Friday, 13 February 2009

secretsundaze competition and catching up with a London vinyl legend

Chances are you won’t recognise his name, but as manager of London vinyl-mecca, Phonica records, and with regular DJ spots at giants including Fabric and Bugged Out, Simon Rigg is a distinguished force within modern electronic music. From a humble role at Oxford Street Virgin Records, Simon quickly progressed, via an ear for innovative records and an eye for a stylish set-up, to manage his own shop, Koobla. Two years later, the guys who own Vinyl Records and FACT magazine asked him to create a shop from scratch, and Simon understandably jumped at the opportunity. An old car showroom on Poland Street was duly purchased and, with help from Heidi & Tom Relleen, who now works at DC Recordings, Phonica was born.

Now, Friday afternoons in Phonica see many of London’s biggest DJs congregate for pre-weekend crate-filling, and he is the man presiding over it all. And he vets every record stocked personally, resulting in an unrivalled knowledge of new music, putting him amongst the Capital’s most influential characters. Lofi Hifi catches up with Simon to chat about marble records, afterhour parties and a 30,000 record collection…

What makes Phonica as important as it is to the London music scene?

We're just a shop selling records at the end of the day but we must have been doing something right over the years to still be here. Our stock and the staff are the main thing but the most important thing is the social side of it – its still a place where people can go and bump into other DJs, whether from London or visiting from Europe or the States.

Has owning a record store ever taken the fun out of collecting records and DJing?

After listening to records all day, the last thing i want to do when i go home is listen to music – I have to listen to lots of mediocre records because of the sheer volume of stuff that gets released, even on vinyl - but it would never take the fun out of collecting or djing,

Once in a while you add a new genre category at the store – how often do you have to add new ones? What's your view on constant new genres and sub-genres, is it important?

Not very often – I think we've only added Minimal & Dubstep in the last 5 years – and, in the case of Minimal, that's more to make it easier for people to find records, its all techno, really.

Do you get the final say in what records you stock? Have you ever boycotted a record based on personal dislike?

Of course, I choose what records we stock although we do stock some we don't like – obviously, we have to sell some records at the end of the day but there is always a high quality threshold.

You've been a regular guest at some of Europe's biggest nights – have you felt a marked change in the atmosphere and attitudes of party goers over the past 5 years? Are they getting more hedonistic, more niche etc?

No, i don't think there has been a change – the music has changed obviously – but people are always up for a party. One change has been the afterhours scene – it just gets later and later...and people go on for days now!

What's the biggest crowd you've played to?

Not sure, maybe 1000 or so at Nitsa in Barcelona – though Im not sure how many people you get in Fabric;s Room 1

How easy do you find it to construct a set? Do you have a policy – a handful of classics, mostly new music, a theme etc?

I always try and keep it interesting with new records alongside a few classics and then something thrown in that's a bit different – a dubstep record in a house set for example…

How many records do you own? 30,000 or so....although im trying to whittle it down..

What's the most interesting vinyl you own? Hmm, not sure, im a big fan of Marble vinyl!

What do you listen to to chill out? It changes every week....i usually put my ipod on the moment , i love the "Rigning" CD from Yagya, Bon Iver and the Ethiopiques series.

Hot tip for a record hitting the shop in the next few weeks?

Theres a great limited 7" on acephale Records coming in a week or so, that's amazing! And, of course, Phonica's very first release from Hector & Bryant with an amazing Appleblim remix – hes certainly done the label proud…..

Thanks to Simon.

Simon is playing at secretsundaze, Saturday 21st February, with, in room 1:

Pedro (Cadenza / a:rpia:r)Mathias Kaden (Vakant / Freunde am Tanzen)Giles Smith (Dessous)James Priestley (Simple)and in room 2: PhonicaSkull Juice (Bugged Out / Bloggers Delight)Simon Rigg (Phonica)The Vangelis (Phonica)

This promises to be a great one.

Room 1 sees residents James and Giles joined by Monza – a Frankfurt based party with legendary spots at Privilege and Space in Ibiza, and previous collaborations with secretsundaze. Headlining is Monza marvel Pedro, who’s impressive residency at DC10 and quality output through labels such as Cadenza and his own label a:rpia:r make him an apt man to lead the party. Joining him is secretsundaze debutant Mathias Kaden, who’s ambitious and refreshing productions, with distinct percussive elements, and dynamic DJing style mean his set will be one to behold.

Room 2 sees Simon Rigg and The Vangelis joined by genre-sailing disco pirates Skull Juice for a friendly ‘bloggers VS record shop managers’ war of quality tunes, from techno to disco via dubstep and hip-hop, no doubt.

10pm - 6am Scala, 275 Pentonville Road, Kings Cross N1 9NL£12 advance tickets / £15 on the door

We also have a pair of tickets to give away for the night – to enter, we’d like to see what brilliant anagrams you can make of the word ‘secretsundaze’. Email suggestions to georgewigzell[at] before 3pm, Friday 20th Feb, and we will pick the best suggestion as winner of the two tickets.


Ok, that’s rubbish, so lets have some decent entries to trounce it.

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