THE RECORD SHOP SERIES / DRIFT
Drift Record Shop, Totnes. TQ9 5SN.
Drift has been open since the 90s, could you explain how it all began?
Back in the halcyon days of the mid nineteen-nineties, when high streets still had any value or worth at all, Drift had another name and was possibly the most antiquated of all businesses by today's standards. Drift was called 'Word Video & Music' and was a VHS rental library and stockists of occasional cross-over World music. I, Rupert Morrison, got involved and pushed us towards stocking more music as, if nothing else, it meant I could purchase stuff I was into at cost price. We gradually grew from VHS to DVD, from WV&M to Drift, from a tiny shop to spacious showroom, and just as the entire retail sector looks set to fall of the precipice, we now have the sort of shop that we always dreamed of: spacious, clean, light and stocked only with records we love and want to enthuse over. We have built ourself a beautiful mausoleum.
Could you tell us a bit about Sea Change and how it came about?
Really shite local scene. The big art college left and that vibrance was never replaced, so we needed something ostentatious and bold to bring people back. I think also we spent a lot of time at other festivals and it seemed like a nice opportunity to pick all the things we did not like about them and make something that we'd, as people, would want to go to. We built it and they came, we're now kind of stuck doing it... but we do love seeing these amazing talents in weird and wonderful little venue spaces.
Rupert wrote a piece for the Guardian earlier this year about Record Store Day and how it seems to have lost its way a little in recent years. Do you still participate in and enjoy the day? How do you think RSD can improve?
We do participate as we're not totally cantankerous and, to be blunt, it's a cash cow but the writing is on the wall for it. I think RSD is in a total mess and it's primarily run by people who do not like music, for people who do not really like music. Fetish culture, it's all about gimmicks. Caught up in all of that are the brilliant obsessives who still release great music and the brilliant obsessives who will queue up and purchase it. Love those guys, our people. I love bits of the day, but the whole event is pretty gross these days. I like the bits we control at Drift, but I think if RSD is to get any credibility and to stop becoming a corporate shill, then it needs to have courage and backbone. No one is curating it and it's just a mess of re-hashed ideas and bargain basement releases. The barrel has been scraped.
What are your top 5 albums of 2018 so far?
Man, we're still not sure. I think for one the Papa M album will get overlooked as it is extremely subtle, but it's masterful and a thing of utter beauty.
What is your favourite record of all time?
Big Star Number One Record.
Whats the best thing about working at Drift?
Daytime drinking. Getting people turned onto good music. Having a shop that women feel welcome in and encouraged to browse. Laughing at the hordes of people who come in and tell us that vinyl is coming back. That we can do what we like I guess...
What is exciting in your local music scene?
Sea Change and a whole lot of promise that, having hit the bottom, there is only one way up. There must be some great young bands in their earliest stages and I really hope that Drift and Sea Change are around long enough to be part of them growing into something special.
Do you have any interesting Drift related stories?
Uh, well, we do have famous and celebrated people coming to visit us and shopping on line with us, but I think more it's that we opened a big and different shop in the countryside and people thought it wouldn't work. We're still here. It doesn't always work, but we're proud we tried and there have been some nice moments of feeling like we made a difference.