Updated: Jan 29
We were excited to speak to Vince Monticelli, owner of The Record Store in Ashford for our second edition of Fortnightly Five!
1. Tell us a little about what you do, how long have you been doing this and how did you get started?
I moved to Ashford 6 years ago after a major health scare. We downsized our home and I spent the first 6 months of my time here in recovery from major surgery, not going out the door.
Once I could get about again I searched for a record and live music scene, as music has been a passion since I was young and I have a pretty big personal collection. I was stunned to find no music shop in the town. Whilst still recovering from the health issues, I opted to do something about it with some pressure from my wife who wanted some of the records I owned out of the house!
I opened a shop on the back of my duplicates in the little booth/kiosk near the entrance to Wilkinsons in the hope there were some like minded people into records/music in Ashford. We soon found our feet and a market here, and were warmly welcomed by many people who are still customers today, and more like friends in truth.
After 3 months we soon realised we needed a bigger shop having found some fame as the smallest record shop in the UK, and being featured in Mojo!
We moved into the current premises in Park Mall in the spring of 2016, desperate for the space due to the amount of stock we had acquired. We expanded that love of all things musical into band t shirts and memorabilia with the new found space. We now have music related clothing, as well as amps and turntables etc.
We have also put on small gigs in the shop and expanded that promotional aspect of the business. We put on a major gig hiring out a venue and putting on a night of NEW music featuring the brilliant Saint Agnes, supported by our own artist known as LiVES whose music we release on our small label, and local stars Salvation Jayne! The night was a sell out and really well received, although not a money maker, but that wasn’t the point in truth. It proved it was possible to put on good quality new music and have a great nights entertainment in Ashford, and we had hoped to develop that further.
We have a massive stock of used records, and have increased our focus on new releases and re issues to accommodate the increase in interest in vinyl, as it is now referred to.
We believe we provide a good service to the local community and seek to involve ourselves in anything music related in the area. Supporting gigs and festivals as best we can, whilst getting LiVES to play wherever we can such as, Jam on the Farm, LoftyFest, Festival in the Park etc. But of course the main focus is still selling records and fulfilling that need in the community and online.
2. Who are your main influences or role models?
Too many to to list so I will stick with the music focus. Apart from all the obvious musical ones, John Lennon, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Floyd. Artists of that golden era of music.
I guess my biggest driver has always been my own determination to complete what I start as successfully as possible.
3. What's your greatest or proudest achievement to date?
Without going into too much detail - still being here is an achievement after what I went through health wise. I really should have died!
Since then though, I have set up and lead locally the walking football sessions, which until lockdown were a great way for me to keep fit and encourage others of senior years to do the same.
And the shop, it pleases me every day that it's there and people enjoy it. Music has been brought back to Ashford.
4. Tell us an interesting fact or funny story about yourself
I have managed several acts in various capacities all to a degree of success. The Black Ink - who were also known as Dry Riser, released an album. The completed LP we put out is still a very proud moment for me as it was such good quality, still is. Sadly the Island record deal for them fell at the first hurdle!
The Sea - who remain one of my favourite acts despite splitting up! Again Sony looked ready to sign them, but stuff happens in the music biz!
And now LiVES singer songwriter who we hope to be able to release an LP/mini LP this year. He was actually the vocalist for The Sea and is ridiculously talented. I cannot wait to get the LP out!
Not very amusing, but I hope interesting, I toured the UK with The Sea and had many laughs with them pulling stunts and filming the adventures on the road which made me laugh, but nothing I could repeat here!
5. How can people find out more about what you do?
www.therecordstoreashford.co.uk all links to our Facebook, Twitter etc are there.
TheRecordStoreAshford is our name on Facebook if you want to like and follow. We are currently doing a 2 weekly listening session there, the first of which was then featured on BBC Kent.
The Record Store, Unit 16, Park Mall, Ashford TN24 8RY
Our next Fortnightly Five will be published on Friday 12th February. If you'd like to take part in any of our future features please get in contact with us through the Facebook page facebook.com/ashfordcommunity or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org