About Voxbox

Give us the background... when and why did you decide to open a record shop?

My own background is in medicine and I had qualified as a doctor in 2000. I caught the record collecting bug in 1995 after a lad I knew played The Man Who Sold The World on an old turntable in his halls of residence room while a few of us watched him getting ready to go out. Wow!

Also, back then it was a cheap way to buy music. CDs were new technology but dear and I was more interested in the older music so it made sense. These days, records are new technology to young people.

I opened the shop in 2011 with a friend, as I thought there was room for a record shop that sold second-hand records in pristine condition and I had accumulated a lot of records I didn't need. I had also worked some very busy jobs as a junior doctor and to me, this was a natural thing to do. Music had been something that excited me for a long time and I arranged to work part-time as a doctor and part-time in the shop.

I love the record shop chat. The collectors especially, but I like being able to point young people towards music they have never heard. Nothing too obscure either! The Kinks, The Who, Cream, The Stones, The Doors, Led Zeppelin... Then lead them to the 13th Floor Elevators.

It has been a fantastic journey. My partner fully retired after a couple of years and I have 2 fine employees that have a better ear for new music and many of my best friends are those I've made through the shop. Some are involved in the local music scene and have helped the shop incredibly over the years.

We have a real mix of customers. Record collectors in the classic sense that are after MOJO magazine type artists and first pressings, then we also have the young fans of indie bands that just want a nice new album on vinyl with hopefully something extra included. We let other shops sell chart music.

We have a radio show on Edinburgh University's Fresh Air student internet radio station Wednesday 2100-2200 during term time - The VoxBox Vinyl Show - where we basically play collectable records and local bands and have some record shop chat. Our old producer told me she had heard of the shop but thought she wasn't cool enough to go there. After meeting us she said she realised that wasn't the case...

VoxBox Andy is a musician and has been at the shop for years so he seems to draw local rock musicians in. In fact, due to Andy, we signed the best guitar band in the world Miracle Glass Company to the shop label and put out their debut album. They just happen to be from Edinburgh. A nice chap called Burnt Paw came in early this year and we put his mini album out. Basically, come in, meet Andy and we'll do something.

At our opening pre-opening party, we sold an original copy of Metal Box by PiL. It was the nicest copy in the world. I destroyed my fingernails trying to open it and I kind of wish I kept it. The last few records sold were a rare Neil Young Time Fades Away promo single, The Beatles' Rubber Soul (reissue) and our very own Miracle Glass Company MGC1.

 

 

In Peterhead, there is a chemist called Yule's with a music shop department attached to it. The first music I bought was from there - a cassette tape EP by Ice Cube called Kill at Will. A weird combination and I'd love to know how they had it. I was into rap, as hip-hop was known in the old days. I was so starved of rap music that my first record purchase was the Simpson's Do The Bart Man single along with 2 in a Room Wiggle It. So, cartoons and gangster rap.

I'd travel to Aberdeen every weekend and shop in One-Up (sadly missed) when it was on Diamond Street. It was dark and smelt on incense. It was mind opening to get away from the music that was in the charts (as I didn't really like 2 in a Room and The Bartman) and to find things that I really loved. I couldn't understand why people liked Bros so much, so finding bands like The Stooges and Velvet Underground made me very happy. This music pushed my buttons! So, I've been looking ever since. Most recently I've been seeking the bands that I missed the first time around and for what is going on in indie music especially locally.

 

These days, I don't get out to many record shops and I'm a crate digger really. I've started collecting bad Scottish album covers so I get pretty excited by a charity barn in rural Northeast Scotland when I'm up visiting my parents.

I love that we have dance music specialist Underground Solush'n in Edinburgh and the folk music specialist Coda. My shop is my shed... It's my favourite place. Although I still have a dream to go to the huge Amoeba warehouse record store in Los Angeles.

Having the Twilight Sad play at ours for a record shop exclusive 7" single launch tour a few years ago. We can fit thirty people in at a squeeze. Two-hundred people turned up and we had to put them on the steps outside on a cold day in February. There was no PA but James can belt it out and he closed his eyes and sang so LOUD it reverberated between the tenements. Wonderful and terrifying for me as the crowd blocked the street.

Lou Reed playing Berlin at The Edinburgh Playhouse.

John Snow on Cholera, 2nd edition.

The Good The Bad and the Ugly. For the brutality and humanity. The cast are all missing body parts and scarred. It's so real. Ennio Morricone's score gets me whistling along too.

If I'm stuck on an island, it'd better be long... Beethoven's 9th Symphony

The Incredible String Band - A Very Cellular Song

Bob Dylan - Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands

The Doors- When The Music's Over

MC5 -Kick Out The Jams

The Stooges -TV Eye

Miracle Glass Company -Turnaround

Nina Simone - I Sing Just to Know That I'm Alive

Howlin' Wolf

Nina Simone

Patti Smith

Velvet Underground

Iggy and the Stooges

PAWS

Honeyblood

Kathryn Joseph

It changes all the time. The one I've played the most recently is When I Wake The Want Is by Kathryn Joseph. It deserves to sell a million copies.

V