Late Night Chameleon Cafe—known by most as the covetable e-shop LN-CC—is a cosmic place of wonder, both online and at its Gary Card-designed brick-and-mortar location in the heart of Dalston. With an inventory of esoteric goods filling out the striking, cocoon-like space, it's easy to feel intimidated by LN-CC's appointment-only basement digs. But as we recently learned from creative mastermind and co-founder Dan Mitchell, the progressive East London concept shop is a place for raw discovery, not an exclusive outpost for high fashion snobbery. "People get that impression from us, that it's quite intimidating. And then they get here and they're like, 'oh this is alright I suppose.' Everyone's just kicking back, you know," he explains. One of the best rooms to do that in is the record store, which boasts ultra-enticing audio equipment and an impressive collection of obscure records.
"What we do is very specific and a lot of the things that you find certainly on the music side—and on the product side actually—is stuff that you won't find not only in London but in the UK or Europe a lot of the times," Mitchell tells us, while throwing on a hypnotic set of tunes they created exclusively with Zsou (formerly known as A Mountain of One). While that plays over the record shop's B&W system, Mitchell updates us on their latest crop of vinyl they just received from their "guy" in Japan. Because they work with a lot of Japanese fashion brands, LN-CC has built strong ties there, and their stock of super rare records makes their steadfast connection obvious. "They start at about £20 and go to about £500, and this latest delivery from Tokyo is very diverse. They're all Japanese but they're different genres," he explains. "So it ranges from, like, really weird, avant-garde stuff to psychedelic rock, prog, jazz and weird electronica. Some of this sounds like techno before techno existed! Most of these records are very hard to come by in Japan so seeing a selection like this in London is a real privilege."
The assortment of vinyl typically found at LN-CC is undoubtedly a discerning music enthusiast's wet dream, and they don't stop there. While Mitchell explains their buying process is very organic, they regularly create pop-ups within the shop, like the one they did with Brighton-based crate-digger extraordinaire, Nick The Record, or the special release they did for DJ Harvey's Locussolus album. The now-sold-out limited edition of 100 came with a screen-printed artwork and a biker's patch designed by Harvey. "We were the only place that had it in the world," Mitchell notes.
He also tells us, "We don't really go out every week and try to get records for the space, we just stumble upon stuff and that's how it's done because this store isn't just about the music—it's about the whole thing—the fashion, the books, the music." When they kick off any new collection for any of the concept shop's components, they likely do it in their private club space in the back, which is home to a vintage soundsystem sourced from Eden Studios. Bands like Oasis, Definitely Maybe, Primal Scream and more all recorded through those speakers, which Mitchell humbly explains they very luckily got their hands on when Eden closed down.
Currently they're working with the legendary Roxie Music guitarist Phil Manzanera, who is giving LN-CC access to his solo work. They're getting contemporary artists like Theo Parrish, Zsou, Daniele Baldelli and a few other people to remix it, saying, "That's going to be on the LN-CC label, the first official label release kind of thing."
"I produce music but I wouldn't classify myself as a musician," says Mitchell. "I'm just a music lover really." LN-CC's serious passion is blatantly clear, as well as the fact we have a lot to look forward to from them in the future.