We at Bella Union are big fans of independent record stores. As it happens I have a lovely friend called Rupert who runs a fantastic store in Totnes, Devon. It’s called Drift. Rupert is a great supporter of independent music and helps connect a lot of people with great records.
I asked him a few questions -
The Drift Record Shop
HI RUPERT, can you tell us about your lovely record store?
At the moment it’s not much bigger than a living room, but we cram in a couple of thousands albums on CD and vinyl. We listen to everything we can and then cherry pick our favourite bits. I just wanted to make the record shop I always wanted to walk into. Welcome everyone in and play them something amazing.
We’re actually moving to a much bigger shop this April. We’ll be all set and open before Record Store Day. Bella Union exclusive info that is!
What’s the best thing about running a record shop?
Spending all day in a record shop! The nicest bit is people drop in all day to hang out and listen to music. Then people that don’t know we’re there stumble in and look amazed that they’re in a record shop… in a rural country farming town. People must say “it’s so nice to be in an actual record shop” about five/ten times a day. Makes you feel like you’re doing something worthwhile.
What’s on the stereo at the moment?
I’m listening to a few forthcoming bits today. Really liking Willis Earl Beal (out soon on XL) and the Dirty Three album (on the Bella!) – Field Music is my album of the month, and the new Earth album (“Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light II”) is a real game changer. Oh! and also had Robert Ellis on quite a lot.
Who’s your favourite customer?
I’ve got a couple of guys who turn up once a quarter and just bust a hole right through their credit card. It’s always fun when they are about as you can tell them about EVERYTHING that is currently rocking the stereo and you don’t have to worry about wether they can afford it. I love the record of the week guys as well. One guy moved to Belgium and still buys a record every week! My favourite of the year so far was a fairly young girl who’d been given a voucher for Christmas. She came in and listened to a few things (which is testament to how cool she is as I doubt I would have commanded the shop stereo at about 13 years old) – After about an hour she bought Count & Sinden. I gave her a tote bag as I thought she was so cool. I see her all over the place with it and her obligatory MASSIVE headphone on. I reckon she’ll probably be running the shop for me in about five years.
What other record stores would you recommend?
Jamie at Rooster in Exeter is a great guy, old school vinyl shopping. Rough Trade (both!) is always a pleasure and considering they are such a big deal the staff are always super nice if you chat to them. Intoxica (London) is just amazing, I listen to a LOT of music and I still know pretty much nothing when I walk through their doors… I always leave with a few treats. Brighton has a great record buying scene also and I think the guys at Rise are doing great things. I went to Amoeba in California and just couldn’t understand what was going on… that place is bigger than my local supermarket.
What are you excited about?
Palace Music re-issues on Vinyl (Later this month) and finally having a bit more shelf space!
Yep. This guy is a good friend and didn’t tell me for ages that he was working on an album, then I heard it! Pretty special.
We post all the things we’re listening to not he drift blog here: www.driftrecordshop.com
You can buy them online here, but we naturally prefer it if you come see us!