Andy Votel

After finding success as a musician, Andy Votel is now best known as the brains behind Twisted Nerve and Finders Keepers Records. Andy’s obsession with music also continues into his career as a producer, his extensive record collection (7000 and counting) and his work designing record sleeves.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m a graphic designer, an archivist, a DJ, a writer, and a radio presenter, and I’ve been running record labels my entire life. I generally just try and stay out of mischief by hiding away in record shops and keeping myself to myself. The name Andrew Votel is an acronym for Violators of the English Language, which was a graffiti crew I was in.

It stands for breaking down and destroying the English language. So, it’s no freak accident that later in life I started trawling the world for Hungarian records, or Italian records, or South American, Persian and Turkish records. That’s what I’m known for now as a DJ, but the core of my name is very English.

We know you have a special memory to the first time you saw Baracuta’s G9. Can you share the details of this moment with us?

I have a really specific memory of leaving junior school and starting at high school in the mid-80s. For the first time I started to identify these youth culture groups. I'd never had any indication of this before and I arrived at school and there were these groups of goths and mods, there were the rockabillies and the metal guys. The perfect place to see these people was theschool bus at the end of the day. In the new year you’d see all the mods on the bus in their baggy parka jackets, but as the sun came out there was this more dignified look. I used to call them the music guys and they'd just go upstairs. I built confidence to go upstairs on the bus and you'd see for the mods but like in their more dignified, smarter look. But you'd always be too scared to turn around and I remember sitting there one time and they'd be playing like TheKinks or maybe Stevie Wonder. They always had a radio upstairs on the bus and one time they played Mary Mary by The Monkees. I said to my friend “I hate The Monkees,” next thing I know this girl comes up to me says “if you've got something to say about the mods you have to say it to their face.” I turned around and saw her and she had this jacket on. I hadn't seen the mods wearing it before. It was a Baracuta Harrington jacket, I looked at her and sort of fell in love.

A few years later they got scooters and stuff and they left and then youth culture changed at that point, everyone got into Acid House, and everybody got into like Manchester music. You didn’t see that look so much anymore but it was always burnt into my vision of this girl in a Harrington jacket.

So, you’re saying it had a particular connection to the music industry?

I didn't see it again for years and years until I was old enough to start going to record shops again when I was 14 or 15 in the middle of Manchester and there'd be people buying northern soul records. I started seeing the Harrington jacket again and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. But I knew what it was at that point, and I knew that it was like a little code. There's always been this synchronicity between music and the Harrington which was amazing. That synchronicity sort of blew my mind.

There's a beautiful thing about Harrington jackets, they’re sort of de rigueur amongst a lot of people as a record digger's outfit. If you want to see a Harrington jacket, just go to a European record fair, there’ll be Mods wearing Harrington jackets, there'll be Soul Boys wearing Harrington jackets. It’s a good place to find original Harrington jackets. It’s unassuming because it’s in the margins of the music lover and record collector’s uniform, but it doesn’t really subscribe to one cultural group anymore.

g9 85th anniversary