What are your names?
What is the band’s name?
Slow Down Molasses
How did you come up with the band’s name?
This band has been active in one form or another since 2006 or 2007. When I (Tyson) started it, the intent was to do something fairly hazy and slow, but very cinematic and atmospheric. Think Mojave 3 or maybe My Bloody Valentine more chilled out songs. Before I actually started the band, I had scribbled the name in a notebook as a potential name that kind of captured an idea for a band I had. It seemed to work well for the first couple albums but maybe is less appropriate now with how aggressive the band’s sound has become.
What is your genre of music?
This is always a hard one. We’ve been lucky to have a fairly diverse mix of people playing in the band who all come from somewhat different backgrounds, so the band ends up being a nice mix of those influences. Recently our sounds have definitely fit with our collective love of noisy indie rock, punk and more challenging instrumental music.
Give us a little bio about you as a band.
Our bass player Chrix is a writer, which is such a nice thing to have in the band and he came up with this short bio for us to use that I quite love:
Confronting bristling anxious energy with highly-pronounced pop edges, Slow Down Molasses of Saskatoon, Sask. Canada has never been shy about traversing shifting sonic territories. In their latest iteration, the four-piece plunge deep into delay trails and feedback decay with a sound steeped in existential dread and simmering guitar rock post-punk sunshine. What made you go into music? A mad love of music. I personally started playing music quite late. I picked up a guitar for the first time when I was 17 and fumbled around with it until some friends asked me to join a band when I was 21 or 22. Fortunately, they had no idea how bad I was, but slowly I learned! Given this late start I never really thought I’d ACTUALLY get to play in bands, but fortunately I stumbled into a wonderful scene of musicians that revolved around an amazing venue here in Saskatoon called Amigos Cantina. This inevitably led to me playing in bands. Now it’s hard to imagine that I ever thought playing a band wasn’t something I’d ever do.
Who are your influences?
The members of the band have relatively diverse tastes and backgrounds. I personally had my mind blown as a teenager by shoegaze and postrock bands. First by Mogwai and a local Canadian band called SIANspheric, which got me into Slowdive and Swervedriver and My Bloody Valentine and all the scene. Chris grew up on a steady diet of punk rock. Jordan has an intense love of classic pop songwriting. Aaron grew up on punk rock, but is deeply into more avantgarde sounds and noise rock. And our new album oddly does kind of amazing job of showing these influences, but also somehow making sense as a cohesive album.
Are you signed?
Definitely signed…. We spent some time on an affiliate of a major label, but our last two albums have come out on DIY labels and we are very happy about that. Minor Deaths is a combined release from Noyes Records here in Canada and Divine Schism in the UK. So yes, we are signed, but to decidedly community oriented, DIY labels, which suits us just fine.
You released your new LP ‘Minor Deaths’, tell us more about the LP.
This is our fifth album and in lots of ways our most concise, collaborative and aggressive album. As noted above it really captures our collective love of noisey indie rock, punk, and more challenging instrumental music. As a result of the pandemic, we’ve only been able to play three live shows with a focus on the new album — one right before the pandemic a couple of European festivals just a couple weeks ago and they are by far the must aggressive, chaotic and exciting sets we’ve played. It’s so great to finally get to perform this album live.
What is the meaning behind the LP?
A lot of the lyrical content ruminates on elements a persons personality, both the good and bad aspects, and how that may evolves or change over time whether that is done deliberately or not. In some cases is feels like minor elements of oneself get die off or get left behind and the title seemed to capture that. Some of the lyrics that tend to be self-critical, but in a self-deprecating way and it lines up with that. Kind of like the idea that in the moment some things may seem like a big, melodramatic thing, but in the long run, it’s minor death that occurred and you’ll be fine.
What was the writing and recording process like?
Our last album, 100% Sunshine came after putting out three albums in five years and doing a significant amount of touring in support of those albums. We needed a break from that, so we decided to not rush ahead to release another album. This was in 2017. We took a bit of time, then began workshopping and demo’ing songs. This lasted a couple years and it was great. We collaborated a lot more on the song writing and arrangements. Aaron Scholz took significant lead in bringing new songs and shaping arrangements which was an exciting new thing, as previously I (Tyson) tended to guide things. And this helped push me out of my comfort zone and help shape a much more aggressive, interesting sound for the album. Once we were happy with the songs we took them to our friend Mike Lefebvre’s studio to demo them, but the sessions turned out so well, we decided to just keep recording and use some of those demos as the basis for the album. Everything was going according to plan and we were getting set to release the first single from the album then the pandemic hit, so everything got pushed back.
Describe each track in two words.
I Need The Darkness – introvert anxieties
Revisionists – f*ck-off misogynists
Son of Titanic – guided (by) voices
Some Fine Action – dissonant pop
Street Haunting – urban ennui
Hot Furnaces Are Hot! – frightening realities
Nihilist Whisper – sinister synths
Who did you work with on the LP?
We recorded it our friend Mike Lefebvre’s studio here in Saskatoon. He’s been a pal for a long time and plays in rad hardcore bands and has been one of our favourite live sound techs for a long time. He seems to get what we do, so it was an easy choice to record with him. From there we sent the tracks to Alaska B to mix. Alaska has an incredible band called Yamantaka // Sonic Titan that we’re all fans of, so we were very excited to work with her and unsurprisingly, she did an amazing job. Finally Ryan Morey mastered the album. Ryan’s worked on recent albums from Suuns and Big Brave that we are fans of, so he was a great fit for mastering it.
For album art we asked our friend Brandi Strauss aka Static Control to do some collages. She’s an amazing artist and gave some great pieces to work with that Chrix turned into the album art.
Will we see a Music Video for any of the songs and if so what can we expect from it? We’ve released three so far, Aaron made two of them (Street Haunting and I Need the Darkness) and Chrix made one (Son of Titanic). Aaron’s are both throwbacks to 80’s/90’s lofi DIY videos, whereas Chrix’s is an animated video of his illustrations. I love all three. They definitely capture a bit of the ethos of this iteration of the band.
What else can we expect in 2021?
Well, the year is almost over, but despite the pandemic, we’ve been very lucky so do some touring, including stops at Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg, Germany and Tallinn Music Week in Tallinn, Estonia and right now we are playing some local show, while doing what we can tell people about the album.
2022 we expect to be busy (pandemic willing) with lots more touring, festivals and maybe even more new music.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
With the various line-up changes in this band and the ridiculousness of the music industry, we’ve always had a bit of a sense of fatalism, but despite this, it’s always worked out to keep making music, so I hope that continues to be the case.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
“What’s the appropriate amount of being too loud that we can get away with?”
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Where the outlets are
How much our own merch costs
How to divide 10 drink tickets evenly amongst four people
Who is driving at the end of the night
bonus item – remember to never leave the van keys with the drummer.