Strange Maine is like a music lover’s haven, an organized hoarder’s garage, and a first-class museum of pop culture. Open for eight and a half years, it’s become a Portland landmark: situated in the nucleus of downtown and frequented by tourists and devoted regulars. “It’s a record store with books, movies and other things- but not like other stores. We have lots of shows: music, noise, sound collage, psychedelia. Sporadically,” says owner Brendan Evans of his shop. It’s not surprisingly that Brendan created a store centered on eclectic and diverse music, he just released his first solo album yesterday, which he describes as “bedroom foretrack folk but with quasi-synch content. Sex drugs and death type of stuff.” Music might be the core of the store’s inventory, but somehow it seems like Brendan has created a unique space for everyone’s inner weirdo, artist, rocker and freak. We’ve all got it in us.
WHY DID YOU OPEN THE STORE?
I feel like everybody imagines opening up a store when they are a little kid, like playing “store” with friends. I always liked going into stores that are an experience, even as a kid, going into stores in San Francisco or New York City. The ones that are almost like a museum. Time went on and I had a hard time finding jobs, I felt like why not make my own store, my own job, my own universe. It was one of four or five pivotal decisions in my life. It’s everything-I sit here all day and talk to people and it’s great.
WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU?
Keeping myself entertained, while connecting to people and the world. Feeling things and being a part of other people’s feelings.
WHAT DO YOU WANT?
Just to live in the moment without worrying about the future or dwelling in the past. Being content while still having new experiences constantly.
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT MAINE?
I love Maine, it’s my favorite place overall that I’ve been to. When I was a kid I wanted to go somewhere else. And then I got more attached to it as I got older, and I didn’t want to go somewhere else anymore. And I started appreciating it for what it is- a really special place.