With April consisting of Record Store Day, all the women speaking out this month we’ll be talking to women who work in where else? Record stores! Most call LA home, but today we have Andy out east. She’s part of the Rough Trade family and hearing all they do – it makes you resided in the Big Apple too. They don’t only sell music in all forms, but have a venue attached to the store? Uh…yes, please! Now more with Andy as she talks about how she got to where she is, a day in the life of a Rough Trade employee, where she’s going and so much more!
Kendra: Have you always been involved in music?
Andy Larsen: Music has always been a large part of my life. I’ve never really had a non-music job that lasted very long. I’ve tried doing other things and found it hard to connect with non-music people at times.
Kendra: What’s your day to day like at Rough Trade?
Andy: Every day is different at Rough Trade! We don’t have a steady schedule so some days I come in and work on the floor and assist customers, while others I‘m the office trying to organize events and marketing. My favorite days are the days that there is a big event so I can interact with excited fans.
Kendra: I am talking to a lot of ladies handing business out here in LA and being from out here, I know more of what they’re dealing with in their scene – but as someone who’s never been out to New York – what’s the music scene like out there from your point of view?
Andy: I only moved to New York from San Francisco a little over two years ago and I feel like I’m still getting adjusted to how things are here. I know a lot of women who work in music here who are part of the various music scenes. There is always room for more inclusion, but those who work in music and play music around here are great. There is a lot of stuff happening: Pharmakon, Wall, La Msima, and Beverly are all bands I’m fairly excited about from here.
Kendra: It seems to be hectic and busy, especially for your store. You guys have a lot of in store events. How do you guys choose which bands get to come on in and take over the store for an evening or afternoon?
Andy: Rough Trade is definitely a busy place! We have a large space with high foot traffic plus a venue attached that holds about 300 people. Luckily we have the venue for both in-store and ticketed events so that customers are still able to shop in the store when an event is going on. Bowery Presents books the ticketed shows in the venue while I book the promotional in-store events. The events I book include either free shows or shows where you purchase an album to get in – also screenings, reading, and panels. We’re open to all sorts of acts for in-stores. Usually a band will have a new album to support.
Kendra: Is there an artist you’re hoping will stop by in the near future?
Andy: Yes! There are so many, I can’t just name one! This is an open invitation to Parquet Courts, Irma Thomas, FKA Twigs, Pan Sonic, Pet Shops Boys, Powell, Laurel Halo, Heron Oblivion, Pulp, Melvins, Pharoahe Monch, Framtid, Holly Herndon, Anika and Container to come play an in-store. Too many to name really.
Kendra: So maybe it’s just a California thing, but I ran into a couple of stores out here owned by men with one other employee that happened to be a guy. Are there more women in record stores out your way?
Andy: I don’t think it’s just a California thing. I’ve noticed a lot of smaller stores that are owned by men and are either self run or have one employee. LA has both Mount Analog and Ooga Booga which are stores either run by or partially owned by women. Some of the larger stores hire a lot of women. As a former sales rep at a distributor I know of some women in buying positions – they curate the shops. Out here we have us, the Captured Tracks store, and Other Music all with female employees – there may be others so I’m sorry if I’m leaving anyone out. It’s not enough, but there are definitely stores out there that rely on knowledgeable females.
Kendra: Also, there was a call to action this year about safety for females at concerts. Have you guys ever ran into that sort of thing at one of your in-stores?
Andy: We’re lucky, our venue is on the safe side – the operations of the venue itself are pretty much female run so it’s definitely something that we’d be fairly proactive about. It’s sad that you can never let your guard down or feel 100% safe, but we’ve been lucky so far – as far as I know.
Kendra: Where do you hope to be with your career in music in say, 10 years time?
Andy: I really love spreading music to people and helping artists. I’ve bounced around so much in the music industry, I’m happy to just be doing anything music related. That said I really love Rough Trade and am excited to see where the store goes.
Kendra: Being that New York was the home to MTV’s gem show – TRL, I would love if you could make us a mixtape of your top 5 songs from when you were a say, 15.