Deluxe. Welcome to the goodwill campaign. I don’t personally think it is much of a turning point at all you know, I don’t really feel like Record Store Day is doing too much wrong. In the weeks leading up to this issue, there have been some pretty damning indictments of Record Store Day, one in particular that caught much attention posted by a record shop owner, an owner who was obviously pretty frustrated, burnt out, weary and very cynical. What really came across was that it just wasn’t working for him. I wrote a counter-perspective article that didn’t so much present arguments to the issues raised in the original piece, more highlighting that “RSD” has perhaps grown into something that no one person or group is in control of, it has grown into something that exists as its own organism and appeals and seemingly offends people for the self-same reasons. Record Store Day has grown and it serves a much bigger audience than any of us could have predicted.
On April Fools Day, I convinced the @RSDUK Twitter team to post an image I mocked up with the accompanying message: “Surprise!! Excited to announce for #RSD16 a very special @bluroﬃcial Vs @oasis 21st Anniversary picture disc!!” I thought this was a brilliant joke to play, I was kinetic with excitement to see the naysayers start slagging off my wonderful joke. Blur’s “Country House” and Oasis’ “Roll With It” going at it one more time in a fight for the chart summit that surely nobody cares about… as a picture disc! The response was pretty rabid, my personal favourite was “I love vinyl but that’s eight diﬀerent levels of shit”. What I didn’t expect and something that was a great deal more surprising, was just how divisive the tweet was. There was plenty of expected heat about the perceived exaggerated costs and unimaginative release
schedule, but for every “That’s possibly the worst bit of vinyl I’ve ever seen”, there was “Omg I gotta get this” and “Please tell me this isn’t an April fools! I’d cop a copy of that in a heartbeat.” The joke for me was that I had picked the most ludicrously unnecessary hypothetical title I could think of (it was actually my friend Richard who gave me the idea). I think this social experiment (again, it wasn’t intended to be, I just really think I am funny) had articulated better than I could have imagined, that Record Store Day represents a multitude of wants and desires to both shops and consumers, but for very different and conflicting reasons. One man’s rubbish is another man’s horse course I think the proverb goes. Whether you end up going to your local record shop on either side of the counter on Saturday April 16th, I hope you have a nice day… that is the point. Rupert Morrison, Drift Record Shop and Deluxe Magazine.
Interviewed, edited and compiled by The Drift Record Shop. Front Cover is “Stonehenge” by Andrew Savage Centrefold by Matt Blease Subedited by Lu Overy Printed by Newspaper Club Distributed by Forte Music Distribution www.fortedistribution.co.uk / 01600 891589
Whilst every care has been taken in the preparation of this newspaper, the publishers cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of information or any consequence arising from it. Published in Devon by The Drift Record Shop. ©2016
Andrew Savage Besides being one of our favourite bands, Parquet Courts have the distinct honour of being the first artists to contribute to Deluxe twice. A couple of years since we first spoke, Andrew Savage made time to talk art - he is our guest cover creator - cities and how record shops link them all together.
Deluxe: Hey, thanks for letting us use “Stonehenge” on the front cover to this issue.
the festival and he is actually working on a music video for us… pretty much as we speak in Berlin.
Andrew Savage: No worries at all.
D: There is quite a Germanic connection with the new LP so far… “Berlin Got Blurry” was shot in Berlin too right?
D: I knew you had created artwork for the band, but I wasn’t aware that you made artwork in its own right till I heard about “Color Studies” - that was your first exhibition right? AS: Yeah, so there were two of them actually. One of them that happened in New York in July and then one that happened in Cologne in September. They were both great actually. D: Good experiences?… I know you are used to being on stage, but was it nerve-wracking putting it out there? AS: The New York one wasn’t as I knew a lot of the people there and it was my… well, home field I guess. The German one was a little scary because I didn’t really know anyone there and it was a bunch of strange Germans who are notoriously frank people… the opening was really well attended - it was part of an art fair that was taking place called “Cologne Art” - where I also met an English guy called Phil Collins.. (long pause) no relation… he’s a well known contemporary artist who was having a film debut at
AS: Yeah, we have two music videos, shot on 16mm film, shot on location in Berlin… I swear we didn’t plan that. D: I really liked the video, Claes Nordwall directed right… how do you pronounce Claes’ name? Clays? AS: “Claiss”… He’s a Swede. D: I’d only seen his name written down. I really like Iceage and saw one of his videos for those guys a while back. AS: It was really important for me to shoot the video there as that was where the song was written and I guess what the song was about too. I am fond of Germany, I’ve spent quite a bit of time there over the last few years, I am fond of it in a very curious way. You know, it’s so… it’s relatable - Berlin especially - to a metropolitan area like New York so not drastically different, but some things are just so… entirely “German” and so very foreign. I had my art show there, Parquet Courts have played there a lot, we spent time there shooting the video… I guess it was like a return to the scene
of the crime. It’s where we wrote the song.
than romanticizing an era that predates you.
D: Talking about New York, I’ve seen you described as “quintessentially New York” in terms of musical lineage. Do you feel like you sound like you come from New York?
D: I guess in many ways being a New York band can be a slightly hard label to move away from.. It’s not like you get a fresh shot, people have preconceptions.
AS: I guess… it’s such a music writer thing to say isn’t it?
AS: You think so?
D: I think that there are bands from New York who have certain elements to what they did that is perhaps detectable in your music... AS: It’s really not the way I think about music. You know, the band started in New York, we live in New York so of course it is influential on us, but to be honest I don’t really care about romanticizing New York in the 70s or 80s or whatever.. I think it is silly and a bit dishonest to harp on about that era. Those bands were writing in their own moment and I think that we do that too... We write honestly about what we actually know about rather
Photographed by Ben Rayner
D: I think there is a similar situation with London… a lot of the preconceptions are based on bands sounding like bands that either did or didn’t exist 30 or 40 years ago… it makes it very hard to break through. AS: Which to me feels negative. D: Do you spend much time in New York… besides living there, like part of the scene? AS: Do we play much… well, we only played three times last year, so really not as much as we used to. Before Light Up Gold took off we’d play three or four times a month so
not as much as we’d like to. I think considering the amount of touring we do, we actually play here quite a bit. D: Is it a supportive scene? AS: It can be both. I don’t think it is competitive, we’ve certainly not felt a sense of competition. I’ve always been fortunate enough to be part of a group of artists that aren’t interested in that sense of competition… I guess to a degree there is that, but it’s never been too palpable and certainly not on my mind. D: I wanted to talk a bit more about your artwork if we can… I read that you have been using serigraphy… am I pronouncing that right? AS: Serigraphy is basically… well, it’s a genteel word for screen printing. D: (laughing) That’s funny, it looked to be an almost more squidgy type of screen printing AS: All screen printing is kinda
squidgy, it’s basically just screenprint by another name. D: How different to you does the process feel in terms of making music or making printed artwork? Besides that it is just you rather than a band effort? AS: I guess I am known more for being a musician, although I have actually made visual art longer. I think being a musician has a more immediate reward, certainly now, as I know an audience will hear it where that is not necessarily the same with my artwork. I don’t get a bigger thrill out of creating either really, they are both an essential part of being alive. D: You are pretty much touring throughout the rest of the year now, are you ready for the road? AS: Yeah, well, we just got done with a short tour two day ago. We’ve been playing a lot of new songs. D: How it is feeling playing those new songs live? AS: Good! It’s always kind of an exciting and nerve wracking thing playing new material for the first time because it hasn’t quite cemented itself in your mind yet. I wasn’t drinking for the first few shows as I wanted to really dial into it and do it all right... it wasn’t in my bones yet. Once it’s in your bones you can start to play around with it a bit and it takes on a life of its own as a live song. D: Are your live songs to be considered their own thing? AS: I think the live songs are pretty different, our goal is certainly not to replicate the songs on record when we play it live. It starts to harness itself to the unique live identity when you get really good at playing it. That was starting to happen towards the end of these dates. D: Have you developed songs live to where you’d like to revisit them on record? Like, change what was committed? AS: No… not really. I tend not to really listen to my stuff once it’s recorded.
When I hear a song in my head, I guess I hear the live version of it. Once it’s done it’s done in my mind. I don’t really like that as a fan to be honest. John Cale just re-recorded the entirety of ‘Music for a New Society’ and to me I’m like - as a massive fan - what’s the point? That album was already really great, what was the point in going back to it now? I’ve never really had the desire to give anything a second go really.
Dylan used to do it. It looks like fun to me but also saves everyone a bunch of time too. You get asked the same questions by everyone anyway.
D: I noted you have Soda the band playing live with you on a bunch of the dates, they’re a Dull Tools band right?
D: Okay, I’ll just keep reading your other interviews and see if I can spot it.
AS: It’s an amazing, fabulous record. D: So who are they because I’m really feeling it? AS: I’ve known the singer Arlington - one of the singers - for a long time. I met him on a tour with my old band (Teenage Cool Kids) so I’ve known him for ten years or more now. We toured with them and Merchandise in Florida, they’re from Gainesville Florida. Arlington was in some pretty cool bands... One called St. Dad and one called American Snakeskin that made members of The Ukiah Drag. They all go back with the Merchandise guys as part of that amazing Florida punk scene, bands like Cult Ritual, Neon Blood, Diet Cokeheads… all of the guys from Soda were there and part of that. Arlington let me hear the record - which I loved - and it felt like a very natural fit to put it out, someone I like making really good music.
D: What is the worst offender? Have I asked it yet? AS: Nah, you haven’t… People ask… you know what… I can’t say it, because then it will become part of this interview!
I was thinking, as you are actually the only band we’ve featured twice so far, we can’t really go over your first record store again… so how about we do something helpful… a 101 on how not to go out of business… In terms of contemporary stores that you visit regularly, who do you recommend right now?
AS: Okay. In the States, End of an Ear in Austin, that has to be the best store going. There’s a store called Arrow’s Aim in Gainesville Florida that is really really incredible, pretty new too. I think what makes a great record store is one that sells both new and used stuff. Must have a really high turnover rate to the new arrival section too. New York have plenty that fit that description; all the locations of Academy - one in East Village, one in Flatiron, one in Greenpoint and all of those are incredible. Another great one is Record Grouch, also Greenpoint… in fact, Greenpoint Brooklyn is now THE record store district of New York. Academy, Coop 87, Captured D: Do you still enjoy running a label? Tracks Store, Record Grouch, Permanent Record and close by is even AS: I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it the Rough Trade store, which in good (laughing)… it’s not a money making conscience I can’t really recommend venture. If I didn’t love doing Dull Tools there would certainly be no point for anyone who loves record stores. in doing it. I think another thing about a really D: Ben Rayner shot a superb image of good record store is that it’s a hub for you guys at a press junket. The subtext local musicians and it’s a place you can for me was kind of laughing at the fact find local releases. The shop needs to have a relationship with local musicians that you’re being dragged out and and the scene. having to talk to people about your music… how do you feel about press? D: How about outside of NYC? AS: I really wish we could do interviews AS: Oh, Used Kids in Columbus is that way… you see athletes and amazing. Peoples Records in Detroit, politicians do it that way all the time. I love Peoples Records. Permanent in You used to see it, The Stones and
Chicago and in LA. In fact, another great thing is when the store is a label. Permanent is a great label and both stores are great for all the reasons we’ve been discussing. D: Shops that run labels, like Captured Tracks or the Light in the Attic stores, is it important to get a balance between what they make and what they stock?
D: And great guys too…
AS: Such bullshit.
AS: Yeah, very friendly.
D: So in the new Dull Tools shop… which is bound to be based in Greenpoint NYC… you’re dressing the window lightboxes with five new records to sell the shop’s vibe… what would go in there today?
D: Okay, so if you were to open your own store what would you call it? AS: Oh, probably Dull Tools. D: Done! So plenty of your records in there then.
“I think another thing about a really good record store is that it’s a hub for local musicians and it’s a place you can find local releases. The shop needs to have a relationship with local musicians and the scene.”
AS: Five records in the window… okay. So it’s a New York store, so I’d put up the new Dawn Of Humans LP in the window as that is one of the best punk records so far in this short year… maybe late last year even, but an important punk record. Obviously Human Performance is going to be in there… I can’t project what used records would be coming through the door, so we’ll stick to new or re-pressed records today. They just reissued the new A Frames record which is amazing so that is in there. New record by B Boys who are friends of mine, New York band, new LP on Captured Tracks and lastly I’d put the new Soda record in there. D: All set, good-looking window. AS: If I was going to add a sixth… D: (laughing) It’s your store man… AS: … I’d put the new Pill LP in there too, out soon on Mexican Summer.
AS: They have to get a good balance for sure, I mean with Permanent you can go in and not know that they are a label, that is important. If you’re in the know and pay attention you can figure it out, but it is first and foremost a great store run by guys who happen to be running a great label.
AS: And books too I think. D: How do you feel about record shops diversifying?
AS: You know, the only thing I don’t like about those sort of “lifestyle” shops is when you get a bunch of stupid gadgets and dolls… Headphones… you D: How about on your travels outside know? I don’t like to think about a the USA? shop as being inherently capitalistic, if you go to Urban Outfitters or even AS: I tend not to be able to because the bigger Rough Trade shops like of the cost to be honest, transporting the Shoreditch one, they are brazenly them but also because of the capitalistic right? You are essentially conversion costs when a bunch of at a mall… as much knicknacks them are pressed in the States and and bullshit as records. I am more then imported. I love Rough Trade interested in a place where it is a on Portobello Road, I always find something amazing in there. Let’s see, community centre, I am much more Disk Union in Tokyo was great and not interested in cultivating that than selling fancy headphones, T-shirts or prohibitively expensive interestingly that kind of shit. enough. I was told to expect it to be pretty expensive, but I actually found it to be more favourable than shopping D: The one that does me in is stuff with Ramones printed on… like a flippin’ in England I am afraid to say. Oh, and Mono in Glasgow is a really great shop. mug.
D: Then you’re open for business.
The Music Exchange Last September we started over the phone and email to try and find the time to interview The Music Exchange in Nottingham, one of the newer independent record shops in the country but one certainly due much accolade. A finalist in both 2013 and 2014 at the Music Week awards as best independent retailer, they have also been highlighted one of the best indies in the country by The Observer and The Telegraph amongst others. Our ability to hit deadlines is notoriously sloppy, the most recent occurrence was early February and was definitely the saddest when we realised that this time weâ€™d just taken way too long. With much sadness it was announced on their website that The Music Exchange was to close mid-March. We really fucked it. We didnâ€™t find the time and to that end, we never visited the shop. I saw pictures, it looked beautifully presented and although Instagram is an easy thing to contort, what always came across was passion and a unique character. One thing that genuinely set The Music Exchange apart from the others - and one that they never made as much noise about as they should have - was that they were a social enterprise. Run in conjunction with homeless charity Framework, the shop provided work experience opportunities for hundreds of people. Since 2009 over 300 volunteers have contributed more than 66,000 hours of volunteering. In that time, 45 of the volunteers have gone on to gain employment.
As they close, the positive impact they had on their home city of Nottingham was clear. Independent bands, labels and promoters were unified in their sorrow. Something special that had acted as a meeting place and common thread was gone. I am really sorry that I never browsed their racks and spent time in what sounded like a phenomenal record shop, the loss was certainly mine.
Illustrated by Steve Larder
Frank Turner Of all the artists to vocalise their support for Record Store Day, Frank Turner has been one of the most prominent and certainly most passionate. Our good friend Jon Tolley of multi-award-winning Banquet Records in Kingston upon Thames invited Frank to come and talk about the annual celebrations and his own experiences with record shopping.
Jon Tolley: So I guess we should start this off then. Growing up, what was your experience of record shops? Frank Turner: Winchester and near to where I went to school up in Slough there were some record shops I used to hit. It was great actually. I mean, at the risk of sounding slightly more underground than I was, I had Green Day and Offspring to point me in a certain direction - and NOFX - then I got into more underground stuff. I remember there was a place in Winchester where the guy twigged me after a while and anything that came in that had a Fat Wreck or an F Tough logo on he put to one side to see if I wanted to buy it. That experience and learning about music in that way is something that I think people might miss these days. It highlighted the sense of community around music and
the idea and links between bands, it’s not this sort of thing you listen to in isolation on a stream in your bedroom you know? It’s related to real people and real events. It was really important to me growing up. Jon: Going back 20 years or so (we’re of a similar age) you would find out about new bands via record shops, whereas today you might have heard it through a stream of something else. But there is very much still a service that record shops provide in 2016 isn’t there? Frank: Yes… so at the risk of turning this into a hug fest (laughing)… I love Banquet and I love what you guys are doing here. What it reminds me of is my early years in London when I’d moved up aged 18 and hung out in Selectadisc all the time. The thing
about Selectadisc was that you can pick records out of the rack and go and listen to them. You got to know the people who worked at the store who could give you recommendations and actually quite a few of the people who worked there are still friends of mine now… in fact I live with one of them currently. So you’d come in in wearing a Jimmy Eat World T-shirt and they’d be like, “Okay, wow, if that’s your bag you’re going to want to check out this and this and this” and that is information that you’re just never going to get otherwise. Then it built from there in terms of Million Dead and Kneejerk - the band before Million Dead - we’d find out about gigs, get onto gigs, advertise the gigs all through the record store. It was a gathering place and again I think one of the things that is important about record stores - and will never
cease to be important about record stores - is that it is a physical gathering place. Of course there are forums online where you can discuss and all that sort of thing, but there is nothing quite like social interaction, it’s really important. Jon: I think that’s really true and I find that more and more that everything is done by algorithms in modern life, even your Facebook feed or Instagram feed is controlled by algorithms. There is however a really personal interaction you can get from real people in a real community hub and that’s what record shops are for me, that is one of their key roles.
really kick off - I am sure you know more about it than I do. There was definitely a point in time where I first started putting out records and touring, Million Dead days, vinyl was out of the question as you’d lose money on it. No one really bought it. Some bands did it, more of it in electronic music scenes, but certainly as a hardcore band in Million Dead we never did vinyl at the time. Now, if Million Dead were about today we’d press vinyl without a second thought. We have in fact issued “Harmony No Harmony” on vinyl last year and I am hoping we can put out “A Song to Ruin” at some point also… you heard it here first… Jon: Exclusive!
Frank: Yeah, breaking you out of that self-imposed online ghetto that you end up in, only interacting with people who agree with you and listening to music that sounds like all the other music you like. I had a cousin who ran a record store in Old Street called Small Fish for a few years, I’d go out there a lot. I started going there because I was into Godspeed You! Black Emperor which I got into through the hardcore scene, but then because I was there he put me into loads of weird stuff like Kloot, a lot of the City Centre Offices records, bleepy electro stuff and I wouldn’t have known anything about any of that if I hadn’t had that record store, it expanded my horizons. Jon: Talk us through the importance of having a physical release as an artist? Frank: It’s been interesting watching the vinyl revival
Frank: Day to day I listen to music digitally as I tour for a living, the idea of trying to carry a rucksack of vinyl… well, I’ve already broken my back once. So I think it is good to have both of these things going on at the same time, but for me personally, every single release I own digitally I have a physical copy of it at home. I love the size of vinyl, the artwork is fantastic, it’s just so much better than the CD you know? I think it is another thing that has been slightly lost. I was on a long car journey on the weekend with my girlfriend who uses Spotify and it was my first real engagement with it. It annoyed the crap out of me, not least because the thing about Spotify is that it’s fine if you’re not a music nerd, generally listening to “a bit of something”, if you care about music and are nerdy about music… a specific song by a specific artist… it was a giant pain in the arse. Its scope was so terribly mainstream. There is so much music I
want to listen to that is not on Spotify and not on iTunes… the idea that I should somehow just abandon physical music and rely on streaming services… I think it ignores the existence of underground music and it is dangerous for underground music… we need to hold onto physical music for that. Jon: You talk about physical music going in parallel there with digital music. For a very few people it seems to be either or, you use streaming or digital and YouTube, but for things you want to own and to treasure and to own for ever, you use the physical format. Frank: Right, it’s almost like a mark of the stuff you really care about. I love the physicality of putting on a record, it’s like a ritual, almost religious… Jon: ...and the idea of playing an album from one through twelve… it’s not like music should be a greatest hits stream. Frank: Well that’s the other thing about Spotify, you type in an artist and it gives you their top three songs (laughing) - I can tell you what they’d be for me - it’s like: I like those songs and it’s great that other people do, but I’ve written more and it’d be nice if people listen more widely to my catalogue. There is something about the “most popular songs’ thing that concentrates it all into a really narrow stream that I think is not good. Jon: You’ve had a couple of Record Store Day releases to date. Frank: Yes, this year will be my third. We did a 7” with “I still Believe” and a cover of “Somebody To Love” by Queen in… 2012? Jon… in the past… Frank: I reckon it was 2012. I actually don’t have a copy of that. They all sold and I called up someone at Xtra Mile and they went “... yeah…..” Jon: (laughing) They’re not allowed to put any aside so they were doing the right thing. Frank: Well.. yeah, but I think I could have one? That’s not necessarily breaking the rules. Whatever, I’ll get
“the idea that I should somehow just abandon physical music and rely on streaming services… I think it ignores the existence of underground music and it is dangerous for underground music… we need to hold onto physical music for that.” a copy one day. Then we did a 7” of “Recovery” for Record Store Day 2013 and I played a gazillion shows in one day, the last one of which was here if I remember correctly. I got here and remember being really tired. I mean they were short sets, but it was a fair amount for work for one day. Now for this year we have my first LP release with “Positive Songs for Negative People”. I’m really proud of the release with rejigged artwork for the record and it looks really nice, like an inverted version of the original. The thing I always yak on about when it comes to this stuff is that it shouldn’t just be about the one day. Personally I feel like one of the functions of the day is to bring in young people into the experience of being involved in the record shop you know? There is a slight backlash with people saying “I go to record stores anyway”, I’m like, “Good for you, but we’re not talking to you in that case”, this is about younger kids who might be getting into music for the first time. Their only experience so far might be streaming and online and that sort of thing, this is about expanding their experience
of music and immersing themselves in a culture so much more than they can do in their bedroom… (laughing) I am ranting now. Jon: No, I agree entirely. When Record Store Day first came to these shores I was quite cynical about it, I was like “We’re a record shop every day of the year… we don’t need this”. Then some of my favourite bands at the time like Bloc Party and Slow Club started putting out releases and it was actually really exciting. What we saw a few years ago, when One Direction put out a release for Record Store Day and there was backlash, like with Justin Bieber this year - but what we saw then was a whole new kind of customer coming and queuing up, hours before we were open and wanting to be a part of it and that is to be welcomed. Frank: It’s the same thing as the tediously boring experience I’ve had with people being snobbish about Green Day or Blink 183 or even in recent years with me as I am not underground anymore. If all I ever do with my music is conduit people towards discovering Mineral and Black
Flag... then that’s fine and I am happy with that. Similarly with Record Store Day, if it is a main stream record that brings people into the record shop, but then they stick around? Well everybody wins. Jon: Have you looked at any of the 2016 list? Have you picked out any favourites? Frank: I can’t say I’ve actually had a chance.
Jon: He’s just a drunk adult now.
liked the kind of stuff I was into. The moment where you finally find your scene, stumble across the underground. I felt like I’d been rescued from a life of terrible tedium, which is an awfully adolescent thing to say, but it was entirely true.
Frank: It fills me with joy seeing Will do well, I think he’s a genius and a wonderful person. Oh, also Ducking Punches.
If Record Store Day opens that door and shines a light for young people around the world then I am super in favour of it.
Jon: He’s come along way from the drunk teenager handing in his demos to us a few years ago. Frank: (Laughing) really! Amazing.
Jon: Again, played here. Jon: Well I will then pick you out some of my favourites. There is a La Dispute record. Frank: Yes! They supported us years ago, it must have been one of their first shows. They opened for me and the band in… Philadelphia? And we all thought they were a bit good for a local support so it’s been a name in the back of my head since then. Jon: A really fascinating band, but it was actually recorded in Kingston so a special one for us. Another one is this lad Frank Turner… might of heard of him. Frank (laughing) Terrible bullshit. Jon: Outside of Record Store Day what have you been into recently? Frank: Well, there is one right here (looks like we set it up but we really didn’t). It’s the debut record by the band Heck who used to be called Baby Godzilla and the record is called “Instructions”. I am sorry, but I am going to drop a name here. Ginger Wildheart is a friend of mine and was shouting at me for like a year to check them out. I finally saw them at a festival and they absolutely tore my face off my head. They have made a huge reputation for themselves live but in terms of on record they have this techy sort of grindy stuff that is so up my street it’s ridiculous and it reminds me of early Dillinger but also Charles Bronson. I love it. The Will Varley album has also been out for a little while now, “Postcards From Ursa Minor” Jon: He played in the shop! Frank: I’m so happy for him.
Frank: Speaking to you as proprietor of Banquet Records - I live in London, so we’re sort of in the larger M25 area - where do people shop if they’re not in London? Jon: Well I don’t really shop at many record shops as I am at this one every day, but there are a lot of really thriving record shops left in 2016. The ones that have still got through this tough time - for any independent business - are really doing well. I’ve always got time for Spillers, I’ve got time for Drift, also smaller ones like Pie & Vinyl... Frank: Yeah! I did an instore down there. Jon: Jumbo, Crash, all of the shops across the country that are trying to work with a community and I really feel that wherever there is a strong music scene there is a strong record shop left to help it out. Whether it is chicken or egg I don’t know, but they are synonymous. I am glad we’re all doing alright in 2016 and a lot of it, not of all it, but a lot of it is in part due to Record Store Day. Not just supporting that shop that day, but that occasion then opens doors. We don’t get national press every day, but we do on Record Store Day and people talk about it… Frank: I think we mentioned earlier one of the most important things for me is making sure that it is aimed at younger people. For me it was punk, which is by no means the only type of underground music, but the thing was that - I am about to get a bit dewy eyed - I remember being a teenager with a Clash record and a NOFX record but I didn’t really know anybody who
Sound Advice (RE Turn off the Mac)? by Alex Neilson
Is there a more cherished and more jeopardized fixture on our civic landscape than the humble record shop? Once a magnet for all manner of duffel-coat-clad oddballs whose main form of social inclusion was ﬂipping vampirically through the Indie LP bins while making furtive eye contact with other obsessive malcontents, now record shops are rarer than a natural tan in Scotland and these people are left to roam the purgatorial wilderness of the Information Super Spaghetti Junction.
The music industry’s decline is mainly credited to the rise and rise of music streaming/ downloading/ sharing/ stealing (insert appropriate term here). To be honest, I never listen to things online if I can help it. Because I write reviews, I get sent links all the time but I find it nigh on impossible to concentrate on information on a screen with all these “click me! click me!” distractions silently shrieking at me. And the sound quality is so thin, pumped up and sanitized that it’s difficult for me to really care about it. My general rule for the Internet is: “If I can’t wank at it; or I don’t understand it” and it’s served me pretty well so far by allowing me to avoid almost half of its content.
Although I know I am a walking anachronism who will soon be condemned to the marginalia of history (like a sixpence or a public phone box), I am too old to change now. I am a child of the mid ‘90s, when the only time you saw a computer in school was when they wheeled them out ceremonially for parents evenings then locked them up again along with the musical instruments and confiscated weapons. Consequently, Teletext was my bible and local record shops were my promised land. So you can keep your Grindr and your Friends Reunited and what have you. For I am fixed in my one-man crusade
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of eschewing consensual reality by not stealing music that other people have worked their onions off to make and continuing to patronise record shops. I am still excited by the “charity shop syndrome” of not knowing what you are going to find. Of taking a chance on an anonymous £3 blues comp then happening across someone like Charlie Patton or Memphis Minnie. Of getting recommendations from the jaded and sneering staff. Of the breathlessness of finding something you’d been looking for for ages. Or the perverse thrill of finding something you loved so much that you wished you didn’t have it so you could buy it again.
lessons and psychological complexes that I am still unravelling. And then there is traditional folk music and its vast trove of lore investing the very landscape itself with an arcane, hallucinatory wonder. Something that it is hard to comprehend with the attention-span-trouncing conditions of online music consumption, but easier when you can study the physical artefact and hear the voices rise and fall from the crackling shellac.
One thing that has served me well over the years is the “WANTED” honeytrap ads for fellow musicians, in an “Unemployable ginger drummer seeks lutanist. Influences: Leonard Cohen, Slayer and squidgy black. Must be able to drive and take unopposed dictation” stylee. Record shops are the chapels in which passionate people forge lifelong love affairs with artists they will never hope to meet but study with a fanatical intensity- because they are imparting the great mysteries of life in a way that we recognize but have never been able to articulate ourselves. Chuck Berry (“Tell the folks back home this is the Promised Land calling and the po’ boy’s on the line”), Ira Louvin (“Others find pleasure in things I despise”) and Lou Reed (“Situations arise because of the weather”) all acted as glassyeyed prophets to me; hinting at life
Photographed by Tara Darby
So support your local record shops in all their fusty, cranky idiosyncrasies and take a chance on a new release this Record Store Day. And for the rest of your life. Because curiosity and diversity are the guiding principles in a flourishing mind. Once you give up on these things, you’ll go the way of the music industry - into a slow and inexorable decline. Alex Neilson, Glasgow, March 2016
Yak If Yak aren’t a band already on your radar, then come the close of 2016 we’d be terribly surprised if you weren’t well familiar. Arriving with much hype, they are - refreshingly - a brash, thrash, noisy three-piece from London via Wolverhampton. We spoke to their ringleader Oli Burslem about the best and worst places to buy music.
Deluxe: So you’re travelling pretty much throughout the remainder of 2016… How are you finding it? Oli Burslem: Good… no great! It’s just a dream really isn’t it. Going around all over the place and having a little nosey around. I think I have lost anything that was of any worth along the way so far… laptops and all sorts of shit… I couldn’t find a toothbrush this morning. D: I guess toothbrushes and socks are the kind of replaceable commodity at least? OB: (laughing) Yeah, not a real problem is it... D: How about SXSW? How was that for you guys?
OB: Yep, first time and first time in Texas too. It was absolutely incredible, we had a really good time and the gigs went well too, big nights and long days in the blistering heat.
but if I am honest that interview was conducted when I was incredibly drunk. After I said it we did the tour and spent time with the band and they were lovely guys.
D: It tends to go either one of two ways in Austin TX, glad to hear you had a good time.
D: How about working with Steve Mackey (of Pulp)?
OB: Sure, it didn’t all smell of roses, but we had a really good time. D: I read a good bit where you talked about supporting Palma Violets and you pulled no punches in declaring you were going to steal all of their fans. OB: (laughing) Well, like I said, when we started this whole thing… I was like, “look, I am a nobody and who gives a fuck what I think or cares”... so it was all a bit of a joke to be honest,
OB: Really good! Steve does this thing called “call this number”, it’s this online site where he streams a live gig or performance from a garage and Douglas Hart from Mary Chain films it. We were offered to do it, and they were such good people we were delighted to do it and went down there and recorded for about two hours, really enjoyed their company and got on really well and when we watched and listened to it back, we really got off on how great it sounded. Steve said he was keen to work with us more and that
we should use this as the blueprint for trying to capture a record. D: I think it’s interesting that you said garage - it is literally a garage in this instance - but the album feels like a document of a performance… OB: We recorded it very much as one sound, like a live take in that way. I think we were always inspired, without ever really saying it, but Can, or Miles Davis live albums and all those amazing bits that you’d not necessarily be able to capture again. That live element really excites me, I think there is too much editing going on on computers. I guess maybe the Fall are the closest to that. D: The Fall are really interesting to me (laughing)... I just still can’t fully get onboard. They feel like an important band, but I just can’t get past that first listen... Where do you fall on The Fall?
OB: I am a big fan (laughing) listening to Industrial estate growing up in Wolverhampton they probably said a bit more to me than God Save the Queen and down with the monarchy… Imperial Wax Solvent is a good recent one to get into. I think having said that, there are all these bands and artists that as a music fan that you “have” to like… it’s not compulsory you know, you shouldn’t have to. D: I think perhaps that one person who would disagree and insist it was compulsory was Mark E Smith. (laughing) Talking about the live part of your record, I thought the sequencing kept the tension up between the tracks, I like the bits where you’re not doing anything but it feels like you’re still in the room. OB: It’s based on how we play live. We never play the same set twice if possible, very much gauging the
Photographed by Jibber
room and the tension of the audience and how it pulls you into different directions. I think it was a document of the year too. I was sleeping in the van still and thinking “this is never going to get anywhere” and we just decided to have one last bash at it. Andy and I have known each other for years and we wanted to have just one last… I know it sounds really… well, simple, but we wanted to just really enjoy it. I hope that shows. It feels to me certainly like that year. D: James Yorkston talked about having an epiphany and making music just for himself in the last issue… you can’t fake it, you have to genuinely not give a fuck I think. OB: You have to put yourself in a slightly uncomfortable place both physically and mentally.. By the end of last year I was really feeling… well, I didn’t think we’d necessarily get an LP done. When we finished it initially I was just looking at the five days it took to track it, but afterwards I started trawling back over the year it took to get there. It’s now great to be able to listen to new music again, whilst we were recording and forming it I had to just keep my head down but once it was done I just went straight out and bought a shit load of records. I painted my room so that I had time to myself to just listen to records… I had to do something to lock into. D: Have you been at all surprised about the last few months and where you find yourself now? OB: I think because we didn’t necessarily fit in with a scene or a label or whatever, we were kind of on our own - with some help obviously - I guess it is a bit of a surprise really. I think I try to not spend too much attention on it. D: I don’t want to make like you’re not been working hard… it’s just nice that good things are happening for the good guys for a change. OB: Austin was an eye opener for that, the whole reason that I am in a band is certainly not to have a career. There are too many of those career-driven types out there. I’ve done other jobs, money-related jobs, where it’s buy
and sell, buy stuff and sell it for more so I do understand it, but the bands just doesn’t feel like that to us… we probably shouldn’t be feeling like that I guess? D: Well it’s difficult, I am very much about making music as art, but in running a shop we are the definition of selling that art… the music commerce industry. OB: That is more cut and paste though, that is buying and selling isn’t it. D: You have shop experience right? What was your shop? OB: I don’t have a shop… Officially I never had one if you get me… (laughing) My friend had a squat and there… I tell you what, what I can talk about is having a market stall. I had loads of jobs and managed to save up for a van, a shit van, bought it off a
D: Did you buy many record collections? Do you have a good idea of what various things are worth? OB: To a certain extent. Most records you are getting at auctions are Saturday Night Fever… that sort of stuff. Occasionally you get some interesting stuff though, I don’t know if you’re into the whole improv scene, Evan Parker vibe, well he and some others started what I believe is one of the first independent or artist-run labels called Incus Records. They did loads of recordings and I had the privilege of seeing some of those. I actually met Evan and saw him play, it was pretty special. He was talking about recording and how Jimi Hendrix was recording noisy music next door. But no, I don’t really have much of an idea about the value of records to be honest. D: When you’re shopping for yourself, where do you regularly frequent?
“I’ve done other jobs, money-related jobs, where it’s buy and sell, buy stuff and sell it for more so I do understand it, but the bands just doesn’t feel like that to us… we probably shouldn’t be feeling like that I guess?” gangster-looking dude. He literally rolled it off the forecourt as it didn’t start after I bought it. When it worked I started going to auctions as I’ve always liked furniture and curiosities so I started buying and selling stuff basically. I was a glorified man in a van basically.
OB: Well Rough Trade is very close so there. I got Sun Ra The Nubians of Plutonia most recently. D: Looking ahead to your own record, the artwork is killer. That is Nick Waplington right?
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OB: Yes, and we saw Nick yesterday funnily enough. He’s firstly a good friend and has helped me out as a friend over the years, even housing me. When we started doing the recording he very kindly said we could use his painting. I think he is more renowned for his photography maybe first off his book “Living Room” is amazing but his artwork is really taking off.
the band the context was slightly different. I think we didn’t want to get stuck just playing in Hackney, if we got the opportunity we just wanted to get out and play literally everywhere. I think we wanted to have the same idea of getting out and going to gigs as when we were fourteen and fifteen. D: So a lot to do with how live music feels then?
D: Did you give him a brief for it? OB: Well he is always painting and we were just around his studio and saw the image he was working on… we were like “can we use this?!” D: Where would you like to see that finished LP racked for the first time? OB: Asda… D: (laughing) OB: You know, mum goes down Asda and starts buying all these CDs… like “what you doing Mum?” “Oh, my daughter will like that, you know, bit of Robbie”... maybe we should be under a banner that says PREMIUM ROCK in all Asda shops. Seriously, I don’t know, anywhere anyone wants to sell it I suppose. D: Well that is plenty of people, I’ll have a load… OB: You’re a star.. Who knows what’ll happen. The most exciting thing about this year is we just don’t know what is going to happen. We’re going to play a lot of gigs, but everything else is up in the air. If it all finishes tomorrow than I am a happy man because it’s all been great and we have it everything. I did start thinking about what else I could do… I woke up quite early and I was thinking about “what else could I do?” I was wondering about being a nurse. I can deal with the blood and the mess. D: We slightly touched on it earlier, but do you have a sense of location as a band? OB: Never myself, I’m just always wandering around and always have done. I was born in Wolverhampton and raised in the Midlands in a farmyard basically, but I left when I was seventeen. I think when we started
OB: Very much, also thinking back to where we are from, there are literally none of them that have ended up in this situation that we’ve ended up in, so we do feel very much like the carpet could get pulled from under us at any moment. There is this attitude that some “creative” (and there is an awful word) in bands and stuff feel that they are owed a living and that they should be listened to… I mean who cares what we think? We’re just fucking scum. D: So going back to where you’re from, what was your first record shop experience? OB: There was a record shop in Wolverhampton run by my brother’s friend Glenn, he was the bassist in my brother’s band actually. They were part of that scene with Nikki Sudden... I think he actually played bass in the Jacobites. So I used to go in on Saturdays and I’d be like “what is the best… Bob Dylan album?” And he was very kind and let me listen to all sorts. There was also a good market in Wolverhampton that is still there, the smell of raw meat and vinyl next door. I used to skip school on Mondays and run out. I had a funky uncle who used to drive me up to HMV and I’d rush back, always getting them confiscated. “Do you reckon on lunch break you could run me up to the record shop?” So I’d hop the fence and rush to come back. D: Do you remember the first purchase? OB: Yeah, a cassette. It was me and my sister and it was a flip up between Oasis or Shaggy “Boombastic”... I went for Boombastic . I think as a story it seems kind of cool, but it wasn’t at the time I assure you. I was obsessed with Elvis, from really young, like five, six? I had
the quiff and was completely obsessed. I had leathers weirdly? I remember singing Elvis with a Walkman on. D: Last one, so why are shops important to you? OB: Well, I guess I just find them amazing places but I have to admit to trying to avoid them at all costs. I don’t have a lot of money and I know that I can easily waste a lot of money in there. I’d hope to have money one day and I can’t wait to go into shops, especially independent ones and spend thousands of pounds. D: Well this gets distributed in indie shops, so they’ll see you coming man…
(A memoir with almost nothing to do with)
Record Store Day by Michael Kasparis
“The first vinyl record I bought was Mogwai’s 4 Satin E.P. in the summer of ’97 and it changed my life. OK, that’s a hopelessly hyperbolic statement which probably isn’t even true: maybe it didn’t change my life and perhaps it was Suede’s debut LP which was my first purchase, the mind is fuzzy from underage beer and stale chips from under the Glasgow Central Station bridge. Don’t get me wrong, as a 16-year-old recent immigrant to Glasgow, a self-styled outsider with a perpetual axe to grind, music had already proved a life-saver. My bedroom in my family’s chalet was crowded with sun-blanched pirated cassettes of Iron Maiden and Guns ’n’ Roses albums, ludicrously expensive CDs of alternative rock from America I had to save up for a month at a time to buy and even home-made tapes of my own meandering guitar “works.” But to fit in with my own personal mythology I like to think buying 4 Satin on 12” in Missing Records was my first vinyl record purchased with my own money.
advertised campaigns of rebellion funded by major dollar. Likewise the Britpop boom, which to me seemed as alien and alluring as Kurt Cobain et al. I was taking the early steps of being a consumer, sleepwalking really. In 1997 Chris Fullerton and I - now Chris was pretty much my closest and only friend until late teenagedom - smuggled a very cheap 1.5 litre bottle of tequila into T In The Park. I pretended to drink it in the rancid portaloos, I think he actually did. On the T Break Stage I saw Mogwai - a local band I had never heard of - start their set and they played a music I had never heard before.
Now, these days any 16-year-old with a supposed interest in music and a wifi connection will be expected to know the complete discography of Absolute Body Control, the colour variants of every record they supposedly love, the matrix numbers of every Throbbing Gristle bootleg, who played 3rd guitar on the last Cocteau Twins release, anally retentive to oblivion. But on an unusually hot day in Balado, in a field sponsored by cooking lager surrounded by scary people, As a precocious pubescent I survived on the 70s disco and 80s R&B 12”s I had begun transferring from our living room seeing these guys who didn’t seem that much older than me play music so massive and seemingly out of control, scary to my own room. They were my mother’s and by that point in the mid 90s she had bought into the more aspirational CD and dangerous seemed like a Promethean unveiling of secret knowledge. Anyway, to bring things back down to earth, the boom. I listened to those records and tapes because that’s next weekend I went to the record shop in Glasgow that was all I knew, apart from the reggae and club music on the my regular weekend haunt. I was already an avid CD buyer radio, relentlessly upbeat music that chimed with the wave and had already sussed that Missing Records was cheaper, of British tourists who came to Cyprus to party and escape specially when you were lucky and managed to pick up some Tory Britain. When we moved to Scotland I slowly became decent second-hand CDs. I was on the lookout for some enamoured with the heavily promoted alt. rock shoved sort of Mogwai release and asked at the counter, somewhat down my generation’s throat: those expertly packaged and
timidly and with that perpetual worry all kids have when in a cool record shop: What is cool? Am I cool? How will the cool guy / girl behind the counter rate my coolness?
I was lucky and am eternally grateful that the guy behind the counter wasn’t the sneering High Fidelity caricature, but a softly-spoken man with a mop top. These days he’s the bass player in Trembling Bells, a man named Simon I’m lucky to call a friend 18 years later, but back then he patiently answered all my questions about the inner machinations of the independent record industry. My questions were something like: “Why, if they’re from Glasgow, is it more expensive?” “Why don’t they have an album out?” “But why is it more expensive to make less?” He won’t remember it now, but back then his patient answers were my introduction into the whole wonderful, sorry mess of independent record shops and the labels run by freaks who fill them.
I was asked to do it again and I made the same whistle-stop tour of the vinyl racks, eager to get on with the record shop chat thing and turning people marginally younger than me onto music. As I sat down with a massive pile of master bags that needed blanking with white labels I saw the shop owner / manager Dep take the mop to the floor, quiet, disappointed, determined. At the end of the day when I gave him all the badly blanked masterbags back I can say with almost 100% certainty that he stayed an extra couple of hours after shop closed and blanked those masterbags properly, how they should have been done in the first place.
I know this because, 10 years later (are you still following?), he’s now my boss for real. Monorail hasn’t really changed since the day it opened, it’s just the rest of the world caught on. Monorail opened at a time when vinyl consumption was on the wane. In fact, Monorail’s starter pistol was what many people thought were the tolling bells of impending doom. Dep and his co-owner/manager Stephen were told repeatedly that record shops were dying out and that it was In the intervening years, I started bands, worked in bars, got into trouble, financial suicide to open a new one. then started more bands until I left Glasgow in a huff on a Megabus for London and my first job in a record shop. In London I started my own label Night School to fill those record shops I had begun to call home or versions of it. I started a band that released records, started recording my own music; I suppose I achieved some personal goals and missed others. Now “aspiration” - anathema now to us bourgeois, drip-coffee socialists is something that’s taken as a given for most people, my family included. As the first to go to university in my family (and the first to drop out, I hasten to add) I was expected to have a good career. But really all I wanted to do was work in a record shop and play music at night in dark places. As a probably-hungover 22-year-old I had one day working in Monorail Music a year into its opening and I failed - what I can only gather now Indeed, both Stephen and Dep’s was a sort of trial shift - miserably. I previous record shop businesses had was so excited to be working there either closed or had got into financial that I whizzed around the shop in the difficulty: in fact I’m astonished at the morning with a mop and no real care.
bravery and faith in our scene (global and local) they had in making the leap. I’m also extremely grateful and in terms of my record shop career, which has encompassed a few well-known and loved shops in London, I feel like the whole thing had built up to the first day I tried to pull up those bespoke shutters in the shop, the first day I spent half an hour anxiously mopping that well-worn floor as a full-time employee. Of course, Monorail is simply part of a tradition and culture that precedes and surrounds it and any attempt I make at hagiography dedicated to my workplace will be met with eye-rolls and sarcastic texts from any one of my colleagues, and rightly so.
Monorail has never tried to be big, never tried to be clever, never reinvented any wheels or dominated any markets. What my colleagues have done here is share their love for music with whomever walks through the door, 363 days a year for 13 years. I’ve heard my colleagues talk people out of buying records, I’ve heard staff members get told off for “upselling.” Since its opening day Monorail has done everything
“I was lucky and am eternally grateful that the guy behind the counter wasn’t the sneering High Fidelity caricature, but a softly-spoken man with a mop top.” its own way, even when conventional wisdom says otherwise (which is quite often). Monorail is in some ways the antithesis of Championship Vinyl,
that archetype set in stone by Nick Hornby 16 years ago. It’s easy to see elements of Hornby’s characters in ourselves of course but ultimately that Record Shop misanthropy is mopped up meticulously every morning before anyone enters.
Of course, I’m not equating One Direction with Mogwai, I don’t know if that young girl’s life has been changed by my selling her a One Direction picture disc. To be honest there’s times I’m not even sure my life has been changed for the better by all of this. I do know, however, that the happiness that girl felt for that brief moment is something pretty special. It’s not even about the physical product really; let’s be honest she probably hasn’t looked at it much since that day and though I still like 4 Satin I can’t say I’ve listened to it much of late either. But that happiness I felt discovering something I perhaps might belong to, that’s the reason I’m still practising my mopping technique.”
What has all this to do with Record Store Day? Nothing really but then some would argue Record Store Day doesn’t have anything to do with record stores any more either. Every year Record Store Day is, for us record shop troglodytes, like Thanksgiving, like waterboarding, like Halloween, like your annoying cousin’s wedding you have to go to, like Christmas with friends and family and all the madness that entails. Like almost everyone I Michael Kasparis, speak to with any connections to this Night School Records often perplexing industry, I have my gripes and reservations about RSD. One of them is the amount of hours spent locked in heated, hand-wringing, hair-pulling debate with my colleagues about how many to buy of each of the 500 records being released this year, downing coffee after coffee, everyone becoming ever more wired. Another is the well-known problem of major labels co-opting the vinyl industry they had almost abandoned and gumming up the pressing plant schedules. But the one thing at the back of my mind every April is that the whole event saved a lot of shops from going under, shops that, like Monorail and Missing in Glasgow, probably saved a lot of lives from despair, boredom and the unfathomable misery of living up to your parents’ expectations. Shops like Monorail have made people happy in ways that are both deeply profound and yawningly prosaic. Missing Records, a seemingly overpriced Mogwai 12”, the kindness of a knowledgeable shop assistant changed my life and if it takes a “big, scary, globalised, greedy marketing event” to have kept shops like these open at some point then I think it’s all worth it. One of my prevailing memories of Record Store Day madness is of a woman rushing into Monorail with a shy 11 year old daughter and asking in a panic whether we still had any Midnight Memories picture discs by One Direction. We did.
Higher Authorities Higher Authorities are shrouded in mystery. Steeped in warped psychedelic dub, it feels like the spirits of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry or Sun Ra could almost be presiding. Icons and motives all beamed through space and time, but definitely at one point from Liverpool… so a good place to start unravelling.
Deluxe: I really got transfixed on your artwork… but is it okay that I don’t necessarily understand it? Higher Authorities: Yeah, that’s fine! It was a mixture of ideas that we had, we wanted it to be - above all - exotic and also not taking itself too seriously. We had the space theme running through our head, but we then struck upon pineapples… the pineapples have become an exotic theme. The music is deliberately technicolour and we wanted to mirror that in some way. D: I think in terms of the tone of the music, I really picked up on the retro futuristic… kind of like how Sun Ra sounds like someone recording forty years ago, 300 years in the future… HA: Yeah, I get you. I really like that older sound, but that in itself does sound alien as it is so different to what you hear now. I think we wanted to have something along those lines,
but there is definitely more of a sense of humour in it. D: I read that Sun Ra was a really funny guy… I mean, totally mad, but really good fun. HA: I think not knowing whether he was joking would be the thing. D: I’ve been driving myself a bit mad today with your pineapples. Should I be looking into them that much? HA: Well, short story is in Liverpool the merchants used them on the gateposts on their houses as a signifier that they were merchants and involved in shipping and we thought that seemed fairly apt with how things have gone in the country with obsessions on status. Plus, it was a bit daft that we liked. D: I was reading a blog today, not for a short period of time,
called ‘A Brief History of Gateposts’. HA: (laughing) Good new reading source. D: Oh, the other thing I noticed is that your LP drops on a Wednesday rather than Friday… specifically April 20th… that is significant too right? HA: Yeah, it’s “420”. As well as the exotic theme, we like the idea of a pisstake stoners album when it really isn’t that. We thought it was funny above all else. I think 4:20 was the time that they’d stave off until they could smoke weed… something like that, but 420 is in relation to cannabis culture. D: I wondered if 420 was a police code or something. HA: You’d think it was something a bit more tech, but no. The release fell sort of close to that date so we made the jump and also to maybe stand away a little from Record Store Day.
D: If there was something that you really wanted to buy from the Record Store Day list, where would you be queuing on that morning? HA: I would be at Probe in Liverpool. It’s a shop I’ve always been going to since I was a kid, it’s moved around a bit since then, but it’s still a really great shop. Good set of staff that have been working there for years. I didn’t used to even say “alright” to them, I was probably a bit scared to be honest (laughing) but I say hello these days. D: Probe interests me a lot. They don’t have a really crisp logo or visual identity and I’m not sure they’re even on social websites… but they seem to have a lot of honesty to what they do. Is that, more broadly speaking, indicative of Liverpool and its music scene in general? HA: I think so. I am sure that is true because Probe couldn’t really get away with being anything other than honest, I think people would latch onto that
straight away. It’s more of a basic thing, there is nothing particularly flash, there is no hard sell. I know it’s been taken on in quite a few independent shops but Probe always have stickers on the front of releases with small write-ups or recommendations. It seems to me that even though it is a relatively small thing it makes a big difference. It makes you want to listen to it. I think you can quickly see if people are doing it for the love of it. D: I’m certainly not rich… HA: (laughing) I know… I think you realise that quite early on don’t you? D: Where else is Liverpool is good for shopping? AH: Grand Central is an old performance hall and that has individual stalls. There is a stall in there called Cult Vinyl and that is old stuff, always good for a general look around. Plenty of oddball shops. I am sure in this boom time for vinyl that plenty of
D: What are your own experiences of Record Store Day? HA: I’ve been involved with a couple of things that have been released on the day over the years. I think as a punter… well, I think it has probably done more good than bad, but I am a bit sceptical and it feels like it might have been hijacked a little bit by the majors and turned into a circus. It should be about helping the smaller shops. D: I feel like it is at a turning point. HA: It almost feels inevitable. Whether it is a festival or anything that is expected to grow year after year it will reach a point where it becomes more and more about the commercialisation than the music I suppose. D: Circus is a very interesting word to use, I think in terms of both positive and negative connotations. Next year’s tenth anniversary is a good opportunity to really address everyone’s thoughts I think. HA: It’s a good opportunity on the tenth anniversary, it’s a good reason as you say to go into the studio and record something special.
“I remember Probe had it on the wall with one of their stickers on the front saying “You should listen to this release…” I think that felt as satisfying as anything else we did really.”
D: I think it’s interesting to note that a shop can only really exist if it is part of that culture it is physically in… if it is not, if it is synthesized, then it can be pretty unwelcome.
HA: It does actually yeah. We had Bido Lito! the music magazine here for about five years now and that has really helped to make it feel like something definite, something that exists. The community isn’t competitive between the bands, it doesn’t feel bitchy.
HA: Yeah. Probe always had adverts and cards up from people in bands, listings to sell musical equipment and stuff and that was very much the cultural meeting place.
D: We met Peter Guy last year who is doing great work there too… also an Everton fan so that goes over well with us… that said, aren’t you Liverpool fans?
D: Liverpool is very much a band’s city, a musical city.
HA: I’m … well, I used to be a big fan and was lucky enough to be around to see the Dalglish sides but once I got into music I kind of just drifted away from football… so if I’m honest I am a bit of a plastic supporter these days.
shops have opened and shut.
HA: It is, it is still that way and still predominantly about bands. There have been some movements towards electronic music or club music, but it is still mostly about bands and I think you wouldn’t see that in say... Bristol or London. D: As part of it, does it feel like a strong scene still?
Everton then? D: My Dad. They were pretty barren in the fifties and I think he saw them as underdogs and started to support them as it might piss people off… I mean, hardly anyone knew where in the country they were either… so when I turned up, I was just told that we were Everton fans. A rubbish inheritance for sure. HA: They’ve always been pretty steady, this last decade anyway. D: I think it has prepared me for life… be glad with what you’ve got, always be ambitious, but don’t set your heart on it… it’s just not worth it. Quite grounding right?
HA: The nearly men… you had a D: I guess I’m also pretty plastic as although I’ve supported Everton for 30 decent side in the mid-80s though. years I live 300 odd miles away and have D: And some! I was old enough to never seen a game at Goodison Park… know what was going on and I do remember those trophies, but in my HA: What got you into supporting
Photographed by Dot Blackburn
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HA: Probe, as I was saying, was quite scary, kind of intimidating as I was only about 12 probably. It was prime time for punk too so lots of mohicans and other things that at that age seemed very weird-looking. Going in there not HA: That was the problem with that knowing much about indie music and time period, we took it for granted, it just hearing music that was almost hard was like “Who are we winning against to make sense of, but that was also so this week then”, you get completely spoiled. I think I was just glad to finally exciting and was what really drew me to it. see Alex Ferguson get taken down a few pegs finally… it seemed like he D: And since then, which shops have could do no wrong for years. really resonated with you? D: Growing up in Liverpool, was it HA: There is one in Liskeard, which Probe that you would have visited for is more of a second-hand shop. That the first time? place is really good, there aren’t many of those places now where you feel AH: Yeah, it was Probe in the city like you can go in and buy records centre. I lived in one of the suburbs, that aren’t overpriced, those sort of about twenty minutes outside the bargains just don’t seem to be there city centre. I can remember in junior anymore. There is another shop I like school, just after new wave and the mod revival stuff I was aware of people in Southport called Quicksilver and I like that for the same reason. talking about Probe and I wanted to see what it was like there. Through I think in Liverpool one of my that quite rapidly I started looking back at places like Eric’s circa 1981 and favourites was Pink Moon which sadly Bunnymen and Teardrop Explodes and isn’t there anymore. They used to specialise in all the Liverpool band started to really follow those scenes… releases, stuff you just couldn’t get then further back at psychedelia and anywhere else. the Velvets and on and on, but all starting at some point with Probe. D: Do you remember seeing your own music in a record shop for the first D: Do you remember your first time? purchase? life, in terms of what I can really remember clearly, we’ve won the FA Cup once… not a good return at 34 years old...
AH: First one I think was the “Too Much Too Young” single. D: Have you still got it? AH: Yeah, yeah I have still got it I think… it’s at my mum’s (laughing). It didn’t have a 45 adaptor, the plastic in the middle so I remember feeling a bit ripped off. That said, it had five or six songs on so it was quite good value at the same time... D: How did it feel going into a record shop for the first time?
HA: Not specifically which release, but I remember Probe had it on the wall with one of their stickers on the front saying “You should listen to this release…” I think that felt as satisfying as anything else we did really. D: I love in-shop information, what else is important in a shop to you? HA: I’d probably say dark corners… something that isn’t so brightly lit, where you can drift into the background a bit and have a look through on your own, like basements. You can spend a really long time in a record shop if you don’t feel out of place or obliged to buy something. For me it has to all be nice and relaxed.
Pantha Du Prince Pantha Du Prince is the principal musical guise of Hendrik Weber, fusing house, techno and wider aural palettes like field-recordings and unworldly sonics. An avid collector of, unsurprisingly, all things from techno to “rare stuff that no one likes to listen to”. We wanted to know about the buildings that he bought it all from...
Deluxe: In terms of your own personal collection of music… is it quite eclectic? Hendrik Weber: Very yes, but I just had to pack it all up in the Autumn as I had to move. For me it was kind of horrific. I have a lot of techno records but I didn’t realise I had so many, you know, I am not a DJ so I do not always look at them. I realised that I had all these old records from my father through the sixties and seventies, it’s very hard to archive it all and to put it all in the right storage… at least organise it. I think it’s like my music in that way, it’s intuitive but it is based on how I remember it. I vaguely know where things are, but luckily I always find them when I look for them… I don’t think anybody could ever understand the system I use to organise them all.
friends as I would play records at their house and they would really be mad at me the next day as I would never put the vinyl back into the right sleeve. “Where is this record man… where did you put it?!” For me it is really about what I want to listen to right now. D: I have to admit that if you came to my house and put all the records in the wrong sleeve I’d get mad too… HW: (laughing) It is even worse with those techno DJs because they only spin vinyl and they are always looking for the cover. It is such a visual process and it is hard to disconnect from the sleeve and the record. You can imagine if they are playing in front of like five hundred people it is drama. For a DJ it is the worst thing you can imagine I think.
D: So you’re not alphabetical? HW: No! (laughing) Alphabetical is just horrible. It’s not working. It’s not working! For me it is about sections, like “British Indie Pop goes into German Kraut”, then you have Electronic Music from the eighties, then it would turn into Techno or something… actually… no. You know, I just can’t explain it, it is chaotic. I had many arguments with DJ
I love my collection, I love the records and they are part of my identity but it is also hard to understand what - as a structure - it really is. It is non-rational, it is about my aesthetic and when I want to listen to something D: Listening to your new LP I had suspected that you would listen to a broader range of music, well genres even.
Although electronic music it feels like a in that Hollywood way of presenting things. I don’t feel any connection with band record... that element of live performance. I like the riskiness, that things can go wrong HW: I tried very hard to make a band and how do we react? I think people record, but I am not sure that it really worked out. It was a very idiosyncratic around me are always nervous about way of having a band in my head… like this but it is very much more human, it is a situation and a moment... a virtual band I guess. I think I am always trying to get to the point where you have the human touch back. It was D: … and is that frightening? made with digital things, but I think it has the rawness of the band but also the HW: Yes, it has a certain anxiety, that solitary electronic music line. I want to anxiety keeps you alive. avoid giving direction on how to listen D: Do you think on some level you to it. want things to go… well, a bit wrong? D: Well as soon as it is released it is HW: (laughing) Yeah! I love it when no longer yours. It’s your art but your music will become part of… well, it will there is a feedback loop in my delay and I don’t know how to stop it… but become anybody’s in a way. that is the moment and it is like ‘okay, this is also alive, it is an organism’ - it is HW: Yes, and for me it is a very like something has been produced that cathartic process, in some ways like a birth. It can be both painful and joyous I do not know what it is, but it is part of the music and needs to be there… the at the same time, but always really music needs to be free, especially when intense. Also on a personal level it is always intense, it seems that whenever I finish a record I move house… or I get kicked out or something happens and I have to move, always a major moment. (laughing) I am happy when the world can take it. D: Drawing more parallels to birth, it is frightening to you?
HW: The visual aspect is a core aspect for me. It stays with me before even the music has started and creates a certain visual aesthetic. For me it is part of the story, it is a level of conscious decision making that begins with the selection of that album visually on a shelf and that connects with the music. Artwork can also be a diary almost, like a sketchbook. I have a referential system of notes and sketches and photos that connect to an archive of sounds and it is all interweaving and resonating. When you experience it together you can really find a new dimension in the music and you can appreciate the image in a new perspective. D: I think talking about your own work, I was obsessed with the Black Noise album artwork. It’s a really overpowering image, it’s quite unnerving… almost confusing in some ways.
“One of the most important experiences in that part of my life was to go into a store and to have a recommendation from a guy who worked in a record store. It was magic to me...”
HW: No, it is not frightening in the way that you might think, like if I am expecting a reaction or a critic might ignore it or write good things, it is just not my way to follow it. What gets through to me is when people really understand the journey you know? That is more in the concert, when you can see that people have listened to it and they are part of the team, it is when it goes somewhere else. That is more interesting for me than the whole thing like “how many did we sell” or “what newspaper wrote about it”. I want the record to be out so that people can pick up the energy and bring it back to you are stood there behind all these us, it is very relieving. machines. It creates an energy that you otherwise just wouldn’t have had. D: So the next phase of the album is very much about live then? D: As an opposite, one thing that you can meticulously control is the artwork. HW: Yes, very much so. Live for me is about rawness and an unfinished way of What is your approach to it and how presenting things. Sometimes it is kind much of an influence on you is the artwork? of awkward, like it is not quite at the right point… not a polished AV show
HW: Black Noise especially it has a certain dissonance to it, there is something wrong with it. You want to believe that it is all okay, but there is something wrong. On the surface it is nostalgic and it takes you in its arms as embracing, peaceful and calm but it’s just not true. It was an appropriated image so you are taking artwork from somebody else and you restructure
and reframe the image and it becomes something else. D: Talking of isolation, you grew up in a remote part of Hesse, did you have a record shop?
producer and I was probably eight year sold or maybe seven years old. I bought this 12” record and it was called “Maria Magdalena”. After that I was really hooked on records, I was obsessed with going and finding more and more. I was lucky growing up at that moment in the city as there was a very good indie scene and a very good techno scene.
HW: No, not really. My parents always had records. My mother collected classical music and my father collected Beatles, Pink Floyd… a lot of progressive rock - so my childhood had D: What made it a good scene? records around. HW: Probably because it was close D: What was your first real experience to the GDR border and there was a lot of transit between Frankfurt and of a music shop then? Berlin, a lot of travelling. It was a very interesting time and there were two or HW: When I was older I moved to three stores at the same time who had Paris and met a guy who wanted to new and interesting music from all over open a boutique, so I offered him certain concepts and there we sold a lot the World. Today it is much less you know, it is kind of hard to find things. of experimental and techno records. It was in St. Germain and it was before In most of the small cities it is a tough Paris really had any shops for electronic business for these record stores. Maybe I just grew up in the right time? music or experimental music… so people would really come from all over D: So the feeling was discovery? to buy all the new stuff. I met Jacques Bon and that concept eventually ended HW: Yes, but also identifying. I up becoming Smallville. I gave all the records to Jacques. The Smallville Paris didn’t have an older brother or an uncle or anything. I had to go on store is now based on the foundations my own and connect with a certain of the records that came from that emotional identity. It was so inspiring, bankrupt boutique. it was completely about creating my personality through music. It separated D: What was your first memory of a me from my family and my teachers record shop? How did it feel? and other guys in my class you know? I think record shops are so important… HW: Woh! I think in Kassel (Hesse). One of the most important experiences they should have a certain cultural funding you know? Like a museum. in that part of my life was to go into a store and to have a recommendation D: I’m down with that… I guess what from a guy who worked in a record we’re saying is that you can’t synthesize store. It was magic to me, you are human interaction… no matter how looking for something and you are explaining what you want and they can clever iTunes gets. just give you all these other records HW: Yes… we are all biological that you don’t know you didn’t want creatures and we need to interact with to listen to. You would sometimes other biological creatures. I think there discover these things that are so is also one piece of psychology… you extraordinary, outside of your own cosmos. It was always down to this guy need to know you are the coolest guy in the world and the guy in the record you know? He knows much more that store needs to give you this feeling… you as this fifteen year old kid, it is almost like an initiation moment. Like You should be like some sort of guru to these kids. You can change lives with when they handed me the first Stone the right tip and the right moment to Roses record “you might like this, the right kid… well, any human being. some guys from England” and you’re It was for me for sure. like WOOOH. But the first time was really profane. It was a number one hit in Germany, a big hit. I think Frank Farian was the
Photographed by Asha Mines
Federico Albanese Milan-born, Berlin-based Federico Albanese is a self-described ‘Piano Poet’, composer of striking, intricate and cinematic chamber music. Just ahead of the launch of his new LP “The Blue Hour” inspired by the transitions between day and night we talked feelings, sleeping and shopping.
Deluxe: How are you? Are you well? Where are you? What are you doing right now and what does 2016 have in store for you?
you’re happy or you’re struggling... that uncertain middle world made of floating shady, blurry, feelings. D: What is your relationship with sleep like?
Federico Albanese: Hi, I’m good thanks. Lying on my couch at the moment, taking some time off. I’m in Berlin right now, and I’m preparing for the tour that will start next week. I’m very excited about 2016, it’s going to be a big year for me, I’ll be touring a lot! D: I really liked the phrase ‘piano poet’... do you feel like the music you are writing needs to be decoded? It is very subtle. FA: No I don’t think so, I don’t think any music should be universally decoded. Unless it’s something very conceptual. I like to think that everyone has his own way to decode music, that’s why it triggers different emotions in different people.
FA: I love sleeping. I believe it is an essential part of life itself, it’s always disclosing parallel universes and deep thoughts, a big part of my music is inspired by the night herself. There is one piece in the new record called “And we follow the Night”. I was imagining the Night being a person you have to follow, talk to, hug, travel with. D: As a resident of Berlin you’re pretty spoiled for great record stores. Do you have a favourite? FA: Yes I do. I mean it is actually the one which is quite close to where I live, and it has the best name too: “The Record Store Berlin”, simply amazing. There I bought quite a lot of gorgeous records in the past three years.
D: The album seemed to me to be very much about feelings? D: Do you visit others? Berlin has loads (laughing). FA: Yes indeed. Undefined feelings. Unclear ones. “The Blue Hour” is when you’re not sure if you hate or love,
FA: I can tell you that I’m a pretty conservative person regarding shops, so when I find one that suits my needs I
kind of stay with it. So I haven’t been in many record stores in Berlin.
D: Your own music, which was the first you saw for sale in a record store?
D: How about on your travels, that feels less like cheating. Which record stores across the globe, for you, have been the...
FA: It was a few years ago in a good record store in Berlin Prenzlauerberg. A friend of mine told me about that and I went to check it out.
D: How did that feel?
FA: Amoeba Music in Los Angeles.
FA: It was a curious feeling, in between joy and complete panic.
“weirdest” FA: I haven’t seen a weird one yet… “most well stocked” FA: I guess Amoeba Music too. “most surprising” FA: Every record shop it’s actually quite surprising, as you will always find a record to buy, and you will be surprised because you actually found that record there.
D: Where did you grow up? And which was the first record store you visited? FA: The first one wasn’t a store. It was Saturday’s flea market down my street. There was an odd guy with a stand full of cassettes and LPs, I remember his face so well and his smell too. I guess he was drinking quite a lot and he always looked so wasted at nine in the morning on Saturdays. I mean I was eight or nine years old asking a lot of questions, like “What’s this? and what’s that?” and I remember him trying to just avoid me.
D: What is the scene like for record shopping in Milan? - I’ve good things about Serendeepity. FA: That’s pretty much the only one, there is also Buscemi Dischi which is quite good and historic too. But Milan is not so well known for record stores I’d say… at least ‘til four years ago... now maybe it has changed. D: Looking back, do you remember your first purchase? What music, on what format? FA: Michael Jackson - Thriller cassette tape. I still have it. D: What record in your collection do you think might most surprise people? FA: I have quite a few Italian records from the 60s and 70s, Lucio Dalla, Adamo,Ornella Vanoni and so on... (laughing) which is even surprising for me! D: Who else have been significant artists of influence for you? FA: Jon Hassel, Harold Budd, Television, Steve Reich, Brian Eno, Miles Davis and so on... D: Oh, and how about now? Who has been inspiring you? Give us a tip? FA: I listen to music all the time, not a genre or an artist in particular. Lately I’m actually listening a lot to the new Lana Del Rey record and to some classic jazz at the same time. All kinds of music is inspiring. Also cinema for me is a great source of inspiration. I recently watched The Lobster, by Greek director Giorgos Lanthimos, a great picture.
Photographed by Beniamino Barrese
Thomas Cohen In May Thomas Cohen, the former S.C.U.M frontman, releases his debut solo album “Bloom Forever” via Stolen Recordings. A swooning set of songs running chronologically through the most unbelievably turbulent of times. We asked him to pick five albums that had an impact on him and more importantly, locate where he had acquired them.
Deluxe: So not necessarily in chronological order, where do you want to being? Thomas Cohen: I am going to start with a place called “Hank’s” in Crystal Palace. Upstairs is like a junk shop with leather jackets, then downstairs is boxes of records. It is the kind of place where you think you’re just going to find Tom Jones and Moog musical covers, but it is actually… well, pretty much every time I go in there I find a record that I am looking for. Last winter I went in there and happened to be really searching out “Veedon Fleece” by Van Morrison… it wasn’t on iTunes, I didn’t want to do eBay, it’s not on Spotify yet and it was just sat waiting for me at Hank’s which made me super happy. I think I’d heard the track
“Fair Play” from a friend quite a lot, but once I heard the whole record I was just so in love with it. I still listen to it at least once a week. D: Remind me as I know Crystal Palace a little, is Hank’s part of the indoor market? TC: No, it’s not the market… it does look like it, there is a cafe which is new and good furniture place and a guy with a great collection of English leather jackets. The records are pretty modest, about six racks and certainly not categorized in obvious genres… (laughing) but I always find what I am after.
D: And in terms of their pricing...
D: They were such a visual band.
TC: Oh super good, good prices and it all changes regularly. TC: Exactly, but you can easily miss the music which on that first record was outstanding. D: So Hank’s of Crystal palace is the first stop, where from D: So what was the name of this shop then… I am assuming there? you didn’t pay? TC: Well, right back to the start and the very first time TC: (laughing) Nope, I didn’t pay. Well, it would be I showed any interest in a record. It was The Damned, “Keith’s”. “Damned Damned Damned” which was in my dad’s wardrobe… (laughing) which was located next to my room D: (laughing) And where then from Keith’s? upstairs in my house… it wasn’t his everyday wardrobe, it was the wardrobe where he kept an old Levi’s jacket and TC: Well the first album I bought for myself was “Bleach” bizarrely his records. I think some of my mum’s were in by Nirvana in Essential Music in Greenwich Market… and there, Pink Floyd and a little more proggy, but his albums - in terms of genre - were all over the place. I think I would you know from who? Seminal new-rave musician Jamie Reynolds. I would have been 13… no, younger, 12 I think. I have been about nine and I remember staring at the back remember him as he was always in there looking like he was cover for such a long time. Do you know the back cover? in Supergrass or headbanging a bit. I wanted to talk to him. I think it cost £6 on CD. D: Not memorably, the front sleeve is the one with all the cake isn’t it? D: How did that feel going to that shop for the first time? TC: Yes! Which I was also obsessed with, but on the back TC: It felt like the first place I saw any kind of subculture, image Captain Sensible has cut himself out and stuck his you could go there and basically buy second-hand stuff… face to the monitor as he was facing the wrong way in the it became the weekend ritual. Buying for the first time I photo. I listened to it so much, the last track is a Stooges cover and I remember that was the first time that I was aware felt like, on listening to it, enlightened as I was listening to music that sounded like how I felt. of a guitar solo being “really cool”... I definitely rolled around with a tennis racket before I got my first guitar. It D: How about the staff, including Jamie… really had such a massive effect on me in terms of the sound and also the image of the band.
Photographed by Victor Gutierrez
“looking back they put me onto Roxy Music, MC5, Joy Division - for a 13-14 year old by that point it was amazing. If it wasn’t for that shop I likely couldn’t have got those CDs… certainly not in like… Woolworths?” TC: I think there probably was a little bit of hostility, because I was 12 (laughing) and it was a music shop and we probably shouldn’t have been wasting their time. I couldn’t afford to buy CDs all the time, probably just on birthdays and Christmases but I always got CDs there because I remember the labels, looking back they put me onto Roxy Music, MC5, Joy Division - for a 13-14 year old by that point it was amazing. If it wasn’t for that shop I likely couldn’t have got those CDs… certainly not in like… Woolworths? D: I am glad to hear that they set you up for life… good work. Where did you end up from there then? TC: Well if it is okay, the last two choices are from flea markets. I really remember both occasions so specifically. The fourth pick is Serge Gainsbourg’s Histoire de Melody Nelson and that was in Berlin at the Mauerpark market. It was New Year’s 2010 going into 2011, I think it was the 2nd of January and it was so unbelievably cold. I had all the wrong clothing, definitely not enough… like, your boot goes into five or six
inches of ice… so I was shuffling along right at the end of the market and I saw Melody Nelson just sat there at the front of a box. It is such an amazing sleeve, in fact my album cover definitely references it in the colours. Everything about it is so stunning, from Jean-Claude Vannier’s arrangements to the choir parts and bass parts and of course Serge himself. I think it became my favourite album of all time… if ever you have to answer that one. D: I hope the album cleansed you of the extreme buying conditions. TC: Well later that year, in the summer thankfully, I was on tour and went to a market in Zurich and found Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young “Déjà Vu” which I hadn’t heard before funnily enough. It was the one record that I saw randomly in a box of toys, so I bought it. The tour ended up being cut short so I just went home and played it and couldn’t stop. I think having that love and passion for collecting anything really is so important, wherever you go in the world there is a place to seek out and to search through you know? I ended up being stuck for a day in North Carolina when I missed a flight and if I didn’t have things to collect and obsess over, be it records, clothing, militaria… what the fuck would I have done for the day in Raleigh North Carolina? If in doubt, I just head to the part of town where the record shop is, that is where you’ll find the cool bookstore, the cool clothes store, the best cafe you know. D: In this issue one of the themes that has come up has been about getting younger people into record shops and what that can mean to them. TC: Well exactly, it is a pathway into an entirely different world you know. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if I hadn’t found that Damned record in my dad’s wardrobe. A lot of my outlook on life is through music or from music, it has healed and it has exaggerated and it is all down to that first time. D: I hope that record shops change lives every day. TC: I think they do.
record store day releases:
FAT POSSUM RECORDS
I G o t t a Tr y Yo u G i r l
(Daft Punk Edit)
The Songs of Junior Kimbrough
D a y Wa v e
Headcase/Hard to Read
m a y 5 th
j u n e 1 0 th
Yu n g
A Yo u t h f u l D r e a m
w w w. f a t p o s s u m . c o m
Quilt Imaginative and woozy, Quilt are a band we’ve followed avidly over the last few years. Originally out of Boston, there is always the sound in their work of something you know, something hazy, reimagined and brought back into new focus. We asked three-quarters of the band about their most recent and memorable purchases, and of course… from where. Shane Butler: I feel super lucky to live in the centre of a few prime record stores. I live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn which is home to Co-Op 87, Captured Tracks Shop, Academy Records, and The Thing… which all have their own unique selections.
like Nelly, Juvenile, 50 Cent — you know… all the hits. And also just an endless array of things from all eras… This is where you wanna go when you wanna go crazy and search for shit to sample. You might find some emeralds if you look deep enough here.
Co-Op is somewhere I go to get old classics on the cheap and weirdo experimental shit as they often have some prime New Age selects and offshoot noise / experimental records. One of my fav buys recently here was an Osian Ellis record of kind of bizarre operatic harp songs. Also picked up a cheap copy of Imagine by Johnny boy so I could listen to “Gimme Some Truth” over and over. Grab and go style.
Also — got to give a shout out to Deep Thoughts in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. This place is one of my favourite all time record shops — even after travelling a lot and visiting too many to name. Nick Williams and his crew have one of the best selections I’ve ever seen. Well, at least it matches my taste. A lot of weirdo experimental records, punk, jazz, spiritual, dub… what have you. Also, every time I’ve gone in I’ve been recommended a record to take home that has exceeded my expectations. The most recent was a record of a raga vocalist who had studied with La Monte Young and Terry Riley (I think possibly even with their teacher Pandit Pran Nath) — the record is released on Mississippi Records (also a great shop / label) and is under the name Deva Loka by Michael Sterling.
Captured Tracks is pretty eclectic and the used bins usually have stacks of good finds. Recently I got ESG’s selftitled LP, discovered a Quebecois artist named Jacques Michel who I’ve fallen in love with to a small degree, got some 2008ish noise albums (Not Not Fun, Night People, etc…) and they also have a great selection of LPs from around the world. Lots of Indian bhajans, dub, weird spoken word albums… fun to search the bins and bring home strange finds... The Thing is this weirdo junk shop in Greenpoint that just has media falling off the walls — all kinds of books, records, tapes, what have you. Their record collection is insane — it actually makes me feel crazy when I go in. It’s like the blackhole that a lot of LPs pressed in the 90s ended up because everyone was buying CDs. So you can find a lot of good old radio-rap albums
John Andrews: I got an original Racoon Records pressing of Michael Hurley’s “Hi Fi Snock Uptown” at Academy Records in Brooklyn. I also really love the Princeton Record Exchange in New Jersey. I recently got Chris Cohen’s “Overgrown Path” there. If you haven’t heard that record check it out. He’s a really amazing artist and he’s recording my friend Natalie Mering (Weyes Blood) in LA right now. Anna Rochinksi: JJ Cale, Naturally
- I got this record at Hot Horse in Knoxville, Tennessee. I like this store because they sell records, vintage clothes, and vintage music gear all at the same time, as well as fun doodads. Every time we are on tour and in Knoxville, we make a trip to Hot Horse. Francoise Hardy, Canta Per Voi In Italiano - I got this record at Deep Thoughts in Jamaica Plain. Our buddies from Boston started this record store. It’s hands-down the best one I’ve ever been to for anything slightly weird, fringe, hard-to-find, underground, etc. They have plenty of normal stuff in there too but their selection is really impressive if you’re looking for something a little more specific than Peter Frampton Live. Gun Club - Fire of Love - I got this record at Academy Records in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I like the big open space here, and I think their prices are reasonable for how wideranging and solid their selection is. More Sorcery - Gabor Szabo - I got this record at Love Garden in Lawrence, Kansas. This is another place we all make sure to hit up on tour. Just a really solid shop in downtown Lawrence, near a really good antique market. Miles Davis - Bitches Brew - I got this record at Co-Op 87 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Small but mighty. They’re also so nice - I asked if they had a copy of this when we came in to record Plaza next door, and they ended up saving a copy for me next time it came through the shop. So cool!
A bit of Rough by Kyle Lonsdale
Picture the scene. The year is 2036 and my children – some 20 guitars (with the exception of – strangely unquestioned years after their births – have finally taken an interest in me. by every other member of staff – “Back For Good” by I imagine the conversation to go something like this: Take That). To say that we discussed the matter with some ferocity is to put it mildly - though nothing of course in CHILD 1: < opens up human interaction interface > So. Mum. comparison to the Great Air Conditioning Debate of winter Music, yeah? I’ve heard that people used to actually SELL 2003. it. In real shops and stuff. So pre-apocalypse! I joined the company at a really exciting time. “Vinyl HAGGARD OLD WOMAN WEARING A revival” hadn’t yet passed the lips of any major label Harry, THREADBARE “KRAFTWERK? JA BITTE!” and there was a real DIY element to a lot of the releases that passed through the shop. This was hardly a new concept, but T-SHIRT: That’s right, son. it really felt as though the folk putting independent music CHILD 2: < streams Adele ‘45’ directly onto temporal lobe > out had an awareness of just how important it was for them to have a vested interest, rather than stuffing a CD into a CHILD 1: Right. Though I’m naturally suspicious of jewel case and having done with it. The music we sold wasn’t anything that happened in your life before my arrival, I’ll purely functional – there were lino prints and letterpress; humour you this time. Tell me more. stamps and stickers. All of which nurtured the sense that perhaps there was an alternative to simply finding music at HOWWATKJBTS: Well. Gather your emotion-processing the best price – that perhaps the human element was worth software and I will tell you a tale. A tale of a little place we something too. liked to call “Rough Trade”... Which brings me neatly to Rough Trade East, and our To a girl brought up in the depths of unashamedly extended (Addams) Family. Opened in July 2007, I made backwards Cornwall, the idea that I might one day work the move from a basement in Talbot Road to this 5000 in the music industry seemed an impossible dream. To square foot behemoth, and found, if not my spiritual home, own the truth, the idea that I might work at all was fairly then certainly my spirit animals. There was Noreen (more spurious; what hope for a child of Mousehole? Employment knowledgeable about all the permutations of metal than a opportunities were twofold (post office, pub) and hotly 5th generation ironmonger) who was routinely cast aside contested. So when I finally hitched my knapsack to my when it came to a bit of over-the-counter chat regarding back and set off for the streets of London (humming, the latest Sunn O))) album - “you’re alright darlin’, I’ll wait coincidentally, Ralph McTell’s “The Streets Of London”) for your fella there”. The resulting schooling that these every opportunity looked like the stuff of fantasy. It was last dregs of sexism received was always nothing short of here that I came upon a charming little boutique called magnificent, and a pleasure to behold. The wonderful thing “Topshop” and lived out my days selling clothes at a 700% here is that these gents usually became loyal customers, mark-up. Kidding! That wouldn’t be much of a story (and seeking Nor out, in the same way that they had for the male besides, I still have 1,700 words to use up). contingent of the shop in old times. And so – a few years and a several hundred rungs up the retail ladder later – to Rough Trade, where I found... well, Sean Forbes, actually. A man that was (and remains) completely at home with everything that he is. “Wotcha. Nige tells me you’re into wafty kaftan music. Don’t think you’ll be playing any of that in here.” “Wafty kaftan music” turned out to be anything that didn’t include several electric
There was Margot, your gal for all things electronic (Sean Forbes translation: “robot music”) - again, an expert in her field, whose enthusiasm was never beat. The only thing that let Margot down was that interactions with the customers sometimes got lost in translation – Margot hailing, as she does, from New Zealand. The schadenfreude-tinged joy at pulling out The Smiths after watching my antipodean friend
There was Nigel, whose ebullience for working in a record shop never seemed to wane. Not for Nige a life behind a desk – too much to be done There was Marc who – poised behind the counter, literally serving a customer on the front line! I suspect that he had this same enthusiasm when he started – fielded the question “Do you work the job, some 150 years ago... the only here?” with astonishing sanguinity on more than one occasion. (Marc may difference being that he has a bit more also have been the member of staff that face to wash these days. was asked for “Gypsy Bebop” (genre) There was Sean. Always Sean. There but that is truly the stuff of Rough are any number of anecdotes I could Trade folklore...) relay here, as anyone who has met him will attest, but my favourite by far is There were Spencer (“The Mighty when “One Bedroom” by The Sea and Atom”) and Phil whose attempts at Cake was released, and instead reached masculinity once found them try to Rough Trade’s shelves as “The Sean solve the (short-lived, mercifully) and Cake” (so accustomed as he was to rat problem with a tin of paint and a typing the ‘n’). broom. type “Das Meats” into the database for the 5th time is truly a golden memory.
And there was me. Lone wolf in the world of wafty music, and very happily so. On the - not as rare as you’d think - occasions that a customer muttered the F-word, it was always a thrill to hear the call of “Kyle! One of your lot” from across the shop, and to run to their aid, arms laden with Pentangles, Pete Seegers and Pour Down Like Silvers. And it was in much this fashion that I found myself There was Sid – who started life under where I am now (hello Label Manager our roof as an intern and was (and of Earth Recordings, cough cough). remains) the only one to have found gainful employment at Rough Trade in Approached by James Nicholls – who this way. Always the first in and the last I run Earth with, alongside our pal Al - to do some A&R, after noticing out, Sid would leave for the day, arms that Josephine Foster (of sister label inky with biro where he’d relayed the Fire) rarely left my staff listening post. day’s soundtrack, so as not to forget. We quickly realised that my brain He restored our faith in the children was better deployed at newly formed of the 90s who passed through during various work experience weeks... not all reissue label Earth and the rest is of them were up to their iPads in Meow history... Meow and MP3s, apparently. There were John and Kelly – his’n’hers pin-ups of the shop, and the subjects of affection for many a teenager in a Nirvana T-shirt. (My only personal foray into the world of customer crushes being the man who repeatedly – no matter how many times I showed him the Industrial section – asked for Throbbing Gristle.)
I don’t have a lot of time for the RSD naysayers. They are exactly the sort of people that dislike a band when they find a modicum of popularity. They prefer their music – their lives, I expect – as rarefied and misunderstood. Well, good luck to them. Yes, Record Store Day is bigger and more inclusive than it was 5 years ago but what’s wrong with that? Nobody is asking the shops to take the stock, nobody is asking the customers to buy it. “Ah yes, but isn’t every day is Record Store Day?” they holler back, banging their wizened fists on a stack of first editions by Minty Chopstick and The Clubfoots (what do you mean you haven’t heard of them) - to which I’d answer, no it isn’t. Just as you only get one birthday in a year but still have to find a way to exist, cake-less and without balloons for the rest of the time, so too do record shops and record store day. It’s a bloody celebration, you morons! Ultimately it comes down to the way a record shop runs itself. Brilliantly curated selection, chosen by knowledgeable, caring people 364 days of the year? Chances are they’ll apply those same criteria to the 365th. And that’s what it’s about really, the people. That lot up there are some of the ones I was lucky enough to work with, but there are folk like them all over the country. Ignite a conversation, foster a relationship, bring them a coffee (god knows they need it). And if you really want that Minty Chopstick and The Clubfoots 13” picture disc, ask them. They’ll probably order it in for you... against their better judgement.
Published on Apr 12, 2016
A newspaper about record shops. In this issue; Parquet Courts, Frank Turner, Pantha Du Prince, YAK, Thomas Cohen and new words from Alex Nei...