Chris: I wonder how often Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork hang out after 40 plus years together. I predict very little. Jay would happily ride the unicycle though.
Rocker: I talk to a lot of mid-career artists who are just returning to the DIY thing of putting out their own releases sans record label, but with Murderecords Sloan has been at this for a much longer time. Can you talk about what initially led to you starting your own label, and how it has evolved over time? Do you think the experience of running your own label has impacted how Sloan has grown over the years (creative freedom etc.)?
Chris: We started murderecords to put out an EP by Sloan. Soon after we started to put out releases from other bands but we always saw murderecords as a community service project. We never made any money from the other artists. We just documented our community for a while. By 1998, we had all moved from Halifax to Toronto so the idea of documenting the community thing kind of fell the wayside.
We also considered murderecords an insurance policy for when the going got tough at Geffen. We figured the climate of signing bands like The Melvins (great band) to major labels couldn’t last so we kind of practiced being a label thinking we would one day be on our own label. We were right but we didn’t get very good and being a successful label economically.
Rocker: I see you’ve been actually doing some exciting marketing around The Double Cross; selling albums in handmade sleeves and such. Is this to combat reduced sales of MP3’s?
Chris: I suppose so. We just wanted to create something collectable so we (Jay and I) could collect it.
Rocker: I still have some Sloan trading cards, and Jay once told me after a show that you had dolls (action figures?) done, was he making that up? Do you have other licensing deals in place like these now? Since the traditional gift for a 20th anniversary is china, are Sloan considering doing some of those collectors plates?
Chris: I wanted to go to China for our 20th anniversary. We don’t have action figures, but we do have trading cards, it’s true. I have several complete sets.
Rocker: As a “mature hipster” myself, one of the things I’ve really enjoyed in recent years were songs like “I’m Not a Kid Anymore”, “Who Loves Life More” and “The Rest of My Life” where lyrics mirror my own experiences/feelings (we are about the same age). It’s pleasant because I don’t really hear enough lyrics that I actually identify with anymore. Would you agree that songs like “Follow the Leader” and “Your Daddy Will Do” cast a similarly cynical eye on “respectable” or “traditional expectations of adulthood”?
Chris: Perhaps. I don’t know what else to write about. Our manager, Mike Nelson is forever making fun of me for writing songs about getting old and the career trajectory of the band. I’m trying not to write songs about how much I hate getting up at 5:30 am with the baby. It’s so boring but that’s all I know these days. I’m happy to hear you can relate to some of that stuff.
Rocker: I know there seemed to be some bemusement over the age of the crowds you were drawing on your recent US tour (you mentioned on stage in Boston that you had played for our audience’s parents the night before, and you have a video on sloanmusic.com where you talk about it too)? Are Sloan fans much younger in Canada? Is it strange to see an audience that is no longer fresh faced kids?
Chris: The audience skews younger in Canada because we continue to be promoted here. In the U.S. we are still riding on the fumes of the push we got in 1993 and 1997. I’m 42 and all kidding aside, I’m happy to see myself in the audience.
Rocker: What is up for the band once you come back from your September jaunt? Will there be another 20 years of Sloan or is this where you draw the line?
Chris: I’m emailing around to the band trying to get a rehearsal schedule together so we can learn some obscure songs or a few covers. I’d like to rehearse 9 times for the tour but I think we’ll be lucky to get 5. If we’re not doing this in 20 years I don’t know what else we’ll be doing.