Sub Pop


WED, MAY 21, 2008 at 9:36 AM

Richard Laing Is A Fucking Cunt

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After a long, lazy hiatus People Who Work Here is back and this week we’d like to introduce you to Sub Pop’s one and only piece of international flair—Richard Laing from Scotland, Wales! He’s got this crazy Scottish accent and I am constantly asking him to repeat himself, partly for fun but mostly because I really have no idea what he’s saying. One day when we are all sending around lame jokey work emails with photos of infected dicks and links to other funny stuff, Richard replied with a youtube link to—get this—a Scottish stand up comedian telling jokes about blood sausage or how mean your lass is when you come home pissed after hanging out on the moors with the hounds of the Baskervilles. Needless to say, I didn’t get it. Anyhoo, up until recently Richard always had the best lunch in the office but he had an unfair advantage—his mom was making it. Click this and then let’s meet Richard!

L: You started off as an intern a long while back but now you do something in the sales department. Tell me what that is and how you got the job. Who do you like working for better, Carly or Andy?

R: I work in the Sales department with Dean and Andy mainly trying to ensure that Sub Pop records are available, visible and attractively priced in America’s fine and not so fine record stores. I got a job after spell interning and then temping at Sub Pop, then working for ADA (Sub Pop’s distributor). I’d like to think my incredible work ethic, effervescent personality and golden ears made me an irresistible choice, but the forces of convenience and pity were probably influential too. [That or the fact that “Scottish” was the only available minority in Seattle. –ed.] Carly and Andy have both been really great to me. I like working for Andy better though because it’s a real job, not an internship.

L: People give you a lot of shit about being from Scotland but I’m sure it’s really cool there what with the golf and all the delicious foods and town drunks and stuff. Name five ways that Scotland is better than the US.

R: To be honest, you are the only one who gives me shit about being from Scotland. [That’s what you think, bub. I just do it to your face. –ed.] I tend to avoid getting the gush about Scotland, mainly to preempt the inevitable “why don’t you fuck off back there then?” The funny thing is, after being born in Edinburgh, I spent the first 5 or so years of my life living in Nashua, NH. [Where the fuck is that? –ed.] When we moved back to the UK, I had an American accent and kids used to make fun of me and ask me to “speak American”. After developing an English accent, we moved up to Scotland where the only thing less desirable on your first day of school than ginger hair [Is this Scottish for pubes? –ed.] is an English accent, so I quickly got rid of that too. I’ve ended up with a pretty appropriate transatlantic accent. [If by transatlantic you mean even your own people can’t understand you then yes! –ed.] Anyway that’s not what you asked. Scotland is better that the US in the following categories: Castles, Drunks, Slang, Affordable Golf and Sausages. [Is Affordable Golf and Sausages a real place? –ed.]

L: I heard your dad has a killer record collection—is this true? Is this what got you into music? Did you always want to work in the biz?

R: My Dad had a pretty awesome collection of vinyl circa 1967-1973. There was a bunch of first pressings of classic records and 45s and then some weirder forgotten gems (and some garbage). I started digging in that stuff when Britpop was “happening”. A lot of bands were being referenced at that time that I remembered seeing in my Dad’s collection (Small Faces, the Who, the Kinks, Beatles etc.). I’d rummage through, stay up late and explore that stuff. Without that resource I probably wouldn’t care about music as much as I do. My friends’ idea of great music was the Stardust vs Madonna “Music Sounds Better on Holiday” mash up, so most the music I checked out was either through my Dad’s record collection, Mojo or late night Radio 1. From then I wanted to be involved in music, but it just didn’t seem possible. I didn’t know anyone who was in a band (except the Seamen [I am chuckling. I can’t help it. –ed.] who would cover the Red Hot Chili Peppers at school band nights) or anyone who had a job in music (except a friend of my Dad’s son who played guitar in the Exploited). [Crap! How did I forget to ask you about that!? –ed.] It wasn’t until I visited Seattle that working in music even seemed possible.

L: Did you graduate from college? Here or there? What kind of degree do you have?

R: I graduated from Manchester University in England, with a BA in Economics and Sociology. [Yep, that’s sales! –ed.]

L: You worked/work(?) with KEXP quite a bit. What did you do for them? Have you met John Richards? Do you like him?

R: I still work there once or twice a month on remote broadcasts (usually a live show from a club in town) as a “production lead”. I’ve been involved with KEXP for almost all the three and a half years I have lived in Seattle. I’ve answered phones, been a production intern, board operator, CD reviewer, made tea for moderately successful bands etc. I have met John Richards, but only a few times. He’s always been really friendly (I can recall him tolerating my anecdotes about the Mountain Goats and jobbies). He’ll be a legend if he calls his second kid Gabe though. [This is an obscure reference to the band Juno. Weird, Richard. –ed]

L: You are somewhat of a pun master. How did that happen and do you think you can stop?

R: I think to be a “master” you need better quality control. Here’s one last one, then I’m done, Lazy Swine. [Ugh. –ed]

L: I know you play soccer and that you’re a good golfer (Scotland, duh) but what else do you like to do for fun?

R: I’m pretty obsessed with soccer (or football [Why don’t you fuck off back there?! –ed.] as I used to call it). I play twice a week and watch games at the weekend and sometimes Champions League games at lunch during the week. [No lie—Richard was watching soccer on the clock today and we all heard him gasp like a woman from the other room! –ed.] I also play guitar in a band we call Weightless (we recently lost our rhythm section which makes the name even more fitting). [Does that qualify as a pun? I thought you were done. –ed.] We’re just finishing up a little EP (is it still extended play if it only takes up a third of a CD?). Beyond that I like the same things everyone else does fine foods, walks in the park, being held, sandwiches etc. [Is this a things white people like joke? –ed.]

L: Tell me something that people say that really drives you crazy. For instance, I hate it when people say “I love live music!” I mean, that just barely means anything….

R: “I’m going to design a garment that combines the utility belt and the kilt” and “My bad”.

L: Who is your favorite coworker?

R: That’s a hard one – I like almost all of the people that work here. [You better start naming names and quick. –ed.]

L: What’s the next step for Dick Laing in this crazy thing we call life?

R: The past few years have been pretty unsettled, so it’s been nice to have a routine of awesome things going on. My ambitions have been pretty modest (e.g. the other day I was thinking how rad it would be to be the first person on the express lane on I-5 after they switch directions). I’m not very good at making plans, so I mainly try and listen to my gut. My gut isn’t saying much more than “what’s for dinner bro?” so I’ll keep stepping in the same directions. [Woah man—what a long strange trip it’s been. –ed.]


Posted by Lacey Swain