From left to right: Ryan Wilson (left) and Carson Lere (right) are the founders of Mr. Goodboy.
Meet Ryan Wilson and Carson Lere, who’ve invented a patented, all-in-one mobile record
player, sound system and vintage vinyl shop. To see one in action, stop by our L.A. store.
One afternoon in 2016, Carson Lere, a Los Angeles-based musician, was getting a haircut and watching Blade Runner on the barber shop’s TV. His mind started thinking about what record shopping and listening to music might be like in a dystopian future. Lere had played bass guitar for Grammy Award-winner Macy Gray and worked as a fabricator for artists, including Jeff Koons. While hanging out at a music festival called Echo Park Rising, he shared his idea for a pushcart-meets-sound system with Ryan Wilson, an avid vintage vinyl collector.
The duo started experimenting with how to combine the sense of discovery one feels walking into a vintage record store with the block party vibe of a sound system, and Mr. Goodboy was born. To help you get your summer going, they’ve created two playlists: Cocktail Magic Time and BBQ Sounds.
TS: What turned Mr. Goodboy into a real business?
Carson: I wasn’t a record head. I was a musician in a series of bad local bands, and I spent so much time at these shows waiting to perform and being bored. Then I met Ryan, who was this Gandalf of record collecting (not in age, but in wisdom). And he had a lot of ideas — these carts need a sound system inside! — that turned Mr. Goodboy from a Bar Night Idea to a Business Idea.
How many Mr. Goodboy carts are there?
Carson: We’ve made about twenty. We’ve designed them for The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs and The Monsoon Market in Phoenix, Arizona. Each cart is unique, a prototype, and handmade in Glendale and Lincoln Heights. The Todd Snyder cart is inspired by the architecture of Richard Neutra.
What’s it like sourcing and replenishing vintage vinyl for the carts?
Ryan: I’ve been collecting records since the 90s. First out of necessity…back then a CD was $15 and you could pick up a copy of Fleetwood Mac's Rumor's for 50 cents. Now it sells for $50. So, over the years I’ve developed this Spidey sense and a network of contacts to find vintage vinyl.
“A copy of Fleetwood Mac's Rumors [used to sell] for 50 cents.
Now it sells for $50.” — Ryan
What’s trending now?
Ryan: Definitely the Japanese stuff. In L.A., people can’t get enough of City Pop — you know, these Japanese bands from the 70s and the 80s. People’s tastes have gotten a lot more eclectic.
Do you have a personal “grail” record?
Ryan: The most money I ever spent on a record was for Eden’s Island. Eden Ahbez recorded it in 1960. He wrote “Nature Boy,” which was a huge hit for Nat King Cole, and somewhat autobiographical because Eden was this bohemian who lived in the bushes under the Hollywood sign. The album mixes beat poetry with exotic arrangements.
Carson: Anything by Wayne Shorter, who just passed away. And, as someone who has played bass in jazz bands, probably a Jaco Pastorius record.
How do you approach the record assortment for the cart?
Ryan: A mix of adventurous and timeless. So Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood, some 1970s funk, an African record, an Italian disco artist, some salsa...
So where do you go from here?
Carson: There’s a world of possibilities. A number of people have been asking us to build them carts for home use. But the communal-experiential aspect of Mr. Goodboy is important to us. We want these to be public art.
Listen to Mr. Goodboy's summer playlists
Interviewed by John Brodie