LP Records is a number of things; a record shop in the west end of Glasgow; a record label and – above all – a platform for the love, distribution and creation of, new music.
I caught up with Lorenzo – the owner of the shop and the head of the label – a short while after Codist, American Clay and Great Albatross (the three acts signed to the label) played a gig to launch the LP Records’ record label; the shop has been around for a year and a half, the label for about two weeks.
We talked about LP’s place in the world, how they approach business, what we can expect next and how to get on in the world of music.
I asked if the launch night was a nerve racking experience for Lorenzo, he said only in terms of the fear of being shut down.
This fear was legitimate having had a noise complaint at 7:30pm after hosting twelve bands throughout the Record Store Day in 2016.
For the launch night, hosting the bands on the label was for Lorenzo a necessity.
This is why the sets were short and Great Albatross’ brand of softer rock closed the night off; on the day of the show, whilst American Clay’s Chris was sound checking the drums, an older gentleman came in looking for the boss.
Lorenzo’s panic rose as he considered the possibility of being shut down before the drums were even set up, but luckily, the guy was just interested in what was going on.
Alongside this logistical issue, another was the capacity of the shop – which was hard to determine.
Fitting everyone in and hoping they were welcome to stay until the end constituted two causes for concern; other than that, this was just another day in the office.
Part of these concerns was allayed by the fact that everyone was there for a common purpose; Lorenzo comments that you can’t have these types of events if everybody isn’t getting along; in a space so cramped and in circumstances of that nature, it is important that everyone is on the same page.
This contributes for me to the friendly, convivial and communal atmosphere of the evening; which was palpable and pleasant to say the least.
LP Records – the shop, not the label – has been around since October 2015, as far as the label is concerned, it has been the dream since the beginning – a dream which has become steadily less pipey as time has marched on.
“All we do is sell new music, every Friday we’re talking about new albums that have come out, so it was like, why don’t we put out new albums?
“It’s always been the plan, but everyday we worked the closer it seemed to being viable, especially with Codist and American Clay signing to 6131”.
6131 is a Los Angeles based record label, which – alongside LP – will be selling Codist and American Clay EP’s on tape.
Lorenzo came to know the guys from 6131 after quickly striking up a friendship with one of the co-owners of the label and Julien Baker’s manager.
Lorenzo and Tom – who works in the shop – were both obsessed with Julien Baker’s album and went to see her in Glasgow, this is where they met the manager and hit it off.
Lorenzo sent this individual Codist’s album, to which he replied “this is really good, you should start a label and sign them”; Lorenzo – apparently – did not consider this a bad idea.
Since then, the friendship based on shared love of music has done wonders for the labels and the artists.
“Everyone just wants to help each other out,” and it’s all about liking the music, Lorenzo tells me – this seems to me to be a good way to do business.
It is this friendly and inclusive desire to promote music that has led to Lorenzo meeting, hosting and ultimately putting out a record for The Great Albatross; community seems to be the name of the game.
As far as what is next, Lorenzo tells me that they are currently seeking to facilitate certain specific artists in the UK to record their material.
LP are also looking outside of the UK to do limited releases for some artists that they love – so that their music might have a physical representation in Glasgow.
Lorenzo and I share the opinion that it doesn’t need to be all Glasgow all the time – showcasing Glaswegian music in Glasgow for people in Glasgow.
This would eventually sap Lorenzo’s enthusiasm, as he feels that it would result in putting on gigs for the same people in the same venues with the same bands.
That or he would dilute the quality of the label by signing bands willy-nilly for the purposes of diversifying the roster and keeping things fresh; in order to diversify the product of Glasgow, it seems important to step outside it.
LP Records will always be in Glasgow, but the city is not the length and breadth of their ambition.
With the acts on the label being signed to an American label, things like playing festivals in America with these acts is not a ridiculous sleepover fantasy.
Taking these bands across America is not too far from being a reality, and it is likely that – much like the label itself – the silliness of the idea will wane as the days roll by.
In a conversation between Lorenzo and The Great Albatross’ Wes – recounted to me by Lorenzo – they discuss the fact that regardless of what happens with the label or anything else, LP Records will always be a physical hub in Glasgow for the promotion and distribution of new and exciting music from within and outwith the city – “there will always be a shop to come back to.”
What the shop offers is the facility to buy new music and explore new things based around the label.
There are a number of things going on – with the label and the shop – but the main thing is new music.
Lorenzo says that they could stock the shelves with old stuff that would sell well and make a bit of money, but “it’s kind of pointless and it would get really boring, we just want to stay active whether that means putting out new music or just avoiding playing for the same people and doing the same things”.
This is why whenever an opportunity comes along Lorenzo seizes it.
It is this proactivity that the bands on the label seem to admire and which has led LP Records to develop so much in so little time.
Passion seems to drive the whole thing, passion and making sure that that passion comes across.
Whether it is the roster on the label or the records on the shelves, there is no point in investment unless there is commitment and a willingness to put the effort in.
You will not find any new releases in LP Records that Lorenzo is not personally passionate about.
Doing things this way ensures the integrity of the project and allows those consuming it to develop a sense of trust.
People seem to come into LP Records because they trust that they will hear something they like or find a record that they want to buy.
The tirelessness of those running the label and the shop ensures that this is the case.
It is Lorenzo’s hope that people will like what is on the label, and thereby develop a similar trust in what they put out in the future.
So you want to be on LP Records? You’d better be actively promoting or producing your own music, you’d better also hope that your sensibilities and attitude are in line with those of the already existent ethos and ideas of the people already involved.
Over a year of friendship and shared passion about music has concretised the foundations, so anyone coming in on the second floor would do well to share the same values.
As far as what we should be expecting from LP Records in the next year, Lorenzo has “no idea”, but he would like to take the first step into America as well as get Codist and American Clay albums on the shelves.
The radio in this country is unlikely to get the bands on the label to the people who need to hear it, so Lorenzo would like to see a jump to the next stage, chasing audiences around the globe wherever they may happen to arise.
“We will always be here, we’re not moving,” Lorenzo says that nobody is expecting to jump onto something massive in the next year, but if there are opportunities to be had, they will grab them with both hands.
Why not? That is what it’s all about; having passion and taking hold of the opportunities available to you.
Whatever happens, it is clear that LP Records has lofty goals supported by love, community and enthusiasm and that is never a bad thing.
It is likely that we will see a great many other excellent acts emerging through, or being involved with, this label and a great many more great records being made available.
It is likely to contribute to the positively thriving diversity of music being made and sold in Scotland as we speak.
Pop in and hear what’s playing, find out what’s going on in the coming months, above all, support your local music industry.
Words: Paul Aitken