Ten years ago, influential music brand Rough Trade opened its flagship record store – Rough Trade East – in Brick Lane, London E1, and quickly identified the potential for using its 5,000 square foot space to host intimate live events, using systems from d&b audiotechnik with technical support from Entec Sound & Light.
The idea, said co-owner/director Stephen Godfroy, was to make high quality events a default feature of the record store experience. “We’re now up to around four or five each week, and they can range from full-on performances by bands and artists at all levels of the business, to themed talks,” he said.
“Rough Trade East is very much at the grass roots of today’s music industry. While the likes of Radiohead, Blur and Queens Of The Stone Age have all appeared, we also take recommendations from trusted sources for up-and-coming artists to break new ground at the store.”
Godfroy continued: “As a retailer, we encourage acts to perform in-store to support a new album. People will pay a visit to purchase that album and the first 300 will receive a wristband, giving them access to the in-store gig that evening or later in the week. Due to the nature of the space, the audiences feel a direct connection with the performances that wouldn’t normally be experienced at a show in a regular venue. It’s a two-way street: while the events have become a critical component of our store model because they drive so many product sales, many people have said that the most profound live music experiences they’ve ever had was here – it’s certainly very different.
“Of course, it can be a bit intimidating for some artists who aren’t used to playing in such close proximity to an audience, but equally they very much appreciate the sound quality that our system offers, which is why we have such a great reputation among bands on the live circuit who have appeared. That’s very much thanks to the quality and reliability of d&b’s products.”
In 2008, a year after Rough Trade East’s events programme began, the store became involved with d&b audiotechnik’s UK team with assistance from long-term d&b rental stockist Entec, whose technicians were called upon in September 2016 to work more closely on the operational set-up.