Geoff Travis (Rough Trade): Culture of Independence

Friday 5th May
Written by Lucy Fegan 
We’re in an era where the music industry needs a new direction, piracy is rife and musicians are struggling to get noticed in the sea of spotify. Therefore, it was refreshing to hear from indie icon Geoff Travis at the Culture of Independence event, an extraordinaire who has been in the industry for over 30 years, back when it was a little more exciting.Travis is the founder of Rough Trade, a record label known for signing bands such as The Smiths, The Strokes and more recently Warpaint and Parquet Courts. The talk began with vivid stories of starting his record shop in Notting Hill and how he would squat in London, “because everyone was doing that back then.”

He opened Rough Trade record store in 1976, a place at the epicentre of punk. Following this, he started a distribution co-operative servicing the countries independent record stores and allowing small record labels to distribute nationally. 
In collaboration with Bido Lito, the event formed a Q&A style and following this, Travis picked out three songs that have stuck out to him through his career. The audience sat in darkness and listened to each track throughout.
Firstly, ‘This Charming Man’ by The Smiths. A band that have had turbulent times with Rough Trade, but who also released one of their more successful albums, ‘The Queen is Dead’. 
Secondly, ‘Hope Theres Someone’ by Anthony and the Johnsons. An incredibly moving song that was beautiful to listen to in such a way. The layers really shone through and the progression in the melody was more noticeable than ever.
 And lastly, ‘B.H.S’ by Sleaford Mods. A recent signing for Rough Trade and a juxtaposition from the previous song. Showing just how diverse Travis’ taste is. The talk was uplifting and left the audience feeling inspired. It injected a little bit of hope into the future of music that was more than needed.