Record Store Day 2012: Interview with Slow Down, Molasses

Tyson from everybody's favourite Saskatoon songsters, Slow Down, Molasses nips in late to chat about the upcoming fifth annual Record Store Day.

What is your favourite record store and where is it located?
Vinyl Diner in my hometown of Saskatoon, Canada.

Are there any specific happy memories that you have of this store?
Tons! Lots of great memories. It fits the mould of the quintessential, great, local record shop. You always run into someone you know there and touring bands always stop by. For shear wonder of discovering great music one memory that sticks out is running into Justin Peroff of Broken Social Scene at Vinyl Diner and him pointing out a homemade copy of Deep Dark United’s album Ancients and saying that that record is the record I should be buying that day. It had been sitting on the shelf for months and always intrigued me, but I’d not heard any of the band’s music. 

It turned out to be a great purchase and it introduced me to the Rat Drifting Collective, the Toronto based collective of improvising/avant-garde musicians that Deep Dark United was a part of. It is a really incredible group of musicians that has made some of my favourite music of the last decade. People like Eric Cheneaux and Sandro Perri pop up on some of the records.

Are there any particular albums recommended to you by record store staff that have influenced your music over the years (or that you have simply loved and adored)?
Stu, the store owner, is pretty laid back and doesn’t recommend to many albums, but he will always make sure to mention when an album by a band I love comes in. It almost takes away some of the fun of searching through the bins when I walk in and Stu casually mentions, that yeah, the new Low album is in and my record buying budget for the day is immediately spent.

Has a record store (i.e. the staff) helped you in your musical career/path in anyway over the years?
Not necessarily but Vinyl Diner has always been supportive. They make sure our records are prominently displayed and they have brought in so much of what has become my favourite music that I invariably owe them a debt of gratitude for making some of the less commercial music that I love easily accessible to me.

What does Record Store Day mean for you?
I think it is just a great way to celebrate the culture and making and obsessing over music. It is nice to have a day dedicated to something that is such a huge part of my and many of my friends daily lives. It is great to have the excuse to get together and chat about records and trade stories about finding obscure, interesting records.

This will be the fifth annual record store day. Any fond memories from previous Record Store Days you would like to share?
A couple years ago I had a great record store day. Eamon McGrath, a really great songwriter from Edmonton, with whom SDM has played many shows, was in town playing a festival and he asked me to play bass for him. Around that time he had a habit of putting together impromptu bands for shows. He’d show up in town, jam once and play a show, constantly keeping things fresh and usually pretty chaotic. 

Myself and Barrett from the great Saskatoon band, Foam Lake, back him. We set up to jam at Barrett’s place that was also a recording studio and Eamon decided we should record an EP for that night’s show. We end up just recording our practice and Barrett mixed it while Eamon and I set up gear for the festival. We recorded 5 of Eamon’s songs and a cover of the Magnetic Fields' 'Born on A Train'. It ended up that 4 of the 6 songs used where the first takes, those being the absolute first times Barrett and I had ever played the songs. We capped the day off playing a completely chaotic set at the festival. Half way through the first song Eamon tossed his guitar to the ground, choosing instead to kick it around to make feedback noises while he was singing and Barrett and I kept the song going. It was great. Definitely one of the most memorable, exciting shows I’ve played.

Have you had a chance to look at the special limited editions that are set to be released especially for RSD12? Is there any record you will be trying to claim come April 21st?
I am really excited about Lanterns on the Lake. I think their album from last year (Gracious Tides, Take Me Home) is fantastic and I saw they have a limited edition record coming out that I would LOVE to find a copy of, but I am afraid it is likely only available in the UK, so hopefully there are some left over, so I can pick a copy up when we are over touring in May.

Did you hear Feist and Mastodon are to release a split 7" with Feist covering Mastodon and vice versa?
That is super entertaining to me. I love that RSD has become an excuse for bands to do something a little different and weird or release something that otherwise might not get released.

If you were to release a split 7" with any contemporary artist/band who would it be with and what song would you cover of theirs and vice versa?
We are all massive fans of Julie Doiron and we were lucky enough to have her sing on our song 'Feathers', so I am sure I can speak for the entire band when I saw we’d love to do a split with her. There is a song from a her last record called 'Spill Your Lung's that we’ve talked about covering, but have yet to get around to learning that I think it would be cool to cover. I’d love to hear her take on almost any of our songs. I keep thinking I should do a remix of 'Feathers' with my voice removed and just her singing it, just ‘cause I love how her voice sounds on that song and it is such a treat hearing her sing words I wrote.

If you had to describe the perfect record store in 3 words what would they be?
Vinyl,vinyl, vinyl!

If you were to own a record store one day, what would you call it?
Semi-Precious Records

Anything else to add?
We’ll be heading your way [well, close] in May.

May 9 – The Windmill – London w/ Half Moon Run
May 10 – The Blind Tiger – Brighton - The Great Escape Festival
May 11 – Prince Albert – Brighton – The Great Escape Festival
May 13 - The Wheatsheaf - Oxford w/ We Aeronauts, The Cooling Pearls, & My Crooked Teeth
May 15 – The 13th Note CafĂ© – Glasgow
May 16 – Henry’s Cellar Bar – Edinburgh
May 17 – The Underbelly – London
May 18 – Mello Mello – Liverpool SoundCity
May 19 – Wolstenhulme Creative Space – Liverpool SoundCity

- Record Store Day 2012 takes place on Saturday, 21st April

Plugd (Cork) -- Wingnut (Galway) -- Tower (Dublin) -- Wingnut (Waterford) -- Elastic Witch (Dublin) Click here to see participating stores in your area