The Lot Fridays: Phonica Records Residency

  • Alex Egan Alex Egan runs the Utter label which has released records by the likes of Legowelt, Maurice Fulton, Trevor Jackson and DMX Krew. As a DJ he's played at a number of iconic parties over the past two decades including Optimo, Trash, Bugged Out and Fabric. He also works behind the scenes for respected London institutions Phonica Records and Ninja Tune. Avsluta Lucie Stepankova (Avsluta) is a sound artists, DJ and live performer, and lecturer of improvisation and performative practice at London College of Communication. She runs Introspective Electronics - a collective platform exploring the vast frontiers of ambient-tinted music and featuring regular radio shows, podcasts, and event series. Phonica is London's leading independent record shop and one of the world’s most formidable dance music retailers, stocking the latest releases, spanning house, techno, electro, broken beat, nu jazz, disco, dub, reggae and many more. In addition to that, they run their own labels: Phonica Records, Phonica White, Phonica Records Special Editions and Karakul, featuring artists such as Midland, Four Tet, Peggy Gou, Iori, Secret Sundaze, Al Zanders, Roman Flügel and many more. Based in Poland St, Soho, the store opened in 2003 and quickly became an institution in London. Phonica is one of the few record shops that has not only weathered the changing seasons of music and vinyl in particular but has continued to grow stronger. Dig deeper below the surface and you’ll find that Phonica manages a variety of in-house record labels and hosts numerous in-store events ultimately hinting at their larger cultural influence across the capital. Founded by Simon Rigg, Heidi Van Den Amstel and Tom Relleen, Phonica it entered an environment of decline when it opened. Record shops in Soho were closing, vinyl sales were at an all-time low and Dido’sLife For Rent was the year’s best selling album. How times have changed with vinyl sales at an all-time high for the first time in 20+ years.A lot has changed in the intervening years in the shop too. Heidi went on to BBC Radio 1 before building her profile as a versatile selector who later carved a lucrative career as one of the world’s most in-demand DJ’s; one the of the many success stories to stem from behind Phonica’s counter. The likes of Will Saul, Palms Trax, James Priestley, Anthea and Hector are just a handful of the previous talents the store has also nurtured. While Simon Rigg still heads up the team, managing everything from creative control, record stock and overseeing the store’s label. Aside from being an independent record shop, Phonica has proved intrinsic to London’s electronic music community, affirming itself as a hub for burgeoning artists, dedicated music lovers and internationally acclaimed artists that counts a who’s who of international DJs as shop regulars (Four Tet, Ben UFO, Floating Points, Caribou, Jamie Jones and Dixon to name a few). Phonica has been instrumental in bringing a new type of record shop to the fore. Where shops previously limited themselves to specific genres, manager Simon Rigg encourages a “broad church” approach to dance music, offering everything from rare soul 7″s to library soundtracks to big room house and techno 12″s. Hosting regular in-stores, legendary Record Store Day parties and live streams, it has cemented a reputation at the heart of London’s international club scene. Phonica has hosted an impressive mix of over 300 in-store sets with reputable artists like Peggy Gou, Leon Vynehall, Four Tet, 2 Many DJs, Ron Trent, Louie Vega, Blessed Madonna, Ge-OlogyDaniel Avery, KiNK and lots more. It now also boasts an overseas outpost atThe Storein Berlin. And where other “one-stop-shops” can lack the breadth of knowledge to match the variety on offer, Phonica’s prowess lies behind the counter, in its staff and the grand wall of vinyl that looms over them. In theirown words: “Fads come and go but we still always sell good dance music, that’s basically it.” With an enviable wall of the newest 12″s from across the spectrum, the digging is real at Phonica. Staff recommendations are key to some of the best music finds, and who’s more qualified than the experts at a London vinyl institution? Which leads us on to who’s repping this almight vinyl emporium at The Lot for the launch of their DJ residency!