Editor Naomi met up with Chris Muirhead, owner of the recently closed Last Shop Standing Record Store. He’s since began a record label, Last Shop Recs and we thought we were overdue for a catch up…
So last time we spoke Last Shop Standing was being booted out of Bretonside in light of the new cinema development – what’s changed since then?
Strangely enough there doesn’t seem to be much development of a cinema in Bretonside…. But from our point of view we have been trying to find an new shop for the store to get set up in – and despite having had a few really good options come and go for various reasons, we are determined to try and find somewhere we can afford or move in with someone that could share shop space with us if it’s the correct location.
That has been where Tom has been focussing his efforts and I have been setting up the label Last Shop Recs, which shall be releasing vinyl only releases of our favourite UK artists. We have teamed up with Sam Reynolds that runs a small new label called Quarantine Music to put the records out and spread the cost.
Your first release was Simon Dobson’s debut album Euneirophrenia, how was the process of putting that record together?
It was a long process, and took about a year; from getting the test pressings done to working out how to transfer the artwork into deluxe vinyl packaging to then having to wait a few months for the job to get pressed and then begin the build up to the launch night; it didn’t seem that long but it was about a year. We didn’t want to rush it though and there is a lot to learn, and a moose tonne more to learn.
We spent a lot of time in the pub scribbling ideas down and working out how best to reflect the music that Simon has created in this extraordinary record into the physical packaging. Then there was working out how to pay for it and how to move forward without eating out of bins too much.
You also hosted his launch party at the Junction on Mutley Plain, how was that evening for you?
This was basically a really good party at The Junction, with Badcore Horns, Worried Shoes warming everyone up and then Simon’s special event at the end. He got a load of brass players together and they learned the song Clash from the record and played the whole piece live. This was then filmed and used as the ending of the video which they premiered on the big screen after the performance. That was really something, and I have heard they may very well be doing it again sometime for anyone that may have missed it….
We really couldn’t have asked for a better launch night, it was packed, people bought records, and the show was superb.
What plans do you have for future releases?
Next up we have Thomas Ford’s ‘A Shoulder to Cry On’ which we would like to have out by Christmas. I am splitting the release with Sam again and we have had a few beer mat meetings with Simon (aka T. Ford) as we work out the best way to package his record and start organising another amazing launch night.
The album itself feels like a culmination, he has been working solidly throughout the years and everything he has released up till now has been of a very high standard; but this release has seen him relax a little more into it and it has created a laid back but quite stunning blues record. He is lucky in that he has so many great players as friends and they help him out here and there as well. There is even a full band song on there…. We are not holding back again on the packaging and hope to do the album justice and deliver a record he can be really proud of.
Do you have plans to reopen the store at any point?
We would love to, Tom has been working away behind the scenes getting in touch with people and organising things for the potential new store and I can’t wait for him to find the right place at the right price and actually give Plymouth back its new releases record store. Until then you can help support us by checking out what we are releasing and buying yourself a Limited Edition record from Last Shop Recs or a T Shirt and basically keeping our motto in mind at all times…
How can we keep an eye on what you’re up to?
I’m also always posting stuff on Facebook, don’t really use Twitter but have a mailing list that you can get on if you like getting a once a month update on what’s happening, just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on the old Facebook.