Rough Trade Records founder and indie icon, GEOFF TRAVIS, joins us for a special Q&A event on Friday 5th May to discuss grassroots movements, independence and the spirit of revolution, in association with Writing On The Wall festival. The event is a chance for us to catch up with a person who’s been an inspiration to everything we do at Bido Lito!, through his ‘can do’ attitude and the remarkable legacy Rough Trade has created. One of our special events, it’s free to Bido Lito! members and tickets are also available for non-members – find out more here.

Travis opened the first Rough Trade record store in Notting Hill in 1976, a place at the epicentre of the punk and counter-culture movements. A distribution co-operatives followed suit, servicing independent record stores (including Liverpool’s own Probe Records) and allowing small labels such as Factory and 2 Tone to distribute nationally. He has since gone on to release a catalogue that almost defines the genre of independent music itself with Rough Trade Records. Now concentrating solely on the record label, Travis will discuss keeping the independent spirit alive, with opportunities for attendees to quiz him.

Ahead of the event, we asked a host of Liverpool luminaries to pick their favourite songs released on Rough Trade Records. Some of the brains from Sound City, Dig Vinyl, British Music Experience, Sentric, Getintothis, Edge Hill University, The Bluecoat, The Farm, Sugarmen and ourselves waded through the frankly stunning Rough Trade roster and put together this amazing playlist. You can find the full Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page – with some particular gems highlighted below. We start with a Liverpool-based act who released one single on Rough Trade in 2000…


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Progressive indie-folk act Ooberman began life in Bradford, before members Dan Popplewell and brothers Steve and Andy Flett moved to Liverpool. They teamed up with keyboardist Sophia Churney and drummer Andy Kelly and went on to release a number of singles via Independiente and Graham Coxon’s Transcopic label. In 2000 they released the single Dolphin Blue on Rough Trade, a typically Ooberman indie-psych tune with an underwater-themed video.


The New York fuzz-punks were selected by four people to go on the list, reflecting how the band’s massive popularity cuts across multiple genres.

Human Performance, 2016


This song was selected twice, the only time on the list that two people plumped for the same track. The Dublin four-piece have been making waves since hooking up with the label in 2014.

Holding Hands With Jamie, 2015


The song that launched the coolest band the world has seen – and a major factor in the guitar music resurgence of the early 2000s.

Is This It, 2001


Adventurous avant-rockers BSP have been a staple of the Rough Trade roster in recent years, showing the label’s desire to be ahead of the curve.

Do You Like Rock Music, 2008


Derry vocalist Bridie Monds-Watson who manages to spin gold from her angst-filled tales.

Before We Forgot How To Dream, 2015


The New York singer-songwriter, filmmaker and artist basically defined anti-folk with his debut album, and has gone on to plunder multiple new genres over the course of his eclectic career.

Garfield, 2002

Geoff Travis: The Culture Of Independence Q&A takes place at The Bluecoat (School Lane) on Friday 5th May, starting at 7.30pm. The event is part of Writing On The Wall’s 2017 programme. Tickets are available to buy now (free to Bido Lito! members).

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