Record Store Day: Interview with Just Handshakes

Just Handshakes played their very first Record Store Day instore last year and have again cooked up something special for 2013. But they're keeping it well under wraps. The cheeky buggers...

West Yorkshire indie popsters Just Handshakes are gearing up to release brand new record Say It on May 20th. The Leeds foursome's first single from that record, 'London Bound', has delighted many an ear resulting in spontaneous bouts of serious foot-tapping around the UK (with the odd knee-slap thrown in their for good measure) and the odd soundhole in Ireland too (recap here). Clara and Mike took time out from their preparations to talk a little about Leeds record stores and the big day in question.

The G-Man: What is your favourite record store, where is it located and why does it hold a special place in your heart?
Mike: We’re pretty lucky in Leeds because we have 2 really good independent record shops. Crash is great but Jumbo Records* is my favourite.
Clara: The staff are friendly and helpful and really passionate about music. And they’ve always
supported us by stocking our releases.

*I've actually been there. Amazing store! Picked up Sharon Van Etten's Epic and a Ducktails album. Arcade Dynamics I think. On with the interview..

In January HMV closed its doors in Ireland yet independent record stores such as Plugd Records (Cork) and Tower (Dublin) live on. What role do you feel local independent record stores play in the community as opposed to large chains?
Clara: I think independent record shops are important for so many reasons but the film Last Shop Standing sums this up better than I ever could.

What is the first record you have ever bought?
Clara: I can remember spending my pocket money on cassette tapes but I don't really remember the first one I bought. We used to listen to my mum’s old records and tapes and I can remember her giving me the Velvet Underground and Nico album and falling in love with it.
Mike: I had what I remember as The Best of Little Richard on cassette tape that I got off my parents when I was quite young.

Do you visit record stores when on tour? What is the weirdest (or simply most original) record store that you have ever visited?
Mike: We've never really been on a big tour so we haven't had chance to visit many, but we do visit record shops whenever we play in different cities. Piccadilly Records in Manchester and Rough Trade Easts are two of our favourites.

Being as truthful as you possibly can, what record is your guiltiest pleasure?
Clara: I secretly love dancing to Eurythmics.

What would you say to a young music lover who has never visited a record store before?
Clara: GO NOW! Support your local record shop!

Describe your last record shopping trip?
Clara: My last big shopping trip was in December and I bought these albums as Christmas presents:
I Thought I was An Alien - Soko
By The SeaBy The Sea

LonerismTame Impala
Power, Corruption and LiesNew Order (to replace the copy we lost)
Real LifeMagazine
Dream SoundsNagisa Ni Te
In The Space of a Few MinutesTelstar Ponies
Creatures of an HourStill Corners

What does Record Store Day mean for you?
Clara: Lots of exciting releases, lots of in store gigs and probably lots of queuing.

April 20th 2013 will be the sixth annual record store day. Any fond memories from previous Record Store Days that you would like to share?
Mike: Last year we did our first Record Store Day release. We recorded the tracks live in our basement and released it on multi-coloured tapes. Each one is numbered and named after a different bird. We’ve still got a few left on our bandcamp. We did an in store gig at Jumbo Records too which was great. We also have plans for something this year too but have to keep it under wraps for now unfortunately.

Describe what it felt like the first time you saw one of your releases in a record store.
Mike: It was great! The first few releases that we did were DIY singles that we sold at gigs and in record shops so it meant a lot that people showed an interest and stocked it in their shops and it still does now.

Tom Waits has said "Folks who work here are professors. Don't replace all the knowers with guessers: keep 'em open, they're the ears of the town." What do you think of that quote?
Clara: I think Tom has a good point. People who work in record shops always seem to be very knowledgeable and they’re much more likely to be the ears of the town than the people who work at Amazon.

If you owned a record store, what would you name it?
Clara: I would like to call it Retriever Records…because I like golden retrievers (but I don't think the others would be very impressed)

Why would you be an amazing/terrible record store owner?
Mike: I would be a terrible record store owner because I’d want to keep a copy of everything for my own collection.

Just Handshakes release 'Say It' on 20th May. Pre-order over on Bandcamp

For more on Just Handshakes

- Record Store Day takes place across thousands of independent record stores on Saturday, 20th April
- For further Record Store Day content click here

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