Our beloved London certainly deserves to be on the list of the best cities to go shopping for vinyls. Even though most of the people turn to ordering their music online, nothing can beat the feeling of going to a shop for some crate digging and being able to find some unknown and rare sounds. There are dozens of record shops spread across the capital covering every genre you can imagine, but we are going to focus on the best electronic music stores.
Location: 51 Poland St, Soho, London W1F 7LZ
Founded back in 2003, Phonica Records quickly established itself as the go to store for electronic music. The shop on Poland street stocks plenty of house, techno and various other sub-genres in between.
The store has 8 listening stations which you can use to be more informed of your selections. Most of the new releases have a write up accompanying it that is about a paragraph or so, consisting of a description of the artist and music that might give you a better idea of what the album is about. Phonica are also known for their infamous in-store events, from open decks nights to artists like Ellen Allien, Bicep, Roman Flügel, Daniel Avery for their new album launches. It's not a tourist spot, but it is a place to browse and people-watch and snoop.
Rough Trade East
Location: The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Ln, London E1 6QL
Rough Trade is a group of independent record shops in the UK and the US. The first Rough Trade shop was opened back in 1976 in Ladbroke Grove. Now they have 5 stores: Rough Trade East (London), Rough Trade West (London), Bristol, Nottingham and NYC.
Rough Trade East, is located in the former Truman's Brewery in a courtyard off Brick Lane and puts on free music gigs on a high-spec stage, allowing for an audience of 200. The shop sells some chart titles, music from bands without distribution deals and a quarter of the merchandise is vinyl. Every item, vinyl and CD, has a written description to encourage browsing and discovery. What is more, their electronic music catalog is pretty impressive! The shop has a fair trade Café and a 'snug' area with iMacs, sofas and desks. This shop is particularly great if you have time to spend while purchasing items and also want to grab a drink, network and meet like minded people and see your favourite artists in a small and intimate gigs.
Location: 44 Stoke Newington Rd, London N16 7XJ
One of the capital’s best looking record shops, Kristina is nestled in the heart of Dalston and serves a more experimental fare than most other spots. Great selection of genres - centred around House & Techno but reaching much further into the leftfield. This record store has a great cataloging system, the minimally clustered shelves and refined racks allow you to pin point exactly what sound and style of music you’re after. The staff are very friendly and knowledgeable and are always happy to get you to discover something new and share their passion.
Location: The CLF Art Cafe, 133 Rye Ln, London SE15 4ST
Rye Wax is located in the basement of Bussey Building, devoted to media in its physical form: vinyls, comics, prints, books, magazines and more. Enter the store through a small door that’s almost hidden in an alley and you will descent to a basement where you are welcomed by a bar, cafe that shares the space with the record store. The store has a great selection of all stripes and shares of new and second hand electronic music. Very relaxed atmosphere in the day and evening with a regularly hosted djs or live music. Always an eclectic mix of music being played, which adds to the independent spirit. One of the best records shops to spend vinylaxing!
Third Son is the alias of techno producer and DJ Joseph Thomas Price. Born into a musical family, Joseph studied many different styles of composition from an early age. In Third Son Joseph combines throaty basslines with fluttering synths and heavy percussion and, in doing so, enraptures his audience with a unique and refined sound.
In this interview he speaks to us about his experience within the music industry, journeying from when his initial interest was piqued, to the present day DJ playing to thousands. Take note, because this kind of information can be rather difficult to come by.
From what I understand you come from a musical background. Growing up what kind of music did you listen to; did you play any instruments?
My dad was a lecturer of music at a university, so I was always exposed to classic, jazz and experimental music. Anything you would expect from traditional instruments. My first instrument was the piano and then I moved onto more obscure wind instruments, but lets not talk about that.
By thirteen I was super keen on guitar, mainly because I wanted to play solos like John Frusciante and Steve Vai. Once I reached grade 8 I began transitioning into electronic music writing.
When did you first start appreciating house and techno and what artists initially inspired?
I was really into a band called sky eats airplane. It was rock music but with gnarly electronic synth sounds and FX. I then slowly started to discover bands like Massive attack and Autechre and then had a massive phase in my teens obsessed with Amon Tobin. It’s not technically techno, but that was really the gateway for me
What and why were you inspired to start DJing and producing? Tell us a bit about your first songs and your first gig.
I’ve always made music, whether it was on the piano or when I first found fruity loops on my brothers computer when I was about 14 years old. I used to be really into ambient music, probably derived from a combination of Mike Oldfield and Boards of Canada.
I was in bands for years as a teenager, but my first DJ gig wasn’t until uni, playing in the ‘Alternative' room at a commercial club. The sound system was questionable but it gave me a chance to try out early productions in a big room. I think it’s crucial to learn how tracks translate from the studio to a club as early on as possible, and you can only really do that by playing out.
Tell us a bit more about your early production and DJing. What was your first equipment like?
Production wise, a computer, pretty much. In fact I used to love making beats with Music 2000 on the Playstation as a kid, which was essentially just compiling loops - but it was great fun.
The first DJ rig I had was actually borrowed off my best mate in uni. It was an early version of Serato, some 1210’s, and a beasty old allen and heath.
You’ve come quite far from where you started, so how do your initial gigs compare to the shows you play now? What’s been your favourite show you’ve played?
After starting out at student nights it’s nice to now be playing venues where I can play exactly what I want to. My favourite gig so far was probably Space in Sharm. There were some really great moments, especially when I was playing my own tracks. There’s no better feeling that. It’s pure gratification.
You’ve made a fresh start with Third Son, but what aliases did you release under prior to changing your pseudonym?
Third Son is my third project. Before this I was releasing music under the alias Origins Sound with the same guy who lent me those decks. That project was a crucial part of the puzzle.
New artists often struggle to have their music listened to in a crowded market. How did you go about trying to get your music heard by a wider audience?
I was lucky enough to start with Kal, my manager. We sent out demos straight away and Noir signed my first EP within pretty much a week of conception.
After that for me it was about making as much music as I possibly could without skimping on quality. Signing material to a spread of labels early on certainly helped in getting off the ground, but it’s true - it is hard for young artists as there’s so much noise out there. That said, we’re now better equipped than ever before. Getting mixes out there, locking down gig bookings, and generally being pro-active about what you want to ultimately achieve will help your music find the right people.
Contacts can be very important within the music industry. Did you have any useful contacts before you started working in a more professional capacity?
Actually no, my contact list was pretty poor, but that’s why having a manger was so crucial for me early on.
I’m sure there are many things you wished you had been told before you were signed. What advice would you give to any budding producer or DJ?
To start with, focus on quality over originality. Trying to be original while learning the craft is impossible and you can get bogged down with the idea itself. Reach a point where you’re comfortable creating a range of sounds and original music will come as the sum of your influences.
You just moved from Bristol and are building a new studio. What has this process been like and what notable piece of equipment in the studio?
I’m now living in east London with a basement studio complete with LED ceiling (It came installed). For me the acoustic of the room is paramount, so probably my mega thick rugs and base traps. The Aira stuff is pretty fun to jam on and I have a couple of analogue keyboards, but I have so many great soft synths that I’ve used for so long now I feel I can pretty much create any sound from them e.g Arturia, Arp 2600, Jupiter 8, Sylenth 1.
You are currently signed to Sincopat. Why did you decide to sign to the label and what about their philosophy and sound attracted you to them?
I’ve always loved their music, more consistently than any other label actually. I also really like the way they work. They’re professional and uber cool guys.
You recently released your Get to the Chopper EP on Sincopat. What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any new music or exciting gigs?
Got a few follow up EPs with various labels, 303Lovers, Definitive, Underground Audio, and an EP with Einmusika that i’m looking forward to. Gigwise, I’m playing quite a bit in europe and the middle east at the moment. Doing my first India tour in November so pumped about that.