The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of Rough Trade

Just watched a great documentary about Rough Trade Records which chronicles its history from the DIY punk aesthetic through the dawning realisation that capitalism drives the music business to finally reconciliation of its idealistic approach to finding, managing and distributing artists and their music.

It’s the classic tale – like minded folks get together to change the world, the world duly changes and they find they don’t like the changed world after all. There is a lot of regret and what ifs and cloudy memories where things went bad but knife sharp memories where things went well.

But really its the story of how a love of great music and an adherence to a set of ideals and principles can change the world for the better. Rough Trade more or less invented the “indie” record label or, at least, created the conditions for them to flourish and with “The Strokes” they helped kickstart the early 2000s guitar band revival and boom and with the rehabilitation of Pulp helped fuel the Britpop scene in the 1990s.

Geoff Travis, founder and ‘spiritual leader’ of Rough Trade has created a great legacy and one to be proud of and I am pleased the Rough Trade brand (and shops) and approach to pushing alternative and challenging music carries on.

MG – 01.02.15