As the city recovers from POP Montréal, it’s time to catch up with Canadian indie rock band Slow Down, Molasses after their Quai des Brumes spectacular on the festivals closing weekend. I met with Tyson McShane, Aaron Scholz, and Levi Soulodre to talk everything from vinyls to Europeans.
The three members of the Saskatchewan six piece were happy to spill the beans over how an experimental solo venture became Slow Down, Molasses.
The band give credit to the active music culture in Saskatoon for the bands growth in the rest of Canada. “The [Saskatoon] music scene might be a little far between, but it is rich” says Tyson, “We took a lot from that community.” “For newer bands, it is a lot harder to get gigs in Montréal. It wasn’t until we were established at home and the rest of Canada before we started getting shows here.”
Readers are surely familiar with intimacy of Quai des Brumes, the stage merely a foot higher than the immediate crowd. Slow Down, Molasses are not ones to shy away from the bar’s close proximity. “The way that we are playing now, I’d rather play a basement or dive bar” says Tyson, “It seems to work with our energy.” “It’s a communal experience,” explains Levi, “An intimacy between band mates and the audience… It gets us more excited.” “We saw Fucked Up last night in Saskatoon,” cuts-in Aaron, “And that’s exactly how that performance went!” he says, sharing a laugh with his band mates. “It was great because it was in a small venue…people felt free to go a little wild.”
The band were excited about their set for POP Montréal, saying that the festival gives new experiences to everyone, including themselves. “You can go to a gig to see one or two bands you know, but eventually you will see bands you never knew existed that are really cool,” says Tyson. “All our friends from international bands can get together and catch up…It’s almost like summer camp for aging indie rockers.”
Aaron and Levi came straight from a record shopping on the Plateau/Mile End, and explain their connection to the aging music medium.“We are all [record] collectors,” says Aaron, “The fact that you have a tangible product in your hand means there is a closer experience.” The guys show of some of their best picks from the day shopping, and we get into cover art and the comeback of the vinyl. “Vinyl never went out of fashion, they just went underground… I remember most punk bands were still pressing [records] throughout the 90s.”
The bands new album will be released in August, and will be available on vinyl.
“It sounds better like that,” justifies Tyson, “It’s more of an artifact, something you can cherish. It’s funny, vinyls outsold CDs for our last record [Walking in the Sea]. ”
With the release of the first single SUMMER SUN from the new album, Aaron explains the aims of their writing process, and their relationship with the audience. “We’ve writing music as a team, lately… it’s been a real communal process, and we hope that comes across in our shows,” says Aaron. He Continues, “We’re not especially conscious of the audience when we are writing, we are more interested in writing songs we enjoy.” You don’t consider the audience at all when writing?, I asked? “We are all genuine music fans,” says Levi, “In that way we are part of the audience…by pleasing ourselves in our music I think we are pleasing the fans. The last thing I want is to go see a band that is not enthusiastic about the music they’re playing. Even if they were playing an unbelievable set, I would not be as into it were the band not engaged.”
Tyson nods in agreement.“We’ve been playing new songs of the record that no one has ever heard before and have been getting great reactions so I think we are doing something right. At the end of the day the music industry is pretty shit,” he says, “ It’s hard to make money. If your are not doing something that really inspires you and the people around you, than I just can’t imagine putting in all the hours that you have to as a musician to get by.” “That’s what makes the drive from Thunderbay to Sudberry make sense!” Tyson adds, with a laugh.
Slow Down Molasses are kicking of their second European late October with scheduled shows in Spain, Czech Republic, Germany and the UK.
“Touring Europe is great,” says Tyson, “Europeans are open to take a chance on new bands, especially international acts. European music culture seems to be more open and friendly. They always have a beer and some food waiting for acts after the shows…they are genuinely just happy that international bands can be there.”
Slow Down, Molasses proceeded to rock Quai des Brumes for the closing weekend of Pop Montreal, and gave a huge thankyou to the host city.
“Shout out to Montréal, everyone here that makes it great. From the baristas, to the bartenders, to the artists to the cab drivers, and to all the volunteers, thankyou for making this possible!” ends Levi.
Find out more about the band, future tour dates, and their upcoming album online!