Rockem Music... In the Spotlight | Interview
We’re delighted to introduce our latest interview series ‘In the Spotlight’ with Take it away music shop members! You’ll get to know one of our music shops including how they started, what makes them tick and what you can expect when visiting them.
Kicking things off is drum and guitar specialists Rockem Music, based in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. Read on to find out more…
What is the story behind Rockem Music?
Rockem Music Ltd was established in South Yorkshire by the Rockem brothers in September 2003. From very humble beginnings Rockem Music has grown into one of the UK’s leading drum stores. There is a large shop in Rotherham and a superb mail order department sending all over the UK and Europe. The Rockem brothers, Rob and Dave are originally from Poole in Dorset. They are both accomplished musicians having studied their respective instruments from an early age with well respected teachers. Rob studied piano and organ and Dave drums. Both played in various orchestras such as Bournemouth Youth Big Band and Jazz De Sud. Dave went on to play drums professionally and Rob went into accountancy. Dave’s drumming eventually lead him to re locate in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.
In 2003 Rob re located to Rotherham and Rockem Music was formed. Premises had to be found in the town. After a few chats with the local piano centre it was agreed we could start by sharing some of the building. The building is a very spacious converted Chapel. Gradually all the main accounts with the leading suppliers were opened such as Mapex, Yamaha, Remo, Evans, British Drum Co, Paiste, Meinl, Stagg, Takamine, Ibanez, Washburn, Sigma, etc.
After about six months the company began to grow. It became clear we did not have enough space at the piano centre and the landlord kindly agreed to let us have more space. The rear of the chapel began to fill with more and more stock and Rockem has become one of the best stocked drum shops in the business! The showroom has been modified quite a few times and we now have a large showroom full of stock.
As the company has grown we have been able to employ more staff. To start with the Rockem brothers pretty much did everything from serving in the shop to packing the mail order sales! After a few months a couple of staff were employed and gradually the employment level has been increased to five full time employees. In 2007 a general manager was taken on as the company had grown very quickly and the Rockem’s needed more help! With each manager able to concentrate on their individual roles, the company was able to expand very rapidly. The two directors and general manager are very involved with the day to day running of the company and this is one of the reasons the customer service is exceptional.
In 2009 the company expanded into guitars and amps and employed a guitar specialist to run this department. This has continued to grow and now makes up a large part of what we do.
What can customers expect when they come to visit you?
The store specialises in all types of percussion both new and pre-owned. Our drum kits range from beginner right through to professional. We stock both acoustic and electronic kits. We have some very interesting pre-owned drum kits. We recently sold a vintage Ludwig Vistalite see through acrylic drum kit to a London production company! We have a large range of cymbals on offer and all types of hand percussion, djembe, cajon and bongos! We are one of the best stocked stores in the country.
Our guitar department also offers both new and pre-owned guitars from beginner to advanced. We stock both acoustic and electric guitars and bass guitars.
Our staff are very experienced and knowledgeable musicians. Dave works as a professional drummer playing across the UK and Europe. If you require advice on your instrument needs, you have come to the right place!
What’s the most unusual instrument in your shop?
Currently, the most unusual instrument we have for sale right now is the Arbiter vintage classic advanced tuning kit – a very rare instrument from the 1990’s!
What additional services can customers come to you for?
Tuition is offered for drums. We repair and re-string guitars and there is also a rehearsal space.
Go on, tell us about your most famous customer/alumni musician…
Dave taught Ryan Jenkinson drums for many years. Ryan is now playing drums for The Vamps and Reverend and the Makers. We have close ties with local bands The Reytons and The Sherlocks.
From the jazzy side of things one of our customers is Paul Robinson. Paul has worked at the top of his profession for over 50 years. He works on many premier West End London shows and was Nina Simone’s drummer for 18 years! We advise and supply his drumming equipment.
Another customer is Ian Roberts. Ian was brought up in Rotherham and often visits the store. He is a session drummer, composer and producer. He has worked with famous bands such as Iron Maiden.
Do you get involved in the local community?
In the local community we offer music lessons. We run drum clinics featuring guest drummers in partnership with suppliers such as Yamaha. We work with the annual Rotherham Show suppling drum kits for their performers. We have an instore notice board where we encourage local events to be advertised such as jam nights and open mic nights.
Why do you think music shops like yours are vital and important to your community?
Being able to play an instrument is a very therapeutic pastime and music retailers are vital for people to select the instrument which feels right for them. By existing in the local community we are able to offer customers a chance to handle and play an instrument to make sure they are happy with the feel and sound of it. We are able to provide specialist advice on any questions they may have and also supply consumable accessories which may be required.
It’s been a tough year! How can the music community support you?
Trading conditions remain very tough. For local music stores to survive it is vital that the local music community come to the store in person. Our business services customers all over the country via our own web site plus Amazon, Ebay and Reverb. But, a large amount of margin is given away to the these third party platforms and postage costs. Also money is lost due to the cost of returns. Our instore prices are very competitive and it is great to see our customers in person and help them with the next purchase!
And finally, why do you think payment options like the Take it away scheme are of value to your customers?
The Take it Away scheme provides the opportunity to purchase an instrument on an interest free basis making participating in music more affordable.