Alright everybody, get back to work—we’re especially looking at you, us. After what feels like a very long holiday, we here at Sub Pop Records are getting back into doing what we do—putting out new records by some of our favorite bands in the world. It’s going to be another year of us attempting to fill the your record collections with our records (and your closets with our t-shirts), and we’re starting it off strong with new full-lengths from The Ruby Suns, Pissed Jeans, Low, and Mudhoney with many more to come after that, so check your email frequently, I’m we’ll certainly be bugging you a lot this year.
When it comes to listening to the public, we here at Sub Pop like to stick our fingers into our ears and make a really loud humming noise, both literally and metaphorically. But, the recent hue and cry to resurrect our old “People Who Work Here” column has finally become too much for even us to ignore. “People Who Work Here” is, of course, the long-running and even longer-dormant column in which we crawl inside the heads of the weirdos who call Sub Pop HQ home for something like forty hours (give or take—usually take) each week. As the column’s original author is now too busy running our Licensing Department (way to go, Lacey Swain!) to be bothered with this sort of thing, we’ve drafted our new (and former) receptionist to take over as staff interviewer. His name is Derek Erdman and he claims to have a degree in English. You be the judge!
The first subject of the new “People Who Work Here” is, naturally, the newest (and, arguably, most famous) addition to the Sub Pop family, Ishmael Butler. Ish was no stranger to Sub Pop when he accepted the job; he’s also 1/2 of Shabazz Palaces! So far, a number of the ladies (and most likely some dudes, too) in the office have described Ish as “hunky,” and his commanding demeanor has office meetings running much more smoothly. We could go on and on, or you could just read more below.
Derek: Hello, Ish! Wait… I guess I should ask if it’s okay to call you Ish… Is it? Also, do you have any other nicknames? Anything from your childhood, or anything that you didn’t like to be called?
Ish: My friends call me Ish, you can call me Pookie or Carmine until friendship.
D: Did you have a favorite toy as a child? If so, what was it?
I: My favorite toy as a child: cigarettes.
D: What about cartoons, did you watch them as a kid? What did you like? What was your TV like? Mine was a giant wooden thing, it must have weighed 500 lbs.
I: Cartoons, of course, I’m normal. My favorites: all Looney Tunes; Sylvester, Yosemite, Daffy, Bugs, Foghorn. These beings laid the foundation for my philosophical outlook and also of course how I relate to women.
D: What about your first bike? What was it like?
I: I’d love to talk about my first bike but I’m under a sponsorship contract with Alex at 20/20 and I can’t mention any other bike or say the word bicycle.
D: One of my favorite things to know about a person: what is your favorite thing to eat? I’m really particular to Triscuits with cottage cheese on top. Do you have any food combinations that you’re fond of? Are there foods that you really don’t like at all?
I: I like to combine food with hunger, it’s a little something I do.
D: What about pet peeves about other people eating? I don’t mind when people chew with their mouth open, but I’m aware that it bothers some people. I floss my teeth while working at the front desk, does that bother you?
I: I don’t like when people say “sorry” for shit that there is no need to be sorry about. And yes, your flossing bothers us all, bro.
D: Do you remember your very first introduction to music? What was the setting? Who else was involved? Do you still re-visit that music today?
I: My first introduction to music: I was in the 9th grade and my girlfriend was in the 12th grade. She told me to walk her to her friend’s house during lunch. When we got there she had the key and we were the only ones there. She played a song for me that I had not heard until that day. Yes, I revisit that music. I’m going to listen to it when I get home.
D: What about your first introduction to Sub Pop—do you remember that?
I: The first time I came to the offices I chilled in Andy’s [Kotowicz] cube for Hella. He was playing cut after ridiculous cut. His eyes sparkling behind his glasses, talking about songs like I would talk about a girl I love.
D: What did you expect working at Sub Pop to be like?
I: I thought it would be like I had seen Tony K. doing it around town, you know, getting in free to shows, getting twisted backstage, throwing drinks in bouncers’ faces, making a fool of myself and it being ok because “I work at the Sub, bitch.” But there’re all kinds of meetings and shit.
D: How is being an employee at Sub Pop compared to being an artist on the label?
I: I expected working here to be serious and fun.
D: What advice would you give other new employees of Sub Pop? What about the ones that have been here FOREVER?
I: New employees: try to use the bathroom before lunch. Old employees: form a band called Power Trip but spell it PWr tRYp and whisper to the new employees how you should be “singin’ lead, man.”
D: Any advice you have for musicians who’d like to be signed by Sub Pop? How about for people who want to get a job here?
I: If you want to get a job here don’t try sleeping your way to the top. IT DOESNT WORK. You just get a few t-shirts and when they say you’re on the all access list, you’re not.
D: Do you have any ideas for new Sub Pop merchandise? I’ve been thinking Sub Pop shower curtains would be a good idea.
I: Sup Pop stem cell samples from bands!
D: Thanks, Ish! And welcome aboard this sinking (since 1988) ship!
On Friday, July 12th (the night before our free, utterly vainglorious Silver Jubilee festival in Georgetown on July 13th), Sub Pop Records will be hosting Silver Jubil-eve: An Anniversary Comedy Thing (for Charity!) staring Eugene Mirman, Marc Maron, Kristen Schaal, Jon Benjamin, and Kurt Braunohler at the Moore Theatre. In this week’s edition of Getting To Know Us, we’re going to tell you a little bit about the comedians who will make you laugh.
Let’s start with the one and only Kurt Braunohler. I have to admit, I didn’t know who the one and only Kurt Braunohler was before we announced the lineup to the Silver Jubil-eve Comedy thing, but I don’t “get” jokes, so not only do the laughs go over my head, but apparently, so do the comics. Upon researching (this particular edition should be called Us Getting To Know Us), I’ve found out some wonderful things about Kurt, like the fact that he lends his wonderful voice to the very good TV show, Bob’s Burgers and also, according to Wikipedia, Kurt Braunohler is active on Vine—which seems like a low point of information delivery for Wikipedia. But none of the Kurt Braunohler things I found out about was as wonderful as the fact that this past spring, Kurt successfully raised $4,000 on the crowd-funding site, Kickstarter, in order to hire a plane to skywrite “How Do I Land?” in Southern California in order to promote his new comedy record. Amazing. Also, Kurt hosts the IFC show, Bunk.
You’ll likely know Kristen Schaal from her unsettling roles on Flight of the Conchords, 30 Rock, or, less unsettlingly, Bob’s Burgers, playing aggressively weird, restraining order-inducing, yet somehow charming characters. She’s also a correspondent on a news program called The Daily Show, which is a very informative romp through the international happenings of the day with a focused mistrust of the fine folks over at Fox News. Kristen’s been a friend of Sub Pop’s for a some time now and whenever she pops into the office, she’s kind and we laugh our collective ass off. Simply put, she’s one of our favorite people.
Jon Benjamin’s prolific career includes lending his voice to a lot of animated characters in magical shows like Aqua Teen Hunger Force (number one in the hood, G), Dr. Katz, Archer, and most recently, the voice of the patriarch of the weirdest G-D family on TV, Bob’s Burgers’, Bob Belcher. He’s also hosted his own show on Comedy Central called, Jon Benjamin Has a Van. But perhaps most importantly, he guest starred on HBO’s Sex And The City, a show about four women having sex in a city. It’s very interesting.
Marc Maron hosts what seems to be the world’s preeminent podcast, WTF with Marc Maron, a podcast that has become so popular that even my mom is misquoting Marc. He’s also had countless other roles in the American comedysphere over the past couple of decades, a fact that would be a huge disservice to Marc’s colossal reputation if I glossed over—a disservice I am very willing to commit for the sake of brevity and to focus on the importance of what Marc has created with WTF, a hilarious and poignant podcast with over 400 episodes boasting a list of guests so heavy that picking the highlights is impossible—an impossibility I’m willing to overcome by listing some of my personal favorites here: Bob Saget, Bobcat, Patton, Henry Rollins, Iggy Pop, Cheech as well as Chong, Gallagher (!), Conan, Paul Reiser, Richard Lewis, and Andrew Dice Clay—I should remind you that this impressive list goes up to 400. What I’m trying to say is, you should really be listening to WTF on the reg.
Having two hilarious records out on Sub Pop, Eugene Mirman has been a part of the family for several years now. He’s also the event creator and host for the Sub Pop Jubil-eve 25th Anniversary Comedy Thing (for Charity!). Eugene’s done time as a cast member on Flight of the Conchords and most recently, on the fine folks at Fox’s show Bob’s Burgers. (It should be noted that BB is currently streaming on Netflix and I’ve been watching a lot of it lately. Clearly.) Eugene’s also written and performed what I consider to be the absolute best joke on homophobia that there ever will be —it involves Teenwolf, the Saxons, and the gay wars of Mesopotamia. If you join us on the Sub Pop Silver Jubil-eve, you’re going to be in great, hilarious hands with Eugene. We couldn’t be happier or more honored to have him host our comedy event.
Just to recap, the evening will be hosted by Eugene Mirman and features performances from Marc Maron, Jon Benjamin, Kristen Schaal, & Kurt Braunohler. Tickets for the event are $25 and will be on sale June 7th at 10 a.m. You can purchase tickets via phone at 1-877-784-4849, online at STGPresents.org and tickets.com or available with NO service charge at the Paramount box office open M-F, 10am-6pm, plus show nights. Tickets available with a $1.50 service charge at 24 hr electronic kiosks located outside the Paramount, Moore, and Neptune- and with a reduced service charge at Sonic Boom Records. All proceeds from this event will benefit local organizations 90.3FM KEXP, Northwest Harvest and the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation.
This event is in conjunction with our altogether FREE Sub Pop Silver Jubilee music festival on Saturday, July 13th in Seattle’s historic Georgetown neighborhood. The festival will feature a number of Sub Pop artists both past and present. It’s truly going to be a massive orgy of proto-grunge, grunge, and post-grunge—all not to be missed. So join us. More information can be found here.
Another week is already on top of us, June’s entering its awkward tweens, and we’ve got another issue of Getting to Know Us, the weekly column in which we go on and on (and on) about a few of the artists playing our self indulgent 25th anniversary party (the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee—July 13th—Seattle), with the tedium of proud parents in an effort to acquaint/reacquaint you with the artists playing. This week, we’re going to tell you all about Greg Dulli, Shearwater, and The Baptist Generals.
Among Sub Pop’s many prodigal sons, Greg Dulli stands out because we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to work with him on not just one, but three different projects: The Afghan Whigs, The Gutter Twins, and most recently, The Twilight Singers; each sonically unique unto themselves yet somehow all clearly branded “Dulli”—all with truly astonishing releases. Greg Dulli is going to have an unparalleled depth in which to pull songs from, so a performance from him is likely to be a multi-decade-spanning trip from the past to the present with stops everywhere in between—we’re excited to board any ship with Greg Dulli at the helm—it’s going to be a great ride. Watch the video for “On The Corner”, from Twight Singers’ 2011 Dynamite Steps to hear what we’re saying.
Shearwater’s prolific career has been on high speed for over a decade, but we’ve only just recently been lucky enough to work with them having released their seventh full-length record, Animal Joy, in 2012. Without a background in poetry, it’s difficult to accurately describe exactly the sound that Shearwater has so developed over the years—dark with a healthy dose of pirated optimism?—yikes, that’s not it. Check out their cinematic video for “You As You Were”, my personal favorite Shearwater song.
The Baptist Generals hold the Sub Pop Records record for longest time span between debut and sophomore record—No Silver/No Gold and Jackleg Devotional to the Heart—2003 and 2013, respectively; a full decade. It’s no small feat reintroducing a band to a generation of music listeners and record collectors who were forced to move on after the long wait, but upon our first hearing Jackleg, there was no question that we had to share this record with anyone and everyone who we could play it for, which is to say, it may have been a long time, but The Baptist Generals sound is as good as ever. They’re like the Meryl Streep of Denton, TX-based musicians. To hear proof of this well-aged sound, listen to “Broken Glass.”
With last Friday’s announcement expanding the already get-here-July 13th-no-matter-what caliber lineup for The Silver Jubilee to include METZ, King Tuff, Built To Spill, Chad VanGaalen, and brand new Sub Pop artists, clipping., this festival is shaping up to be the best we’ve ever been to—here’s to hoping you can join us.
More info for the event can be found here.
The Losers have won! We here at Sub Pop HQ have been toiling away for the past couple of months trying to find the three Losers most worthy of winning our scholarship and we are finally ready to announce the Loser winners. With close to 300 submissions by a variety of awesome youth throughout the northwest, this process was not easy for us. It is tough to cull 99% of the applicants to just the top three, we thank all of the awesome Losers out there and are happy to see so many freak flags waving high in the sky. Now onto the Losers:
Our $3000 scholarship winner is Evan Neuhausen of Portland. Evan is an amazing organizer and fundraiser in the Portland music community who has helped get big name bands to support the arts in Portland Public Schools. Volunteering for the Music In The Schools non-profit, Evan has worked as the President of the organization for the past two years helping to raise tens of thousands of dollars through fundraising benefit shows with awesome local bands. When not in school or volunteering Evan interns for the Tender Loving Empire record label and works with the PDX Pop Now festival. Upon graduation Evan will be leaving the Pacific Northwest and headed to NYU, where hopefully he’ll become an even bigger Loser.
Our $4000 prize goes to the gifted Jamie Iwata. Multi-talented and very gifted, Jamie is a testament to how music can change people’s lives. Since he was a kid Jaimi has turned to music as a way to find self expression, now as a young adult Jaimi uses choir, his band The Great Train Robbery, and his friends from the Portland School of Rock to get his ya ya’s out. The sheer amount of vocal talent, musicianship, and eclectic musical interests combined with Jamie’s awesome attitude make us here at Sub Pop very excited to support such a wonderful Loser. After graduating Oregon Connections Academy, Jamie will continue his education at the University of Colorado where he’ll be majoring in vocal performance.
Our $6000 Loser is the ever-so-talented musician/journalist Mary Ruiz. Through her writing and her music, Mary has carved out a unique identity in her local community and found a perfect niche to grow up while also giving back. Cutting her teeth at the Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls, Mary grew confidence as a youngster learning to perform and be herself. Now as a young adult she helps the next generation of young talented Losers by volunteering her summers as a roadie, guitar instructor, and mentor with the RNRCFG. Whether through her band Guadalupe, or her blog, or even her reporting as a student journalist Mary makes a calculated effort to reach out and positively influence the lives of others. As our newest Loser winner we’ll be helping Mary pursue and further her career in journalism at Mills College with this $6000 college scholarship.
Congratulations to the winners and thank you to all that applied. Every year we get to see just how many talented, freaky, weird, cool young people that are out there in the woods and hollows of the northwest and every year we get more and more impressed. Keep up the good work young folks, thank you for inspiring us once again, we’ll see you Losers again around this time next year.
Sub Pop’s Small Bounty of Record Store Day Treasure
We are, once again, participating in the frenzied, let’s-get-our-economy-back-on-track holiday tradition known among vinyl collectors, music fanatics, and eBay flippers as Record Store Day’s Black Friday, for which we (and other record labels and artists) come up with very cool and very limited releases to be sold exclusively at independent record retailers.
On November 29th, Sub Pop (hey, that’s us) will release two limited-edition Black Friday exclusives: Josh Tillman’s score to the forthcoming short film The History of Caves, and a split 7” featuring Low’s popular rendition of Rihanna’s megahit “Stay” and Shearwater’s take on Frank Ocean’s “Novacane.” Please find track listing details for both releases below.
The History of Caves is the directorial debut of photographer and filmmaker Emma Elizabeth Tillman, and it will premiere later this year on Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes. Josh Tillman’s (spoiler alert: he is Father John Misty!) haunting, spare instrumental score spans 10 tracks, all of which are featured on this limited-edition LP. The album is limited to 2,000 copies.
Labelmates Low and Shearwater each contribute what might be considered, in some circles, improbable covers of popular songs for this split 7” single. After performing a crowd-favorite live version of Rihanna’s “Stay” at the Pitchfork Music Festival this past July, Low recorded a studio version at Sacred Heart in Duluth, MN. Low’s version of the pop ballad has been available digitally since mid-September and follows in the wake of the band’s March 2013, Jeff Tweedy-produced album The Invisible Way. Shearwater’s new album Fellow Travelers is out November 26, 2013, and on it the band performs re-imagined songs by bands they have toured with over the years, including Folk Implosion, St. Vincent, Wye Oak, Xiu Xiu, and Coldplay among others. Unfettered by the operating principle of Fellow Travelers (and inviting future tour dates together) Shearwater recorded their own gauze-wrapped, undulating version of Frank Ocean’s “Novacane” for this single. Low’s proceeds will benefit Rock for Kids (www.rockforkids.org), while Shearwater’s will benefit the Southern Poverty Law Center (www.splcenter.org). This 7” is limited to 3,500 copies.
Both releases will also be available digitally, so you MP3 purists can have yours, too.