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Follow our Leeds: Jumbo Records

By Elise Czyzowska

13 October 2022

To celebrate the opening of our new campus in Leeds, we’re getting to know our new local area in a series of blogs featuring local businesses from across the city. In the next of our ‘Follow our Leeds’ series, we’re speaking to Jumbo Records

Jumbo Records are an established part of the creative scene in Leeds, opening all the way back in 1971, when they were known as ‘Jumbo Mobile Discotheque’, a sound system and mobile disco. Over the years, they have gradually morphed into the community-favourite record shop located in the Merrion Centre (right in the centre of town).

In their own words, Jumbo Records are ‘the major independent record store in Leeds, selling records, CDs, gig tickets, books, and merch. We’re a music lovers paradise, selling pretty much every genre you can think of! We also host in-store gigs, signings, and events.’ In today’s blog, we spoke to the team at Jumbo Records about the creative scene in Leeds.

In last week’s blog, we spoke to the Take It Easy Film Lab, a local home to film photography in Leeds. This week, we’re moving from the world of photography to the city’s music community, their most memorable in-store sessions, and of course, their favourite film scores.

With vinyl sales rising at a higher rate than streaming over the last few years, what do you think draws the music community to this format?

I think the fact that vinyl as a physical, tangible object resonates with music lovers. Listening to music on vinyl is an entirely different experience to streaming. The act of selecting the record, lifting the needle, carefully placing the record on the deck, and enjoying the music for a set amount of time taps into something special, something that streaming can’t do.

In a way, records are time capsules, acting as little stepping stones for moments in your life. You can always remember where you were when you first heard your favourite album, and what your life was like at that point. Records are a great way to map out your journey through music!

You have a diverse list of acts appearing at your in-store events – what have been some of your highlights over the years?

This year has been a great one for in-store gigs and signing sessions. So far, we’ve had Yard Act, Working Men’s Club, Johnny Marr, Katy J Pearson, Greentea Peng, Pip Bloom, Superoganism, Honeyglaze, Just Mustard, Life, Villagers, The Amazons, and many more.

Some highlights from the past include Hot Chip, Lilly Allen, We Are Scientists, Nightmares on Wax, Sleaford Mods, George Clinton, The Orielles, Wolf Alice, Aldous Harding, and more.

We’ve also had BBC Radio 6 broadcast live from the shop which was a great day – Mary Anne Hobbs was spinning tunes and chatting live on our stage!

The Jumbo Records store, based in the Leeds Merrion Centre

Following that, what are the must-see local groups or venues that arriving students should check out?

Wharf Chambers is excellent, as is Eat Your Greens, and Outlaws Yacht Club.

We always recommend the Brudenell Social Club – the best small venue in the country. It’s right in the middle of Hyde Park, and we can guarantee that every one of your favourite bands/artists will have played there at some point in their career. We recently put on a sold out Working Men’s Club gig this summer. Plus, it has cheap pints, pies, and pool tables.

In terms of local groups to check out – there are loads! Punks will love S.C.U.M., indie heads will dig W.H. Lung and Treeboy & Arc. For jazz lovers there is a thriving jazz scene born out of Leeds Conservatoire and Hyde Park Book Club. There are also some great Leeds DJs to check out too – we DJ at a monthly Jumbo Records residency at Belgrave Music Hall, so keep an eye out for that.

In your eyes, what sets the creative scene in Leeds apart from the rest of the UK?

Leeds is a small enough city to generate interesting musical and artistic cross-pollination, but also large enough to have a variety of music venues, studio spaces and galleries to produce unique work. The fact that there is a large student population means that there is always an appetite for music, film, and art in the city.

Musically, Leeds has a subversive history born out of the post-punk scene in the 70s, with groups like Gang Of Four and The Mekons setting the precedent.

The main thing is that there has always been a culture of creative making in the city, often in a pioneering sense. In fact, students at MetFilm School will know about Louis Le Prince’s film Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge – widely recognised as one of the earliest image films created.

You can find out more about Jumbo Records on their website

Since we’re a film school, can you share any of your favourite film scores?

We’re big film fans here at Jumbo, with some of us making films and music as well as working in the shop. Some favourite scores amongst the staff are Micah Levi’s Under The Skin score, David Shire’s for The Conversation, John William’s for The Long Goodbye, Popol Vuh’s contribution to Stalker, and of course, David Lynch and Alan Splet’s Eraserhead score.

Finally, what’s one thing our new students should know about Jumbo Records?

If you are into music, film, creative culture and the arts in general, we welcome you with open arms. We are music nuts ourselves, and we love to listen and discover new music. We often get great music tips from our customers, and that’s the beauty of working at Jumbo – the sharing of music and fun.

Students are ALWAYS welcome, even if you want to just come and hang out in our seating area. Students also get 10% off every purchase in store, every time!

We look forward to welcoming you to the store.

  • You can learn more about Jumbo Records on their website.
  • Read the first of our Follow Our Leeds series, where we profiled the Take It Easy Film Lab, here!