Geoff Travis, the founder of the famous indie record label Rough Trade, came to King’s College London on Monday 5th November for a rare onstage interview with Dr Harvey G. Cohen, as part of the CCI Live Interviews series.
Travis talked about a range of issues affecting the music industry now, and thrilled a certain (probably quite large) section of the audience with tales of the Smiths, who were signed to Rough Trade, and the Stone Roses, who got away.
Known primarily as a champion of UK post-punk and indie, Travis revealed a passion for soul music and extensive knowledge of the history of pop and of the UK and US record industries generally. He singled out Seymour Stein as one of his role models as an industry figure. Asked by one member of the audience, somewhat ambitiously, to select the musical highlights of the the past sixty years, Travis talked about drum and bass in the early 1990s as one of the most exciting scenes he’d ever witnessed.
Travis’s indie credentials were never far from view, not least when, talking about major labels, he joked: ‘The A&R person is very nice to you and tell you that he loves your music. Then you find out that he loves Mika’s music too.’
Travis stayed behind for a beer afterwards. He’s shown below during the interview (top), chatting with some students (middle) and with his interlocutor, Harvey Cohen (bottom). No comments about Harvey’s suit, please.