Off the Record
with Three London

April 2023

Photos by Elif Gönen

We head to the homes of three London creatives to root around their vinyl collections and dig out the records that have shaped their lives.

Andy Bell

From playing bass with Liam and Noel Gallagher, to pioneering the Shoegaze scene with his band Ride, Andy Bell has been a key player in the British music scene for decades. We head to his home in leafy Crouch End to check out his extensive vinyl collection and the tracks that have shaped his career.

Can you tell us about a record that you grew up listening to?

Growing up, I listened to a lot of The Beatles, obviously, Simon and Garfunkel and all the albums my parents had, but then I started buying records myself. I think the first single I bought was Queen - Save Me. I don't really like that much anymore but it's kind of cool to have. The Jam - Start was one that I definitely still listen to. I was really big into two-tone. That was the first kind of musical movement that I got into like. Two-tone was huge. Everyone was wearing Harrington jackets and tassel slip on black shoes with white socks. Then Malcolm McLaren - Buffalo Gals. These are all singles that I bought from John Menzies in Headington, Oxford.


Where do you buy your records now?

These days, I buy my records from a shop called Flashback, which is about five minutes into Crouch End. It’s got a few branches, maybe two or three more around London.


What was the last record you bought?

The last record I bought was Fell from the Sun, which is a compilation. It’s got a great sleeve, by the way. I love that sleeve. It's a compilation record of tracks from around 1990-91 which is when I was 20 years old. Bob Stanley and Pete Wigs from Saint Etienne put this together for a label called ACE and it's basically slow dance music from the acid house era, but things like Primal Scream - Loaded, Floatation by The Grid, the kind of tracks which were really big when I was going to The Heavenly Social.


What's the rarest record you own?

The rarest record I own is my mono copy of Revolver by the Beatles which has a price tag on it of 12 quid, but that was in like 1990 or something and I remember buying it. I was on tour with Ride on the very first trip around the UK and one of the venues we were playing at had a record fair. I saw this and just thought I'll treat myself to it. It was quite expensive in those days at £12, but now I think it's worth a lot more than that. But yeah, it's also my favourite album of all time.

One record you’d choose to get everyone up and dancing?

The record I would put on to make everyone get up and dance is Voodoo Ray by A Guy Called Gerald. This is my original single that I bought in 89’ or something in Oxford. As a teenager, I loved this record and it's still brilliant, even now. One of the classic bounce records, especially for people my age.


What’s your go-to Sunday morning record?

Sunday mornings are a whole thing in my house and I have a pile of records that I keep down in the kitchen. So here we go. We've got Michael Kiwanuka. We have Pharoah Sanders and Floating Points, which is just so beautiful. I guess it's jazz, but it's like ambient jazz or something. Leonard Cohen best of and that kind of goes along with Tim Hardin. These two are sort of similar singer songwriter records. And then Breakfast at Tiffany's for Moon River and all that stuff. Very romantic. Yeah, that's the Sunday morning vibe at my place.


What do you think is so special about vinyl?

What makes vinyl special I think is the fact that it's kind of big. You can hold it in your hand and there's a whole ritual about getting the sleeve, looking at it, seeing what else is included. Those things, they mean something. It reminds you of when you bought it, what you were doing, what your life was like when you had it. There’s a lot of memories and things inside the physical embodiment of the record. And then the music obviously. I think it sounds better than any other format. Especially seven-inch vinyl. That's the best sounding record.

Ellie Edna Rose-Davies

Amongst, we're sure, many other talents, Ellie is a DJ, plant chef, and a guitarist and singer for post-punk guitar band Goat Girl. Taking some time out of her busy schedule, she showed us around her Deptford flat, playing us the records that have inspired her over the years.

Who introduced you to vinyl records?

The people that introduced me to vinyl were my mum and my dad. I kind of just grew up listening to them in the house. My mum and dad live separately and sometimes I’d take records from my dad's, he’d give me them to take home and be like “listen to this” and my mum would be like “that’s my record”! I remember one of my records by MC Solaar my mum took back because she was like “oh that’s mine that your dad took from me like 20 years ago.”


Tell us about a record you grew up listening to.

Like I was saying, I was really lucky because my dad gave me a lot of records and always really encouraged me ever since I was a kid. I remember coming to the turntable and queuing up the needle. He let me do it from quite a young age which I feel quite grateful for because a lot of nerdy dads might be a bit like “Oh don’t mess with the needle and don’t scratch the vinyl” whatever. He just let me play. He gave me this record, which is probably the most listened to in my collection. It's a compilation of psychedelic, soul and jazz called A Folk-Funk Psychedelic Experience and lots of these songs were actually sampled in hip hop records later on which brings me on to this record, A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders. It's just a classic and I grew up listening to it in the car.


What was the last record you bought?

The last record I bought was Paul Murphy & Marc Woolford Project and I bought this because my mum played it to me when I went and visited her. My mum’s got a very small but very golden vinyl collection and this was one of the records that when she played it in the kitchen I was just like “I’ve just got to get that”. It’s called Jazz Room (The Spiritual South Mix). It’s one track but super jazzy, dance-y, but a little bit hip-hoppy as well. It’s pretty cool.

Which records have inspired you?

Tender Buttons by Broadcast. This, I got quite recently because I used to listen to it loads when I was a teenager and it’s inspired my band, Goat Girl a lot. I think the electronics and the synth sounds and just the singer’s voice is so authentic and honest. I find that quite refreshing.


Which record would you choose to get everyone up and dancing?

There’s quite a few of these. I think I’ll go with Crystal Waters – Gypsy Woman. Everyone just can’t help singing along to the “la di la di da”. Yeah, I love it. It’s a classic.

Also Sure Thing by St Germain, which is a weird one because it's quite slow. It's not like super upbeat but it's just got a really nice groove, so I always keep this in my record bag because it’s a keeper.


What do you feel is so special about vinyl?

There’s so much that’s special about vinyl. There’s the physicality of the sleeve itself, the artwork that you get. It’s been designed and printed and there’s been a whole thought process behind the design of the graphics. But then there’s also the inner sleeves, there’s all the writing that you get which you just don’t get on Spotify or apple music or whatever. And this has been through so many people’s hands, especially if you buy second hand vinyl. It’s already lived a spiritual life before coming into your belonging. I believe that vinyl carries that, and that’s why it's kind of magic.

Haseeb Iqbal

DJ, broadcaster, writer, and all-round analogue aficionado Haseeb has been spinning records from around the world for time. We head to his flat in London’s Primrose Hill to scour his record collection for those rare finds and the tracks that have meant the most to him over the years.

Which records have inspired you?

A record that’s particularly inspired me is The Cecil Lloyd group - I Cover the Waterfront. It's a very forgotten, overlooked record. It came out in 1962. Really interestingly, it was produced by Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd, who was the person who founded Studio One and the most prolific dub producer ever. But really interestingly, this was before he started Studio One, and it's a jazz record. There's a lot of people who don't see the connection between jazz and dub, but a lot of these people like Don Drummond and Roland Alphonso went on to be in groups like The Skatalites and played in various SKA bands, but this was their background. This is where they came from. So, I find it really interesting that somebody like Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd, who was the foundation for so much of what came out of Jamaica across those decades, he started with jazz, and that was the foundation of where it all began for him. You know, when I got this record, it really inspired me and made that connection that I was very happy to see. So yeah, Port-O-Jam Records. This is a rare one, actually. But really beautiful. It's in very good condition too. Beautiful, beautiful record.


What's your go-to Sunday morning record?

You know, it's funny, because I've got a few Hugh Mundell records here. There's a fourth one, but I don't know where it's gone. It's definitely somewhere but this one, I mean, funnily enough, it's called Arise. There's a song on this called Arise and Shine, which is the ultimate morning tune. One of those really uplifting tracks. That makes you want to start your day with good energy. He's a very special person, he started making music at the age of 14, and very sadly, was shot dead at the age of 21, but produced five studio albums in that time. This was the final record that he actually recorded in 1983. A lot of people don't know about this, because it only came out five years after his death. Very interestingly, it was produced by Dennis Bovell, who was in Matumbi and produced the Babylon soundtrack, which is over there. He was really important when it came to UK dub. So, when I found out that Dennis Bovell had produced Hugh Mundell, that was a link that I thought was absolutely amazing that made the connection between the Jamaican roots artists, and the British lovers rock scene.

What’s one record you would choose to get everyone up and dancing?

Belly Dance Disco by Ihsan Al Munzer with a track called Jamileh. This is a beautiful Lebanese track. It's just crazy. The introduction is just one of those introductions that whenever you drop it, you know you're getting everyone's attention. Everyone stops. There are all these kinds of bemused eyes that stare at you. But you just know that what's going to come afterwards is really going to get the people and it's incredibly percussive. It’s so uplifting and captures the essence of the Middle East in a very enchanting way. It's a bit of a secret weapon, so I don't drop it too often. It's only when it's earned. When the crowd deserve it.


What do you think is so special about vinyl?

So for me, when it comes to music, vinyl is everything and it's totally transformed the way that I understand and approach music, especially when DJing out and about at the parties that I throw. It's all vinyl. And it's very different for me, than playing on CDJ's, where you've got a screen, you've got a controlled algorithm that's showing you the beats per minute. There's a very human feel. There's a very physical feel, I love touching the records and opening the sleeves, looking at the artwork, reading the notes. And there's something about that physicality that is reflected in the warmth of the music and I think when you see somebody playing records, there's that element of craftsmanship that creates an appreciation and an engagement on a deeper level. And yeah, they’re artefacts, you know. So, for me it goes way beyond the music. These are relics and they're kind of preserved capsules of time which have deep stories embedded within them and I love that. That's why I love scratches as well. They are to be embraced so yeah for me it's allowed me to physically appreciate and then sit with the music in a way that I didn't when I listen to it just electronically.