About Let it Roll
Give us the background... when and why did you decide to open a record shop?
I’m from Dublin and came to the UK in 1988. My background as a television editor combined my love of music and storytelling. But music was, and is, my first love. I’ve been based in Kentish Town for the best part of my London life and always thought that a record store would be a great addition to this vibrant, creative community, and when a property, close to Camden Town, came on the market, it was an opportunity to open a business that offers new and second-hand vinyl and a great space for events, gigs or a relaxed drink.
The best thing about owning a record shop, apart from playing the music I love from morning to night, is meeting music-focussed people and introducing them to new sounds, it inspires me every day.
All kinds of people shop at the store, from 15-year-olds to people in their 70’s. So far, it’s mostly North Londoners who discover us while passing by, but many have become regulars, and we are beginning to attract tourists and less local vinyl lovers looking for a new record-store fix in London.
Our genres range from black metal to electro pop. Gary Robertson (who works in the shop) has a particular interest in indie, and I am really enjoying building up our electronic and hip-hop section, and the legacy of my editing means we have a pretty impressive soundtrack section.
We’ve hosted a few local bands already, precursor I hope to many more, and looking forward to some bigger name bands as well. We cut our ‘live’ teeth hosting Sofar Sound events and are now confident we can accommodate a wide range of acts.
We’re collaborating with designers from Roulette Custom (rock and roll accessories) and Lemniscus, who make bespoke, unbranded leather accessories. Coffeetune, run by the effusive Deniz, offers specialist coffee and a range of snacks that can be enjoyed in-store, or in the garden during the summer, and he delivers locally too!
The vibe of the store is relaxed, friendly and inclusive on a musical and social level.
We wanted a record store that everyone would feel comfortable in whatever their musical knowledge or taste.
1st record sold was Kevin Ayers ‘Shooting At The Moon’ – our shelves were pretty bare to begin with but we were already building up a great second-hand component. The last record we sold was Funkadelic ‘Standing On The Verge Of Getting On’.
One memorable sale was a GG Allin LP - memorable because I’d harboured a thought that this hardcore mofo may only have been to my taste and I was so pleased, I had to have a picture taken.
Pat Egan’s Sound Cellar was my go-to place in Dublin. The first record I bought there (or anywhere) was Led Zeppelin 1. Yes, I still have it!
Record shops were a huge part of my early teenage years and still are to this day in my old teenage years. It’s the banter with like-minded people and discovering new music.
Sister Ray in Soho is a staple, because it’s a great record shop and as I’ve been going there since it opened in the early ‘90s. I’ve got to know many of the top guys and gals that have worked there over the years including Gary who has been our buyer at Let It Roll from the beginning.
Thurston Moore getting down a record for me in Lucky 7 several years ago, it was too high for me to reach and he’s about 7 feet tall!
AC/DC in Dublin in 1979 with the late great Bon Scott on vocals obviously, R.I.P Bon.
I’m a big consumer of rock biographies, “The Dirt” stands out as a ripping yarn and a definite ‘how not to do’ life guide.
Nicolas Winding Refn’s ‘Drive’ is right up there. Cliff Martinez’s hypnotic score has soundtracked many a late night in my house. And the story is my perfect modern thriller.
“If You Want Blood You’ve Got It’ by AC/DC, mixed with a little Aphex Twin and then a lot more AC/DC.
My dream line-up for my fictional Meltdown (surely one of the best festivals past and present) would include
Jimi Hendrix, AC/DC, Spacemen 3, Big Star, The Ramones, The New York Dolls, Led Zeppelin, Kraftwerk, Jane’s Addiction, The Cult, Guns ‘n Roses, My Bloody Valentine, Iggy & The Stooges, MC5, Sisters Of Mercy (’83 to ’85), Iron Maiden, Guided By Voices, Big Black, Nirvana, Metallica, U2, Mogwai, Deafheaven, Ghost, The Doors, Frank Zappa, Sex Pistols, Robyn, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Van Halen (the Dave Lee Roth iteration) Bauhaus, David Bowie, Captain Beefheart and Teenage Fanclub.
My current number 1 is ‘Ordinary Corrupt Human Love’ by Deafheaven.