Matt Talley in his studio.

From The Ground Up: Matt Talley

Matt Talley aka @Talleyismajor is the owner of Cool Kids Vinyl.record shop and an all around multifaceted creative making an impact in all things music, food, and coffee here in DC and beyond. Matt's dedication to music translates in his space where he creates a dynamic experience that reminds you of your favorite past times. Cool Kids Vinyl is a place where likeminded individuals come together to share their love for music, explore new genres, and share experiences. From spray paint cans and old TVs to Vibe magazines and cassette tapes, the decor at Cool Kids Vinyls consists of nostalgic elements that you forgot you loved.

We had the pleasure of dropping in on him at Cool Kids Vinyl where we discussed all the (cool) things happening at the shop, what inspires him, how nature influences his work and his latest venture + passion “Vibrant Thang” coffee which is available both online and at the shop. Read below to learn more about Matt and add Cool Kids Vinyl as one of your must go locations if you live or visit DC! 


 1. Who are you + what do you do?

My name is Matt Talley and I own & operate a record shop here in D.C., among other things.


2. Tell us about your brand(s) and the messaging behind it.

Cool Kids Vinyl is a record shop & book store dedicated to highlighting black culture & media. It is a unique insight into our peoples' triumphs, trials and shows the landscape of our bright future connecting our rich past with the ever-changing present.


3. Which creation of yours are you most proud of?

As of recent, we developed our first light roast coffee entitled Vibrant Thang. It's made by a black-owned roaster in Houston, TX, Three Keys Coffee. To plan things out and see them through was very fulfilling, and to see folks' response toward it, I would say I'm most proud of that.


4. How does nature influence your work?

As of late, nature places a huge part in what I do. During the times that we're in now, I've spent so much time in the house. So now, to be outside, sitting in the grass, or a park, or just to have the sun hit my skin while working on anything has been gratifying for me. We honestly take simple things like being outside in nature for granted.


5. What’s your favorite plant?

My favorite plant I would say is the Monstera. It's very easy-going and pest-free. We have one sitting in the record shop and every chance I get, I sit next to it.


6. What do your plants mean to you?

I've never had the greenest thumb, so now having a handful of plants for some time now means the world to me. I've been very proud of myself for keeping them alive, fresh, and growing.


7. What have your plants taught you?

Plants have taught me a few things I've applied in other sectors of my life. Patience. Due diligence in knowing which plant needs what. Scheduling for watering & spraying. It started rough, but I'm very proud of my plants and the treatment I have for them.


8. What inspires you?

Other people and their plight. I'm much more interested in others' beliefs, stories, and backgrounds than my own. Everyone has a story to tell but I think we underestimate the impact of the other "characters" in those stories and how they shape and mold who you can become.


 9. What activities or practices do you engage in to help you disconnect + decompress?

I'm a big music lover, so I DJ often & collect records. Whether it's public places, or just in the house making mixes for myself. It's all self-expression for me. Also, when the weather permits, I play basketball outside, and now I'm starting to get into yoga. So if anyone has suggestions for a dope, COVID-friendly yoga studio, I'm all ears!


10. How do you practice keeping your mental health intact?

I'm a big break person. I take a lot of breaks, whether it's day-to-day or on certain projects taking a break for creative purposes. I think phrases like "no days off", or "the grind" is a bit outdated because now folks are more in-tuned and conscious of their mental health.


11. What does wellness mean to you?

I associate wellness with good health, so being healthy, vibrant, and present in the moment, which as of late has meant the world to me.


12. What would make the world a better place?

More water, less pollution, and a new Kendrick Lamar album.


13. What can we expect from you this year?

Being more present, not looking back or too far ahead. I think I'm the best person I can be when I'm present in the moments we have together. As well as more dope things work-wise.


To stay connected + updated with Matt, be sure to follow him on Instagram @Talleyismajor. You can also stay up to date with new releases from Cool Kids Vinyl here