STACK‘s Roving Reporter stops in at JB Hi-Fi Warrawong (NSW) to chat music with Merchandise Manager Steve Jenkins.

Where is Warrawong, you ask? (I certainly did, when I got on the phone with Steve Jenkins.) “Most people know where Wollongong is; Warrawong is a little suburb of Illawarra, in Wollongong,” the merchandise manager explains.

The store is a far cry from Sydney City, where Steve spent the first four years of his JB career, before snapping up the role closer to home 12 months ago. “In Sydney you get all sorts – people ask for really obscure stuff, and popular stuff as well,” he says. “Here it’s a bit quieter – it’s not as busy, but people here like to buy physical stuff and we have a nice big vinyl section that goes well. “It’s a change of pace; you’re not in a hurry all the time like the city store. You get to talk to the customer, get a connection, and spend a bit more time with them on a personal level – find out a bit more about them,” he adds. “I’ve met a few nice people here that have become friends.”

Steve’s first foray into music came via his dad, who welcomed him to the wonderful world of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin.

From there, Steve’s interest in heavy metal expanded and blossomed. “I’m always checking out what releases are coming, in terms of the heavy stuff,” he admits – counting Gojira, Baroness, Mastodon and Deftones’ new releases as amongst his most anticipated. Amid the heavy titles newly released, the quality of Devin Townsend’s Empath can’t be denied. “It’s been getting a lot of positive reviews, it’s a pretty epic album,” Steve says. “It’s a lot to take in: so many different styles molded into this concoction. Definitely a talented man in terms of composition.”

Live-wise, Steve is fanging for Metallica’s WORLDWIRED show, coming to our shores with Slipknot in October this year. Not to mention the possibility of something being announced around Rammstein’s new album Untitled, due out on the 17th of this month: “I’ve had a few people ask me about that one already!” he says. “It’s going to be massive – one of the biggest heavy releases of the year. I think most people are crossing their fingers for a tour; even if you’re not a fan of their music, they put on one of the best live shows in the world.”