HUB MEETS... DRIFT RECORDS.

With a final salute to summer, we handed over our Hub journal to friend and arts curator, Kirsteen McNish.
This week she talks shop and music with Rupert Morrison - organiser of the incredible Sea Change Festival and owner of the much cherished Drift Records in Totnes.

Tell us a bit about what makes Drift & your festival Sea Change unique?
'I think being right in the middle of it all makes it hard for us to really "see" Drift and Sea Change from the outside, but I guess that in many ways sums it up too, they're both run as an extension of us. We're forever feeling pretty blessed that we get to run a record shop (in a small country town) where we can really follow our own ears and champion music that we connect with and really feel is special. As the shop has grown we've inevitably stocked a few more things that are a little outside of our core interest (for example a little more of the pop leaning), but it still very much remains about curation and being able to champion releases and artists that we genuinely have interest in. Sea Change is the same...we'd simply have no interest in booking and promoting a sure fire ticket seller if they weren't someone whose art we admired. That's just commerce isn't it?
I think with both Drift and Sea Change we managed to create a voice and a distinct character and we're very proud of that. It happened organically. I don't think it is something you can synthesise. Music in the foreground, commerce in the background. We're not brilliant business people, but we're very good at playing music.'

If you were asked to pull together the ultimate Seachange line-up, who would be on the list? 
'When we started the festival I had a series of post-it notes that hung around for ages - one of which just said Andy Weatherall. We'd met him a few times over the years so I got in touch and just floated the idea of him coming to play for us. He was warm, supportive and made it all happen really quickly (and sensitively within the confines of our somewhat modest budget). Although we knew each other a bit already, I really gushed at him about how excited we were and what an honour it was to have him with us; I think he was amused and a little nonplussed about how thrilled we were! He hung out at Drift the following day (mostly with my mum) buying records and drinking tea. It was a surreal and very special moment. He really got what we were trying to do with it all and that was a moment that we'll always treasure.
I had always hoped that we would be the people to track down Mark Hollis and convince him to play, but sadly that wasn't to be. Jason Molina's name got mentioned a little while back too, it would have been such a thrill to have welcomed him to Sea Change.
Although we have a list (and some more post-it notes) of things we'd love to do, I still think the biggest buzz is hearing something new, working with that artists(s) and watching them find their audience. 
This summer we would have been welcoming Porridge Radio (Mercury nominated), Dry Cleaning, Squid, Katy J Pearson, Working Men's Club, Caroline and Aoife Nessa Frances, we'd imagine all of them will (rightfully) be huge in the next year or so.' 

In a parallel universe, which artist (if you could take your pick) would you put at the helm of Drift?
'The Brewis brothers of Field Music are both such smart cookies, I have a feeling they would not only open our ears to some serious high level funk, but also install some very logical new systems for stock control. I would feel very confident placing Joe Casey of Protomartyr on customer service duties, he seems fair but firm, I can't see him taking any flack. I really got into reading John Fante a while back and there is something about his voice in Protomartyr, I love the brutal acceptance of life and the joy in small victories.
A few years ago Shirley Collins hung out at Drift and people just came in droves to tell her... Well, anything really. She is such a magnetic person and people wanted to just be near her and tell her so. If she's up for it, Shirley could just hang, she'd increase footfall muchly.'

Totnes and it’s environs are beautiful - tell us about it’s sweet spots.
'Last week we went for a walk around the Sharpham Estate (the same guys that make superb cheese and wine). Looking up and down the sweeping estuary, with fields of dancing reeds and glimmering crops, it dawned on me that it's easy to be complacent when you live here. You can forget it all on a day to day basic but it really is a stunning and beautiful place.
This time of year the natural costs are pretty inspiring, The stretch of Slapton, Strete and Torcross are a frequent hang out for us. The Dartington Estate (that plays host for Sea Change) is a remarkable place and every corner of it's rolling land is full of socially and artistically important locations.
There are few places you can dawdle about through wildflowers, perfectly sculpted lawns with an onlooking Henry Moore. I have a soft spot for Torbay. 'The English Riviera', I love fish and chips and arcade machines as the season turns Autumn and the crowds are gone, vivid neon against the blue of the sea and the sky.'
 

And just in the nick of time for Record Store Day, Rupert's made us a belter of a playlist which you can listen to in Hub Store all weekend (and right here.) 


#shoplocal 
#shopindependant
#recordstoreday