About Stranger than Paradise
Give us the background... when and why did you decide to open your store Stranger Than Paradise?
Having worked and managed record stores since I was a teenager, I kinda knew it was my end goal to own my shop, so when I was approached last year about a potential retail space in one of my favourite parts of London, I couldn’t say YES quick enough. We had a blank canvas and had to start the shop from scratch in a matter of weeks, finally opening Stranger Than Paradise’s doors on March 28th 2018.
I work with my best friends Phil Adams and Sonny Barrett who make every day pleasurable, we all previously worked together at another record store so we knew we had to put our money where our mouths were and make the shop great… which I think we’ve done.
We wanted to bring the record store experience back to basics, simply - good records, good service, good instore events, give the opportunity to customers to meet fellow music fans, to drink and dance 'til very late.
The first record was ‘Protomartyr - The Agent Intellect’ to our good friend and old colleague from Rough Trade.
The last record was 'Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill' to a young local girl on the recommendation from her mum. It always makes me happy to see teenage girls visit the store, I always hope they remember their record store experiences as fondly as I did.
It was Banquet Records in Putney, I bought a Fishbone record and I remember they gave me a promotional kite. I think from that point I was there nearly every weekend until it sadly shut down. I spent a lot of time and money at Rough Trade in Neal’s Yard when I was a teenager too, the staff were so knowledgable and they introduced me to music I would have never normally be exposed t
Reckless Records in Soho is easily one of the best shops in London, they have a constant stream of incredible second-hand records coming through the store each week, I always leave with something special.
I also love Low Company, Crypt of the Wizard and the BBE store, all Hackney based and offering a superb selection of vinyl. We’re lucky to have such great neighbours.
Too many weird and wonderful memories to list, they say never meet your heroes but recommending records from behind the counter to the likes of Nick Cave, Patti Smith, and Iggy Pop are definitely memorable highlights.
Either Tom Waits at the ‘Rat Cellar’ Dublin or Tom Jones at Ceasar's Palace Las Vegas.
Into The Wild - Jon Krakauer
Stranger Than Paradise... of course.
Miles Davis - On The Corner
OM - Conference Of Birds
Red House Painters - Red House Painters I
Dorothy Ashby - Afro Harping
Cymande - Cymande
Arthur Russell - Love Is Overtaking Me
ZZ Top - Tres Hombres
Another tough question but I’d pay good money to see any of these guys on the same bill:
Lijadu Sisters, Albert Ayler, Eden Ahbez, Melvins, Tom Waits, The Gun Club, Alice Coltrane, Oh Sees.
I always dread when people ask me that question and can never answer it, but for this year it’s definitely the new Jon Hassell record ‘Listening to Pictures’ and the debut album from Tirzah ‘Devotion’, both a breath of fresh air and complete works of genius.