If you love music (or more specifically records) then you really should be aware of Dalston’s Kristina Records which opened its doors in July 2011; a pristine emporium of sound with a staggeringly diverse variety on offer within its walls. To go through the racks at Kristina is a journey into the record collection of someone with impeccable taste – from vintage punk, disco, soul, new wave, pop, disco, house, techno and garage through to an impressive section of brand new vinyl; it’s not difficult to spend all day there. The project is a joint venture from record shop veterans Jason Spinks, Jack Rollo & Jamie Thornington.
Superstore’s Dan Beaumont asked dance buyer Jason what makes Kristina tick…
It's evident every time I visit that there's a huge amount of thought behind the music you stock... What is the ethos behind Kristina Records?
We wanted to create a clean, bright and well-designed space with the emphasis on quality stock rather than quantity. Having worked in record shops over the years we could see that the glory days of huge spaces with racks and racks of great records was pretty much passed and the vinyl market was evolving. Combining new and second hand releases was definitely a strong part of what we wanted to do - to integrate the two rather than them being completely separate, so you can see how the past and the present complement each other
Why open a record shop when people keep writing off vinyl?
Well, we're all heavily into records and passionate about music and the three of us all had pretty strong ideas about what we thought a record shop should be... and not be! Having bought and sold records in a retail environment for many years we could see there was definitely still a market for a vinyl only shop. You can't argue that vinyl as a format is now competing with MP3s and lesser so CDs but there are still many people who want the records, the physical thing, even if they have it on MP3 there is something about vinyl that just hooks people. I don't think it will die to be honest and will certainly outlive the CD, which is slowly becoming obsolete as a format.
In terms of vinyl's place in the world of clubs and the DJ, I think there is a bit of a backlash coming against the rise of the whole laptop DJ thing. People really notice the lack of physicality and interaction with the music and the crowd that DJing with vinyl brings. I don't buy the argument that all this new software frees people up to be more creative - I think it generally does the opposite and makes them more boring. I'm not totally anti laptop - I think there is occasionally room for it to be incorporated into the setup but I've seen some footage of these guys playing with Ableton or whatever and it's shit. Who wants everything perfect and programmed and smooth - no mistakes at all but no passion and that’s the main thing. Watch people like Derrick May, Theo Parrish, sweating their fucking tits off. I recently saw some footage of Terrence Parker killing it with two decks and a mixer and you just can’t replicate that. Detroit obsession evident here but there are loads of guys still playing vinyl - Sven Weismann is a killer DJ, Move D, and there's loads of great DJs putting on small nights still playing vinyl.
Why did you open in Dalston?
It seemed like the obvious place to be honest, if anyone was going to open a new record shop this would be the place to do it. We made the decision a while ago to open here, it just took us a while to find the right space.We were actually panicking that someone might get in there before us! So much is happening up this way and it was becoming more and more popular for people to live and hang out here. The area was definitely changing and while there have been lots of small bars and clubs opening, there was a lack of retail in the area catering for this new crowd. It's really cool to see people like Beyond Retro moving in as it kind of validates our feeling that something was happening in the area - and obviously there's Pelicans and Parrots and LNCC, who arrived slightly before us and kind of share our ethos. Also Huh is a great little independent clothes shop thats just moved in up the road too. There's definitely a little community and it's really positive.
Who are your favourite DJs and producers right now?
Max D, Steve Summers and those guys - always interesting to hear what they're doing.
Legowelt - his output is unbelievable and we just got his epic TEAC life album in on vinyl and not stopped listening to it.
Vakula is really releasing some great stuff too.
John Heckle - in a short space of time he has released some amazing stuff, really look forward to his records.
Juju & Jordash - always look out for their stuff and they played a great live set for us in December - totally improvised as well.
Area - Producer from Chicago releasing really good deep house and techno on his label Kimochi.
Omar S - Phenomenal output and I would say I probably feel his older productions more but still, he is the man. No one can really do what he does he's made some of the best records of the last few years.
Fred P - he's got something....
There's loads more..... Move D is great, Hieroglyphic Being, Kassem Mosse, Mike Huckaby, D'Marc Cantu. I like Sven Weisemann, Theo Parrish, Specter, Malcolm Moore , Ital, Maria Minerva, Protect - U, Marcello Napoletano, Jus-ed, Jenifa Mayanja, loads of guys who just seem to come and go while dropping a great record, there are too many honestly.
What are your favourite new labels?
Rawax / Housewax / Chiwax stuff is pretty good right now; Shevchenko is really strong and all the Firecracker offshoots; Apartment - only two releases old but very promising so far. L.I.E.S., Future Times, FXHE, UQ, Bumako, Mathematics, Altered Moods, Sound Signature. Sex Tags is pretty cool - kinda mental output but worth checking; WT records - looking forward to a shipment form them soon; Echovolt - really cool Greek label to watch.
Again there's loads - some new labels just pop up all the time with great releases. I think the scene is pretty healthy, guys just doing it for themselves on their own label, pressing it themselves, it's cool.
What is your biggest selling new record?
The biggest sellers have been
Move D - Workshop 13
Marvin Dash – Workshop 14
Norm Talley - The Paradise Valley Project
A new record with old music.
DJ Assassin - A Face Amongst The Crowd
More old music on new vinyl- this actually sold the most!
Name three second-hand favourites you have in stock
Beautiful OG copy of the Virgo LP on Radical Records
Theo Parrish - Roots Revisited EP - Vintage Theo...deep as hell!
Lil Louis - Frequency / How I Feel - amazing raw minimal early house music!
Jovonn - Out All Nite EP - had to include one from the man....all about flutes!
Sorry, that's 4!
Who is Kristina?
The name actually comes from a someone very special. We like to keep a bit if mystery behind it but she's an amazing person and does a lot of work behind the scenes. We didn't want something too obvious or masculine and it just seemed to fit nicely.
44 Stoke Newington Road N17 7XJ