One thing that unites us all and keeps us inspired is the love of music.
As a young teenager, David was hugely into music and music subcultures, with interests in Northern Soul, the Punk Movement, Mods, and New Wave to name but a few. It was not just about the music, it was everything that went with those scenes: clubbing, dancing, and the clothing. One might say that is where his obsession with clothing first began and can still be seen in the collections today.
Music undoubtedly plays a huge part in the daily lives of those connected to UW, it seems fitting therefore that our Nottingham store sits on top of one of the most prominent music hubs of the city of Nottingham, Rough Trade.
The pandemic has hit the music industry hard, with live concerts and gigs cancelled for the foreseeable future. We spoke to Kyle Hougham from Rough Trade Nottingham on how we can support our favourite artists at this time, on what musicians to watch and all things Rough Trade. He has also put together a playlist for us.
Can you tell us a little more about the background of Rough Trade?
Rough Trade first opened in 1976 on the doorstep of punk at the time, in West London. Over 40 years on, Rough Trade has a trusted power of recommendation and continues to champion exciting music from all over the world. As the stores grow, so does our place in the artist community and that helped us massively in New York, Nottingham (as the first UK store outside of London) and Bristol, as we hope to provide a place of discovery and congregation for anyone who is into music.
Photo credit: The Vinyl Factory
The pandemic has been tough especially for the music industry. How have you found reopening the stores?
The store reopenings have been a positive experience and I feel that we are providing our best service to date, as the downtime helped the business restructure our online operation, in particular. Rough Trade has always been about the counter - talking, listening, putting records in people's hands and that's the core of the experience of going in-store now. I'm also really pleased to see the demand surge for rare and secondhand vinyl, which we have grown to be a big part of our offer over the last 12 months. This helps us give something unexpected and speaks to the days of discovery in a record shop that Rough Trade was founded upon.
With shows canceled for musicians across the globe for the foreseeable, how can we support our favourite artists?
You will see a big push towards online experiences - digital Q&A sessions, live performances and more access is given to practice spaces and rehearsals from artists who would be touring ordinarily. Supporting this with tickets or engagement is a great way to show this love, as is heading to the record store and buying new music. Most artists will also increase their commitment to physical releases, by offering extra artwork, merch, signed copies, or bonus material - this all represents value and interest for fans.
Top three new releases that you recommend?
In no particular order, recent highlights include -
Any new up and coming artists we should keep our eye out for this year?
I've long thought that Viagra Boys from Stockholm should be far bigger - there's a new record coming early 2021 that should convert more people... Sault are also bound to pick up even more momentum despite their mystique and Nottingham's Snowy is one MC worth a mention, as he sounds good on any type of production. It's a great time for music, generally speaking, and regardless of format or platform Rough Trade is right there.
As Record Store Day in June was postponed due to the pandemic, what's the new plan?
Whilst we're sad to miss the festival-like experience of Record Store Day and won't be programming live stages in our stores this year, the move to stagger the releases over the coming months by limited drops should help us celebrate the music in the same way. Plus the rules preventing online releases have relaxed, so our global reach should be strengthened.
(New dates now: August 29th, September 26th, or October 24th.)