Posted by: Necci – May 17, 2013
For RVA Playlist's Andrew Cothern, blogging was originally just a hobby while he worked as a journalist at various news publications. But three years after creating RVA Playlist, it is apparent that blogging has become his passion. By creating a blog dedicated to finding and promoting local Richmond bands that would otherwise remain in obscurity, Cothern was able to successfully merge his love of music and his desire to write. On May 29th, Anousheh, Long Arms, and Horsehead will perform a free show at The Camel to celebrate the third anniversary of RVA Playlist, as well as the many local musicians that have benefitted from the blog's existence over the past three years.
Cothern had been working as a journalist in Richmond for seven years prior to creating RVA Playlist, and has always maintained several different blogs that centralized around music during that time. His first few blogs were not focused on Richmond, or even the United States in particular. However, when he was introduced to the Richmond scene, he decided to “condense it down into a very localized blog.” His previous work as a blogger, and his aspiration to spread the word about local bands, led him to create RVA Playlist in 2010. It began as a place for Cothern to write down his thoughts about various local bands, but “grew into previews and reviews,” and has come to be a vital source for Richmonders to find new music.
When Cothern is on the prowl for new music to feature, he checks social media websites and attends shows. He also has the benefit of having acquaintances that are in bands or are highly involved in the music scene. Generally, Cohern finds these niche bands on his own, but “if someone emails me, I’m usually going to write something about them,” he says. This method aids the bands, but also has benefits for Cothern. “I’m getting constantly emailed and Facebook messaged and Twittered," he explains. "People are saying ‘Hey, come to out to our show. Listen to our album. Can you promote our band?’ which I’m more than happy to do.”
In his free time, Cothern listens to a wide variety of genres. His list of musical loves includes indie, pop, folk, hip-hop, and R&B, and he states that it “changes every day.” RVA Playlist reflects his diverse taste in music by featuring albums by a wide spectrum of musicians, from cute girls with high-pitched voices to heavyset men rapping. His main goal is to promote local music, no matter the genre. The blog offers lesser-known bands an opportunity to reach the public’s ear, as well as enabling the public to find bands that don’t abide by the mainstream sound.
When he first created RVA Playlist, Cothern had no inkling that the blog would flourish as it has. Despite maintaining other blogs in the past, he typically let them die out after six months or so. However, RVA Playlist has gotten a positive ongoing response from the public, which demands that Cothern continue uncovering new music. “There have been times with RVA Playlist that I’ve stopped writing for a bit, and people ask, ‘where did you go? Are you done for good?’” He saw how much Richmond adores his site just last year when he “pulled an April Fools and just said ‘I’m shutting down the blog’. I got so much response from people saying ‘Don’t do it!’ So it’s obviously well liked in the community, and that’s very humbling.”
On Wednesday May 29, Andrew Cothern and those who have helped him make RVA Playlist such a success will be celebrating its three-year anniversary with a free show at the Camel, one of Cothern’s most frequented local venues. The bands featured include Anousheh, Long Arms, and Horsehead. Cothern carefully selected these three bands because of the strong personal relationship that he has forged with them over the past years of going to their shows and becoming a fan of their music. He explains that all three have “really have done a lot in the music scene in the last year. Anousheh and Horsehead just released albums last year, which were phenomenal, and Long Arms has been playing almost every festival for the last year and a half. I definitely think that they are movers and shakers.”
Even though Cothern is unable to play music “to save his life,” he is a highly motivated promoter of the local music scene. “I live through the musicians I know, and I love talking about music," he explains. "I could talk your ear off for hours about it.” Luckily he has an outlet to do just that, through which he has helped countless bands gain recognition in the local scene, as well as connecting listeners to new genres and artists. After three years, RVA Playlist is still going strong, and Cothern has no plans to stop now.
RVA Playlist's Third Birthday Party will take place at The Camel, located at 1621 W. Broad St, on Wednesday May 29. The doors to this free show open at 8 PM, and the music will commence at 9. For more information, check out the facebook event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/435404633209680/
By Chelsea Gingras