkie since I was 13, and I was booking bands in high school.” Running Vinyl Envy, a record store and all-ages music venue in Victoria, is what Michael was meant to do.

After working in the restaurant industry for 20 years and running a team of more than 20 people, Michael realized he was no longer enjoying himself. He wanted to have more fun in life, and so he opened Vinyl Envy to be surrounded by music. What started out as a record store has also become one of the city’s most popular music venues. “I’m having a crazy amount of fun! We do 75-100 shows a year and the store is open seven days a week.”

In the past, most all-ages venues haven’t been able to survive in Victoria. Yet, there was a gap that needed to be filled. “It’s like I’ve come full circle – I have 15-year-olds coming up to me now and thanking me for the opportunity to see a show. That was me at their age! I couldn’t get into the bars to see bands play – so for them to havethis place, that’s as good as it gets.”

Vinyl Envy attracts a wide array of people, but the one thing everyone has in common is a shared love of music. “Our shows are special – local musicians fill the room to support each other. There’s no ego, just a chill environment where people trust each other and can play music together.”

“Our shows are special – local musicians fill the room to support each other. There’s no ego, just a chill environment where people trust each other and can play music together.”

Vinyl Envy has become so much more than a record store or a music venue – it’s a place where people can be themselves. “This whole concept is best described as a soulful experience. Guys who gave up their record collections 30 years ago, are getting back into collecting records, and young kids with turn tables are just getting into it.” This is a place for everyone.

Michael’s vision is to be as supportive of musicians and music fans as possible, and to deepen the roots of Vinyl Envy along the way. He wants to continue to build up the community, and the best way to do that is by creating a trusting environment. “We give musicians a comfortable place to play. It’s a safe house for them, and I think the no- alcohol aspect is a big part. It changes the vibe – it’s like a house party.”

Vinyl Envy was able to get off the ground thanks to the support from organizations like Creative BC. “They supported me right from the minute I asked. They helped give us status as a venue, not to mention functional washrooms!”

Victoria is a city that draws an astounding calibre of musicianship, and Vinyl Envy is more than happy to host music that truly brings people together.