Spanning 5 stores over two continents, Rough Trade is one of the most successful names on the independent music scene. From Nottingham to New York, over the next four weeks we’ll be speaking to the women of Rough Trade to learn about their roles within the company, the female musicians they’re obsessed with, and their dream in-stores…
First up, here’s Rough Trade Nottingham’s Sophie:
Tell us about your role at Rough Trade; what does your typical day look like?
I’m a Sales Assistant for the Nottingham store, Group Bookseller and self-appointed tea lady.
RTN life is surprisingly varied. Most days I’m serving customers and chatting about music and books (my two favourite subjects!)
The rest of the time I might be merchandising, ordering stock, building products on the website or popping to see our Rough Trade East comrades for the odd meeting.
If you could have any band or artist play in store, who would you choose?
PJ Harvey would be the in-store of my dreams! I discovered Sheela Na Gig in my obligatory angst-riddled teens and I have devoured every album she’s released. Polly’s autoharp would sound lovely in our little gig space.
How is Rough Trade encouraging more women into its stores?
RTN’s events calendar is incredibly diverse and we’ve played host to a considerable amount of female-led events.
We’re very lucky to have the Fan Club ladies doing a monthly residency here, they curate amazing events with all female lineups and dj sets.
We often team up with Nottingham’s Women’s Centre to raise funds for local women’s charities and services. We’re hoping to announce their next charity gig night very soon, Madonnatron will be playing which I’m personally very excited about!
In the past we’ve hosted comedy nights with Major Labia, live sets from Girls Who Code, our local Roller Derby team the Hellfire Harlots have held recruitment drives and even baby sling workshops for new mummies.
On a more fundamental level I consider our shop to be welcoming for everyone. No one should ever feel intimated coming into a record store, we’re all here for the same reason: we love music.
What’s your favourite thing about the music scene in Nottingham?
There is a real sense of community in Nottingham’s music scene. Just last month we were part of an all-day festival Beat the Streets, raising money for local homeless charity Framework. The day was full of Nottingham faces playing for free to raise money. It was amazing to see the heavyweights like Sleaford Mods and Kagoule sit on the bill alongside emerging Notts talents for a such a worthy cause.
Nottingham plays host to a number of annual events, like Dot to Dot, Melodica Festival, and Hockley Hustle, that really bring together local venues and bands. The events encourage that communication and growth which seem so important to new musicians in the city. We’re lucky to have such a proactive, music-loving scene here in Notts!
If you went to live on a desert island, which 3 records would you pack?
Grace Jones – Island Life (of course!)
The Slits – Typical Girls (for when I inevitably turn full-savage)
John Carpenter – Anthology: Movie Themes 1974-1998 (for added retro suspense)
Which female musicians are you loving most right now?
Electronic musicians Karen Gwyer and Chloé, Colleen’s A Flame My Love, A Frequency. Princess Nokia, Aldous Harding (I keep re-watching her live performances on Youtube, it’s so mesmerising!) and I’m very excited to hear Anna Von Hausswolff’s upcoming album Dead Magic.
What are your tips for 2018? Any new artists we should know about?
I’m very excited about the forthcoming Goat Girl debut album, they’ll be playing RT stores to promote it. We have such a following for them, their singles have always gone down a treat.