Andrew Shallcross is a music fanatic and has been since school. Hailing from Stockport, Manchester’s largely unsung sibling, Andy began collecting records aged 14. It was the mechanics of hip-hop production that spurred his search for original samples on vinyl, with his father teaching him how to make his first “wrong-sounding” demos using cassette tapes. Finding a “kindred spirit” in Mark Rathbone, AKA Boney, he entered the realm of performance as a member of the Violators of the English Language crew, adopting the acronym V.O.T.E.L. that he still uses today.
Andy has gone a long way since then, though, like the music he champions through Finders Keepers together with Doug Shipton, his actions have remained distinctly niche, preferring to operate deep below the strata of fashion and consumable tastes. Even the music he makes now, be it solo or with long-time collaborator Sean Canty (of Demdike Stare), rarely bears his name. Indeed, each new record seems to throw up another moniker—Applehead, Slant Azymuth, Anworth Kirk—making his musical whereabouts difficult to trace at any given time.
Reissues aside, Andy has brought lost or forgotten music to new audiences through concerts and re-contextualised performances, such as 2006’s show at the Barbican that paid tribute to Jean Claude Vannier and Serge Gainsbourg, or his latest Kleksploitation series that debuted at Unsound Festival—a re-interpretation of Polish composer Andrzej Korzyński’s Pan Kleks film trilogy. He has also masterminded numerous conceptual mixes and scholarly-themed compilations, from archiving rare folk and psychedelic pop from Wales (Welsh Rare Beat, Welsh Rare Beat 2 and Galwad Y Mynydd) to charting surf rock from Thailand (Thai! Dai! – The Heavier Side of the Lukthung Underground).
His music knowledge is dauntingly encyclopaedic and yet wonderfully endearing. Talking to Andy about records—or rather hearing Andy talk about records—is like some fantastic history lesson, delivered with all the humbleness of a genuine enthusiast.
Affiliations: Finders Keepers Records