NOTORIOUS L.P: URBAN VINYLMarch 30, 2013
Boy-oh-boy do we have some news for you. Urban Outfitters now stock second hand vinyl! It’s the truth! With instore vinyl rooms recently installed at UO Marble Arch and UO Leeds, these store spaces come complete with tester turntables and rows upon rows of awesome LP’s. Just look at this…
Urban Outfitters Leeds
Urban Outfitters Marble Arch
We’ll also be setting up shop in Urban Outfitters Bristol next month. Here are some gems you’ll be able to get your hands on…
Working closely with independent record shops to support the core values of vinyl survival, we have sourced an eclectic mix of 12” LP’s just waiting to find a new home. Vinyl hunting is a perilous task, so who better to talk to than one of our record sourcing friends Tom Fisher from London’s Rat Records. We wanted to know all about the world of a vinyl lover and how the journey begins for the very LP’s you can now find in our stores.
Could you tell us a little bit about how Rat Records began?
I was a Student and also really skint, and I was always in to music. So one day I thought I’d set up a booth and sell my records. It went really well, I sold this Jungle Brother’s album for 5 pounds. I still remember the joy of getting 5 pounds and I thought to myself, I could get in to this. If I could sell records, I could take that money and buy some more records with it. Then after a while I thought, this is better than a job, I’m going to stick with this. It kind of evolved; there wasn’t any master plan about it.
Is that the only job you have ever had then?
I actually worked in a pork pie factory before I went to Uni, so yeah it was and still is my only job.
We’ve heard a lot about how you like to travel around a lot trying to source out records and collections.
Yes, I’m in the middle of negotiating and trying to go to Barry Island to buy a massive collection of Jazz, and then Cornwall to buy a really good Indie Rock collection. The only way I can do it is on the family holiday, and my wife gets really fed-up with this sort of thing, but I think I may be able to win her round this time. Basically I spend my whole time travelling round buying records.
Where’s the most obscure place you’ve been to buy records?
A house in a Nature Reserve on the Hebridean Island of Ila, that was a pretty hardcore visit, I had to get there on a ferry. I also had to go to Bangor in Northern Island and buy out a whole record shop in one day. i.e. Go on the 6 o’clock plane and have everything packaged to be back on the 9 o’clock plane out.
Did you find many good records?
Yes, It was really sad. It was a shop going bust, they had the bailiffs coming in so they needed to sell all of this stuff on that day. I went in and basically said ‘we want that, that, that, not that, that, that that’ packaged it all up, called up Parcel Force and went for a drink.
That’s cool. Do you have your own personal collection?
*Points to huge collection in corner of room*
See that there? The tiny bit in the corner? That’s the stuff I can bare to sell, I’m saving that for record store day.
How many records do you think you have in your own personal collection then?
It’s not actually that many, I did have a whole room, floor, ceiling and shelves and them all over the floor. My wife back then said, why are you driving around in a 300-pound transit van and you have all of these records. Why don’t you just keep 2000 and get an Audi. I am now going for a sort of heritage thing where I keep the best. I think I have a 1000? I don’t think it’s bad for a middle-aged man.
What would you say is the most rare record you have ever found?
I was called to a buy in West London and the guy who turned out to be Ronnie Wood’s from The Stones builder. At some point the water had burst and flooded out the garage where all of Ronnie’s record collection was. So Ronnie would of gone ‘You take them mate’. He had given this guy all of his records; it was just the most blinding collection of 60’s kind of blues and 50’s kind of R’n’B albums. They were all knackered and water damaged, but I couldn’t bare to leave them. So I got to the bottom of the collection and there were a couple of blank records, they had a sort of Apple label on them. So I took them and I didn’t really think anything more of it.
I got them home and started to listen to them, one of them was a Tina Turner record. This other one was a 70’s rhythm and blues track and it had Mick Jagger singing on it. I knew it wasn’t The Stones, but definitely Mick Jagger. It basically turned out to be a long lost recording of Mick Jagger with Jack Bruce, Billy Preston, and John Lennon produced it. It had never been released, but however had been bootlegged. I actually had the acetate, which was a test press of it, so I thought I’ve got a Beatles and Stones collaboration here. This was all before eBay, so I put it in an auction house and called my cousin who is a Journalist.
And it just went totally mental, we got chased by a satellite van down the M4 asking ‘can we to interview you for Sky’ and we were like ‘Why? Is it for the news?’ And he replied ‘No it’s a really good story of The Beatles and The Stones’. There was all of this media heat generated from this record, then someone mentioned to me ‘Have you got a hold of Mick Jagger? Because he most probably doesn’t have a copy of this record?’
So I rang up his people and I said ‘Look, I have this really rare copy of a record Mick made and do you think he would like to buy it?’ and they said ‘We will get back to you on that’. I didn’t hear anything from them for a while, so I rang back up again and asked if they could send me a certificate to authorize the record. However he refused to authorize the record, but when it came to the actually sale it was bought by a mystery bidder…
Lets talk more about your store. Do you have any quirky regulars that come in to the shop?
We don’t have any non-quirky regulars who come in to the shop, I would put it that way. Camberwell is a kind of Elizabethan part of London, with something odd always going on. Its actually a really great area for music, its quite a happening. You have a lot of artistic people there. It’s a really interesting area, and you have an awful amount of people dropping by. I have had shops all over London, however Camberwell is the best!
What’s your personal music taste?
When I am in the shop I’ll put anything on and sort of give it a go. But when I’m at home, seeing as I have so many records, I’ll listen to records alphabetically. So at the moment I am listening to B. Yesterday I was listening to Big Youth, then I listened to Big Star and then I listened to The Blasters and then Art Blakely.
We were going to ask what record you suggest that everyone should own? But it seems like an impossible task…
Tim Buckley – Greetings for LA, I think its just such a fab album.
So have you ever considered switching to digital?
Personally or in the store?
I do have a portable hard drive that I use when I travel around in the car, but I think its great that you can get music digitally and listen to music. You could also do that on the radio, if you put some effort in to it. What I think the trouble with digital is it doesn’t concentrate your mind on the music.
On that subject, Vinyl has boomed throughout the last couple of years. Everyone seems to be buying it. What are your thoughts on that?
This is actually a really interesting thing, it only really happened in the last year. Now what we have is an awful amount of younger people, I’m talking about under 30 who are really interested in music on vinyl as a format. They are really interested in the sound of records; the good thing about them is they actually have much wider taste. They are just really open, and its must more interesting for us. As we are noticing that we are selling records across almost all genres. I think its great for us and it is also a very interesting time!
Do you think there is a record that no one should own?
Avoid any mainstream 80’s & 90’s music.
No holy cows you want to bring down?
Major commercial hip-hop at the minute is a disgrace!
Well there we have it! Next time you find yourselves flicking through Vinyl in one of our stores, remember each and every record has it’s own story, who knows where it has come from and who used to own it? Expect to see more and more vinyl rooms popping up all over Urban Europe real soon, and check out our collections online too!
Until next time vinyl junkies!