Wax on: Mistake by the Lake record shop gets into the groove in Cudell

When Andrew Kirschner was a pre-teen growing up in Fairview Park, he used to sneak out of the house to see local bands like 9 Shocks Terror, Inmates, and the H 100s tear up the stage.


Now Kirschner helps set the stage for bands like those to succeed as the founder of record label Mistake by the Lake—and the forthcoming record store of the same name. In September, Kirschner announced that he would soon be opening a brick-and-mortar shop inside West of Venus vintage store at 10024 Lorain Ave., Cleveland.


“I’ve been hoarding records for years, so it seemed like the logical thing to open a brick-and-mortar,” says Kirschner with a laugh. “It’s always been my dream to have my own record shop, and when West of Venus said they had a room opening up, I knew it was time to take the plunge.”


To date, Kirschner’s efforts have been concentrated on the Mistake by the Lake label, which has shepherded releases from more than 30 musical acts over the last decade. The label’s motto is “weird jams for weird people”—specializing in noise, electronic, industrial, and ambient music—and Kirschner is proud of its role in helping elevate acts like ambient artist Forest Management and Oneohtrix Point Never (who has scored feature films like "Uncut Gems" and collaborated with Iggy Pop).


“A lot of our acts have gone on to do way bigger things than my label could accommodate, and it’s amazing and humbling that they’ve done albums with us,” says Kirschner. “I envision MBTL as a stepping stone.”


Alongside founding the label, Kirschner cut his own teeth selling and trading records on eBay in its early days, then later in the retail space as an employee of Hanson Records in Oberlin. Now he’s ready to do his own thing with Mistake by the Lake, where he’ll offer both used and new records across an array of genres (honing in on soul, experimental, and punk music). Naturally, the shop will also offer all of his label's releases still in print.


In addition, the shop will also feature a listening station where patrons can preview records before buying, and Kirschner is hoping to dedicate a small area for in-store performances.


“We’re trying to utilize and maximize the space as much as possible while still having room for all of our stock,” says Kirschner, who estimates that his inventory is in the thousands.


Kirschner says the old-school vibe of the West of Venus space feels like the perfect fit for Mistake by the Lake, which will soft-open in November. "Vintage clothing, vintage music—it all feels like a throwback," says Kirschner. “People long for a different time where they can just enjoy a full record or full album and not be staring at their phone.”

Read more articles by Jen Jones Donatelli.

As an enthusiastic CLE-vangelist, Jen Jones Donatelli enjoys diving headfirst into her work with FreshWater Cleveland. Upon moving back to Cleveland after 16 years in Los Angeles, Jen served as FreshWater's managing editor for two years (2017-2019) and continues her work with the publication as a contributing editor and host of the FreshFaces podcast. Along with her work at FreshWater, she is the editor-of-chief of Edible Cleveland and a contributing editor for Destination Cleveland. When not typing the day away at her laptop, she teaches writing and creativity classes for Creative Groove, Literary Cleveland, Cleveland State University, and more. Jen is a proud graduate of Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.
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