Sub Pop

News from 2007

FRI, JUN 15, 2007 at 8:07 AM

Tony K lives in West Seattle and I’ll gladly give you his address


Today’s People Who Work Here is a big treat for all you kids with big dreams about breaking into the biz and striking musical oil. Tony K is the Head of A&R at Sub Pop Records and he is a wealth of information and full of crazy opinions about the future of music but he does not, as you might expect, wear hair gel or leave all his top buttons undone. Tony does not have high powered lunches with movers and shakers, he does not party all night at exclusive clubs, and he rarely wines and dines. In fact, until very recently Tony drove the shittiest Ford Escort hatchback I’ve ever seen but he’s finally upgraded to a used Outback with a leaky sunroof. He’s a stand up guy with a heart of gold and eyes of steel — Let’s meet Tony!

L: You’ve signed some of Sub Pop’s best selling musical acts – tell me a little about your, ahem, “process”. What are you looking for in a new signee?
T: Man… I don’t think I’m looking for anything in particular really. Every band that I’ve been fortunate enough to work with has been pretty different. Early on in my role as a&r guy here I think that I kind of got off on intentionally making the roster of bands I was responsible for as diverse as possible. I thought it was cool to work with Pleasure Forever, Red House Painters and David Cross all at the same time. I remember thinking of it as casting a movie with lots of different characters. [You are like the Orson Welles of the music business. Or maybe more like the Howard Hughes? -ed] That strategy had the benefit of making each project a totally unique challenge. Nowadays I don’t pay attention to that as much for some reason. I’m more concerned with finding people I respect that are making music that I love listening to. It’s the only way I know to stay happy doing what I’m doing….
L: What’s your favorite thing on Sub Pop that you’ve signed? What’s your favorite thing that someone else signed?
T: Hmm… that’s a tough one. I have a lot of favorites. It’s hard to beat working with old friends. The Postal Service and Beachwood Sparks both involved people I’ve known forever and love to death so those will always stick out in my mind as favorites. As for something that someone else signed I think I’d probably have to say The Vaselines. I’m not sure that counts since it was a reissue basically…
L: You used to work for a major. Give me five reasons why working at Sub Pop is better. Now give me two reasons why working here is worse.
1) The people I work with here are infinitely cooler and more interesting (no offense to any previous coworkers who may be reading this, some of you were pretty cool too, but most of you were in fact pretty lame.) [You should hear all the shit he talks about you… -ed.]
2) I don’t have to work with shitty bands anymore. [Oh yeah? Two words: HA! J/K -ed.]
3) I have a much better job here.
4) Not only do I have a much better job, but I work for people who trusted and believed in me enough to let me have that job in the first place. That’s something I’ll always be incredibly grateful for. [You are shameless, Tony. –ed.]
5) Sub Pop exists. The two major labels I used to work at have both gone the way of the dodo. [DANG! Can’t argue with that! -ed.]

As for my ways its worse list:
1) I don’t have a sweet office anymore. [But you still have a sweet cubicle that you can you trash all to hell… -ed]
2) I don’t have a fridge filled with free food. [Just do like everyone else and take whatever you want, pussy. –ed]
L: You used to be a radio DJ and have your own label. Have you always been excited about music? Is there something else you ever wanted to be, like an astronaut or something?
T: I used to want to direct films. I was kind of sheltered as a kid and didn’t remotely understand what that really entailed. Film school set me straight pretty quick. Luckily, my college had KXLU, a pretty amazing radio station and working there pretty much exploded my tiny universe. Well, that and a lot of psychedelic experimentation…. [Cue Jefferson Airplane. –ed]
L: What was your first job?
T: My first paid job was prepping food for a Shakey’s Pizza. Basically ripping the guts out of chicken breasts and breading mojo potatoes. [None of that has anything to do with pizza – WTF? -ed]
L: What is your favorite West Coast record store? Your favorite Seattle record store?
T: It’s kind of impossible to beat Amoeba L.A. In Seattle I really like the Easy Street store in Queen Anne. I think we’re pretty fortunate to have Easy Street, Sonic Boom and Silver Platters up here. [That’s very diplomatic. –ed.]
L: What do you like better – CDs, mp3s, or vinyl? Why?
T: I don’t really care anymore honestly. I would have said vinyl 5 years ago but after moving my collection several times since then, it’s lost a lot of its appeal. [Sellout. –ed.]
L: Where do you see the music industry headed in the immediate future? How about in the long run?
T: Eesh. I’ll spare you my prognostications. I’m bored even trying to formulate an answer. [GODAMMIT! I am trying to perform a public service here and the only info you’ll give is about fire potatoes at Shakey’s Pizza! BULLSHIT! -ed]
L: Seen any good movies lately?
T: I just watched the first season of this Showtime show called Dexter that I thought was pretty great. [Wow, that’s totally not a movie. –ed.]
L: Are you ever going to get married and have babies?
T: I hope to.
L: What ex-Sub Pop coworker do you miss the most and why?
T: I miss Shawn Rogers the most probably. He was just an all around good guy. [True ‘nuf. –ed.]
L: Tell me a joke.
T: [Yeah, that’s right, he didn’t answer this one. I take all that nice shit that I said about him back. Please email me for his cell number and home address so that you have somewhere new to send your demos. –ed.]

Posted by Lacey Swain

MON, JUN 18, 2007 at 9:27 AM

Pre-order Patton Oswalt’s Werewolves and Lollipops!


On July 10th, we’re putting out a new Patton Oswalt CD/DVD called Werewolves and Lollipops.

Along with the usual buttons and stickers (one of which features the catchy, minorly filthy saying, pulled straight from the CD/DVD, “Erect in Defiance of Gods’s Will”) that come with our online orders, we are offering two bucks off all pre-orders! As if that weren’t enough, Patton came into our offices and abused our photo booth. The results: ten autographed photo strips of Patton Oswalt. We are giving away these white-hot collectibles at random to 10 out of our first 100 pre-orders of Werewolves and Lollipops!

Order often and early!

Posted by Chris Jacobs

FRI, JUN 1, 2007 at 3:39 AM

Dean Hudson, Master of Machine and Beast


People Who Work Here is finally back and this week we are meeting Dean Hudson, friend and coworker. Dean has been working at Sub Pop deep amongst the computers for about four years now doing many important things like setting up the free mp3s with vinyl program, making the website work (but only when he feels like it), and sending out mass links to ridiculous and funny stuff on the internet. As you may have guessed, Dean is the “web master” (do they still call them that?) here at Sub Pop and he built this new site which you are looking at currently. Dean likes gaming (both the dice and the video kinds), playing music, drinking sangria, Black Sabbath, traveling, gleep glopping on computers, and being outside. He has a really cool dog named Dinky who is at the office every day and who I’d like to interview if it weren’t for the language barrier. Let’s meet Dean!

L: You moved to Oakland on your bike with your dog in a trailer. What is the most exciting thing that happened on your trip?
D: I did! In the weird old days of being punk and hating the system (read: crusty) it seemed like a really good idea to put my dog and my stuff in a $25 kids’ trailer and ride away on my bike. Most of the trip was exciting—we camped in all sorts of places that we weren’t supposed to, hung out with a bunch of friends up and down the coast and did the redwoods on bike. [Ouch! Sorry I couldn’t help myself.) –ed] I also found out that cops love you when you’re on a bike tour. We had a policeman roll up to us one night with the clear intention of kicking us out of the yard we’d set up camp in, but when he found out we were on a bike trip he recommended routes for us instead. We weren’t even wearing spandex shorts.
L: You share an office with Andrew (featured in PPWH IV) – what does he do to irritate you?
D: He’s mostly just really tall. He also Porky Pigs it sometimes when his band plays, which makes me a bit uncomfortable. Other than that he’s great. [“Porky Pigging It” is when you, and I’m not clear exactly how this happens, are wearing a shirt but no bottoms. This is maybe the best visual ever – thank you Natalie of Sacramento, CA. –ed.]
L: Who do you like better - computers or guitars and why?
D: Playing guitar is never a bummer, so guitars, I guess. I have been programming computers since I was 8, though, so I must like it if I’m still at it. I mostly just like the awesome things that people do with guitars and computers. [What’s the deal? Your emphasis is confusing me. –ed.]
L: What is the deal with you and video games? What’s your favorite one? Is the Nintendo Wii the best video game system ever invented?
D: I love them. I can’t really explain why I love them so much, but I do. I read somewhere about a study which concluded that playing video games fulfills some sort of basic human need, so I’m going to go with that. [That is a crock of shit. –ed.] The Legend of Zelda games are my all-time favorites. The little elf-guy in a green suit with the boomerang is pretty hard to beat. The Wii is pretty darn great, but the original NES is probably right up there too (in terms of all-time greatness). I do think it’s really cool that people got so excited about the Wii that they were dislocating joints and putting the Wii-motes through their TVs.
L: You just recently joined the A&R staff here at work after you brought Tiny Vipers to Sub Pop. Tell me about what draws you to Jesy’s music and why you think everyone should like it.
D: I think that she’s really doing something unique and honest, and that she’s making music that could be really important to a lot of folks. Her voice is plain amazing. She’s a friend and very talented lady. If you’re reading this, you should all buy the record when it “drops” on July 24th (that’s A&R lingo, I think). She may be the Great White Hope for the dying record industry. [Oh sweet Jesus, Dean! Wanna bring it down a notch? How can you breathe with all that shit up your nose? –ed.]
L: Does it bother you that people like your dog better than you? He’s an Australian shepherd, right?
D: Very funny. (Lacey knows full well that he’s a Cocker Spaniel. I won’t be baited.) As for people liking him more than me, I’m fine with that. How else would I make friends? [I’ll tell you the secret of friend making when you come out from behind your Gameboy. –ed.]
L: Tell me some jive ass shit about why the internet is so cool.
D: It’s changed the way people interact with each other and discover information in fundamental ways, which is really empowering and pretty cool. I’ve been lucky to have been involved with it job-wise for the last ten or so years while the world’s changed around it
- watching that happen has been pretty cool. Also, you can also find some really, really awesome videos on YouTube. (I’d recommend Cameo’s “Shake Your Pants” or the one where the one guy whacks the other guy with the shovel.) [What about the ottoman humpers? ed.]
L: If you were not working here what would you be doing?
D: Good question. Maybe playing more music and tooling about with my deadbeat band. Or maybe working for myself, figuring out ways to use all this technical gleep-glop to help artists. Or maybe I’d be back at some internet megacorp writing software and playing ping-pong with Indian programmers. Something fun, I hope, in any case.
L: Tell me a funny story about when we went to that party at Mark Arm’s house.
D: I think Lacey’s fishing for a particular story here. While I’m not going to get into specifics, it involves a former member of Soundgarden and a wayward dump that found its way onto the bathroom floor. In any case, I don’t think it’s actually true… [Please don’t crush my dreams. –ed.]
L: What is your favorite food and why?
D: Macaroni and cheese. Because nothing compares. [Seriously, Dean’s insides should be renamed Wisconsin. –ed.]
L: What is your favorite website and why?
D: This is going to sound funny, but I don’t really like websites all that much. I think that websites are going to be short and peculiar footnote in the history of the internet. Someone’s going to come up with a better user interface for the torrent of information that the network provides
-I’d bet that it’s not going to involve sitting in a chair, staring at a backlit screen all day. [Okay, Nostradamus, what else you got? –ed.]
L: Will myspace go the way of friendster? What are your thoughts on social networking?
D: MySpace is janky, to be sure, but people love it. Friendster withered because they tried to exercise to much control on their users—they took down all the funny fake profiles that people were putting up and started censoring posts with “objectionable” words. But the only reason anyone cares about their social network is because it’s their social network; if they’re your friends, then you should be able to say whatever you want to them. It’s not Friendster’s business to determine the social contract of your community—that’s between you and your friends. [Woah! Angry nerd alert! ed.] MySpace, on the other hand, is a free-for-all and they have a whole lot more momentum than Friendster ever had. I’d say they’re going to be around for a while, for sure. As for social networking in general, I don’t think it’s ever going to go away. I mean, that’s pretty much all the internet is, one big social network. The important thing that the social networking sites (like MySpace) did was allow you to connect with people and communities on the internet in a way that’s much closer to how it happens in real life-through friends, by face and by first name. Sooner or later, though, someone’s going to come up with an easier and better way to connect to your friends and communities than sitting at a desk and clicking at websites with a pointer.
L: And finally, who is your favorite coworker?
D: You, of course. Everyone else ties for a close second.

Posted by Lacey Swain

THU, MAY 31, 2007 at 10:46 AM

Flight of the Conchords Screening Parties!


In addition to being “New Zealand’s fourth most popular folk-comedy duo,” and on top of the fact that they are signed to a recording contract with the world famous Sub Pop Records (the very record label with whom they have pledged to release not only an EP later this very summer, but also a full-length record at some as yet to be determined time in the not too distant (and in fact hopefully before the end of this year) future) Flight of the Conchords are soon to be, in the parlance of our times, kind of a big deal. This is happening largely due to the June 17th premiere of their new HBO comedy series entitled, somewhat mysteriously, Flight of the Conchords . The show is being described as “A new comedy series that makes love to your ears.” And while, sure, that sounds maybe a little gross, what we’ve seen of the show is really very funny.

What’s more, the folks at HBO, along with the folks at Cornerstone have put together some free screenings of the first episode! Here’s the shinola on that:

Washington, DC – Saturday, June 2nd
Rock & Roll Hotel, 1353 H Street NE
Drinks and food provided
Doors at 9:00 pm/Screening at 9:30 pm
Seating is first come, first served
RSVP here

Atlanta, GA – Saturday, June 2nd
dooGallery, 205 Holtzclaw Street
Drinks and food provided
Doors at 9:00 pm/Screening at 9:30 pm
Seating is first come, first served
RSVP here

Seattle, WA – Tuesday, June 5th
The Jewelbox Theater, 2322 Second Avenue
Drinks and food provided
Doors at 7:00 pm/Screening at 7:30 pm
Seating is first come, first served
RSVP here

Austin, TX – Tuesday, June 5th
Alamo Drafthouse, 409 Colorado Street
Drinks and food provided
Doors at 9:30 pm/Screening at 10:00 pm
Seating is first come, first served
RSVP here

Plus, on August 7, 2007, we will be releasing a Flight of the Conchords EP, entitled The Distant Future! Here’s the track listing:

  1. Business Time
  2. If You’re Into It
  3. Crying
  4. Beautiful Girl (live)
  5. Robots (live)

Posted by Chris Jacobs

FRI, JUN 1, 2007 at 10:27 AM

Oxford Collapse Daytrotter Session Is Up!


The virile, restless young men who make up the Oxford Collapse recently “made it” with Daytrotter. And now you, dear friends, can enjoy the fruits of their congress. Sidle up next to Daytrotter and treat yourself to an appetizer with their Oxford Collapse interview, and then fill yourself with the five songs they recorded at Daytrotter’s Futureappletree Studio One.

By way of some minor explanation, the very, very abbreviated version of the Daytrotter raison d’etre:
“We’re giving you exclusive, re-worked, alternate versions of old songs and unreleased tracks by some of your favorite bands and by a lot of your next favorite bands.”

Here’s the Oxford Collapse Daytrotter Session track listing…

Search Party
Cumberland Gap
Electric Arc
In Your Volcano
Quiet Man

You deserve it!

Posted by Chris Jacobs

FRI, MAY 18, 2007 at 5:01 AM

Jennifer Gentle - Electric Princess


Jennifer Gentle have turned out some amazingly compositional ghostly pop tunes on their new album The Midnight Room. This little number, Electric Princess is so well orchestrated that you’ll get lost in it’s web of guitar hooks and piano twinkles before you know what hit you.

Posted by andrew sullivan