The G-Man Interview w/ Slow Down Molasses Part 2

The G-Man interview with Slow Down, Molasses (continued).

To read part 1 click this link.

Q. There was one particular song that you covered at End of the Road that really caught my ear. Can you recap on some of the songs you have covered over the years? The mix is quite eclectic is it not?

Yes, definitely, covering that particular song (My Bloody Valentine’s 'When You Sleep') has likely been the best decision we’ve made as a band. Like a lot of people in bands, Loveless holds a special, revered spot in my record collection and I was kind of afraid to cover it because it seemed a bit blasphemous to think we could cover a song I held in such high regard….but we chose to do it anyway and every single time we’ve covered it someone in the audience has gotten ridiculously excited and then I got to geek about my favorite records with audience members after the show.

As for other songs we’ve covered, it definitely does cover the breadth of our record collections. We have played 'When I Go Deaf' by Low, 'New Partner' by Palace Music, 'Good Woman' by Cat Power, 'Won’t Back Down' by Tom Petty, 'California Stars' by Wilco, 'The Weight' by The Band, 'In the Aeroplane Over The Sea' by Neutral Milk Hotel, 'Four Strong Winds' by Neil Young, 'Return to Sender' by Mojave 3, 'Soon Coming Closer' by Eric’s Trip/Julie Doiron, as well as a bunch more Will Oldham and Julie Doiron songs for shows that we’ve done playing full cover song sets as a fundraiser here in Saskatoon for a great local photography magazine called Blackflash.

Q. How did Julie Doiron end up on your record? Was it very exciting or even surreal to see a former member of Eric’s Trip in the studio laying down tracks for your very own record?

Ryan and I used to promote shows around town before we started playing too many shows ourselves and Ryan had promoted a few Julie shows before the two of us started playing music together. We ended up promoting and opening a show for Julie in Saskatoon and we kept in touch ever since. Julie is one of the most down to earth, sweet people you could hope to meet, so it’s always easy to chat with her, and eventually we worked up the courage to ask if she would sing on a song of ours. 

After a couple failed attempts when she was touring through town and didn’t have any time to record, she was finally able to stop by the studio and record. I was in the middle of a crazy busy time at work and was also putting in long hours at night in the studio, so I was pretty strung out, otherwise I think I would have had a very hard time containing my excitement. Even so, it definitely was a very surreal time seeing her sing words that I wrote. I’ve listened to her music for almost half of my life and some of the Eric’s Trip records and her solo records are very near and dear to me, so it was pretty unreal hearing that voice that I’ve listened to for so long singing along to my song.

Q. Who else would you love to have appear on a future Slow Down, Molasses recording?

Oooooh….this answer will be of no surprise to my bandmates. Alongside Eric’s Trip and Julie Doiron, The Dirty Three is likely my favorite band and one that I have listened to for years and years and they still never cease to amaze me, so having any member of that band perform on a song of ours would be quite unreal.

Q. Tell us three things that no one knows (or you think no one knows) about the band?

I (Tyson) was once a national champion Biathlete (Cross-country Skiing and Shooting).
Patrick (guitar/banjo) grew up doing Ukranian dancing - despite him not being Ukranian.
Kristine (trombone) once played the Warped Tour (a North American pop punk festival) as part of a ska band.

Q. Am I right in saying the tour dates at the beginning of September were your first in the U.K./Europe?

Yes, it was our first time outside of Canada, but I certainly hope it will not be our last.

Q. How do you feel the string of dates went?

They went great. I am really, really happy with the whole experience. Our first couple shows were really packed and got a great response. The other shows were all well attended and at every show there were people who were very excited to see us, and they obviously knew our songs and were very appreciative. The shows at End of the Road were pretty amazing and would have made the entire trip worthwhile on their own. We played to a great, appreciative crowd that seemed to get more excited every song we played and we sold almost as many albums off the stage as we did at our home town album release earlier this year. It is really great to see how enthusiastic and appreciative UK audiences are.

Q. So how was your End of the Road experience?

The shows at End of the Road were pretty amazing and would have made the entire trip worthwhile on their own. We played to a great, appreciative crowd that seemed to get more excited every song we played and we sold almost as many albums off the stage as we did at our home town album release earlier this year. It is really great to see how enthusiastic and appreciative UK audiences are.

It was really amazing. Incredible really. We arrived on the Friday (and didn’t play until the Sunday) just because we’d heard so many great things about the festival. As soon as we were invited, friends of ours who’d played the festival before (Ohbijou, Woodpigeon* and The Acorn) started raving to us about how great the festival is and how it’s going to blow our minds and they were quite right. Our sets went great. We met lots of great people and saw lots of amazing bands. It really is an incredible festival. It was great to be there.

*Check out The G-Man interview with Woodpigeon by clicking here.

Q. How many times did you guys actually play?!

We ended up playing 3 sets in the space of 14 hours. Our regular set at 13:30, the acoustic set at the piano stage at 16:00 and our secret, late night covers set at 1:45am. It was pretty ridiculous, but incredibly fun.

Q. What is so great about that festival is that it is not uncommon to bump into headlining artists simply wandering around the festival site. I swear I couldn’t shake The Low Anthem last year! Who did you bump into at End of the Road?

We kept bumping into our new friends My First Tooth. We played with them in Northampton and had a fantastic time. They attend End of the Road every year and fortunately it took less than an hour from us arriving to run into them, so we got to hang out with them a lot. We also ran into our friends in Dan Mangan’s band, Timber Timbre and Austra. It was really fun to run into fellow Canadians so far from home at a great music festival.

Q. What set, besides your own, did you enjoy the most?

Mogwai and Josh T Pearson. I guess that (refers) to your earlier question about our folky sound that explodes into big noises, but yeah, those two sets were both incredible. Josh’s in particular was remarkable - how he was playing on the 2nd biggest stage to thousands of people and it was dead silent as he played. It really reinforced how great End of the Road is as a festival and how great the audience they draw in is. Austra was also really amazing. Despite being a Canadian band that features a member from Saskatoon, they still haven’t played Saskatoon and none of us had had a chance to see them live yet and they were incredible. I’ve already bought my ticket to see them in Saskatoon in November.

Q. What albums are you currently listening to?

The Deep Dark WoodsPlaces I’ve Left Behind
Ohbijou – Metal Meets
Josh T Pearson – Last of the Country Gentlemen
Austra – Feel It Break
Eric CheneauxWarm Weather With Ryan Driver
Herman DuneStrange Moosic
I Break Horses - Hearts

Q. Who have been your favourite tour buddies over the years?

We’ve had some great times on the road with a few bands that we’ve become great friends with. Olenka and the Autumn Lovers fron London, Ontario are a wonderful band that we did a string of shows with a couple years ago and we all love hanging out with them as much as we can. A few of them even played on our latest record.

Ohbijou as well are amazing. They are a great band and some of the loveliest people you could hope to me. After doing a few shows with them we asked James Bunton (their drummer) to mix our latest album and I couldn’t be happier with the work he did.

Another band that people may not know that we are all very fond of is Dumb Angel. Patrick (our guitar/banjo player) played with him for a few years and they opened a tour of ours and Shaun (the leader of Dumb Angel) played as part of our band. Shaun write some of the best songs I’ve heard and he just recently finished recording an album with Jace Lacesk of The Besnard Lakes that I am sure will be fantastic, so watch out for that. It will definitely be worth your while.

Q. Are there any particular currently “undiscovered” bands/artists that you would like to mention/tip for greatness?

Yes, yes, yes! We are all huge music fans, so sometimes live interviews degenerate into us just talking about how great other bands are instead of talking up our band, so I’m glad you asked! We have a few bands closely associated with us that we all love and I think that if the right people heard them, they could easily be huge.

Jeans Boots is Jeanette’s (our keyboard player) band that sometimes features myself and Ryan, as well as Carl Johnson from another Saskatchewan band called Library Voices. Jeanette has written some of my favorite songs from the last few years and if you like noisey indie pop you should definitely check her out.

Foam Lake is Paul’s (our other guitar player) band with his four brothers. They have an album coming our right away that is really huge epic pop record. It’s really great. Watch out for them, I’ve heard rumors they will be making their way over to the UK next year.

The Deep Dark Woods are our hometown heroes. I’m sure some day they will be a classic North American band and everyone who likes folk-based music will have a copy of their record in their collection. They just put out a new record that I am sure will make them huge, so check them out now and go see them if you can before they become massive.

Q. How do Slow Down, Molasses pass the time on the tour bus? Any specific games that you like to play? Any original games that you have created?

We are pretty boring/self contained in the van. In Canada most of our drives are around 6 or 8 hours long and somehow we’ve all managed to develop our own way of zoning out during that time period. A couple of people are writers, so they tend to be glued to their macbooks and Patrick is a photographer so he tends to tinker with his camera and take bizarrely amazing photos. I spend all day listening to music or reading city planning books/journals and/or books about music. With the rise of twitter recent tours have featured many lame in-jokes broadcast to their world with various bandmates tweeting the random, silly things said by others in the semi-delirious state of being stuck in a van for hours on end. That’s always entertaining!

Q. Now that you have debuted in the U.K., are there plans to tour Ireland afoot?

Hopefully. Everything went really well on our short U.K. tour and we met many fantastic people who would like us to return, so the plan is to try to get back to the U.K./Europe next spring or summer for a longer tour, so if you know any great festivals or venues that like Canadian indie folk/dream pop, let them know about us. We’d love to make it to Ireland.

Q. What is next for Slow Down, Molasses?

Right now we are back in Saskatoon working on songs for our next album. We’ve got a few shows throughout the Canadian prairies booked this fall, but mostly we want to work on new material and hopefully get started on a new album as soon as we can.

Q. Ever played the animal game before? (Basically you begin with one letter, eg. 'A', and everyone has to name an animal beginning with this letter. The person who cannot name an animal beginning with 'A' loses one life).

The easy animals such as 'Iguana' are always taken quite early so can ye give me a rare animal beginning with 'I that I can use as back up for the next time I play the game myself? A description of the animal would also be helpful as people tend to try and make up names as well as using mythological beasts! The Wilderness of Manitoba said 'Degu' (a small rat) to 'D' which was far more imaginative than Megafaun's 'Cougar'.

Imperator Angel – (also known as Emperor Angelfish) are brightly-coloured, flattened fish that live in shallow warm waters.