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 DOESNTWORK. 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!
In this second installment of Getting to Know Us, the self-serving, Sub Pop Silver Jubilee Festival-promoting column in which we talk about some of the world class artists who are playing our (free (to you)) birthday party taking place on Saturday, July 13th in Seattle’s esteemed Georgetown Neighborhood. This week, we would like to show you about the majestic J Mascis and the enigmatic Shabazz Palaces.
Chances are that if you know who we are (just to clarify, we’re the t-shirt and record manufacturer, Sub Pop), you are already well aware of who J Mascis is. As one of the shreddiest forces on the planet and singer of the pioneering band Dinosaur Jr., J has been creating some of the noisiest and most wonderful (in this blog poster’s opinion, at least) music for the better part of like, 15 decades or so. He’s also been involved with J Mascis + The Fog, Witch, Deep Wound, Upsidedown Cross, Sweet Apple, and most importantly (for the sake of this Silver Jubilee related blog post, at least), simply J Mascis. J’s most recent solo record, Several Shades of Why, came out on Sub Pop in 2011 to much critical acclaim, and quickly became a favorite among the staff at Sub Pop. In case you missed that record, here’s a link to the video for “Not Enough”, created by J’s labelmate, Chad VanGaalen.
Shabazz Palaces are an enigmatic hip-hop duo, bucking every trend in the modern rap game (take for example them signing with a record label not at all known for putting out hip hop records). They’re led by Palaceer Lazaro, also known as Ishmael Butler, a member of the pioneering 90’s rap group, Digable Planets and are rounded off with the multi-instrumental brilliance of Tendai Maraire. Shabazz Palaces’ debut full-length, Black Up, was released in 2011 amidst a frenzy of excitement and hype and according to universal critical acclaim, well exceeded the hype in its delivery. In case you needed proof of their prowess, we’ve attached a video for their song “Are You… Were You… Can You… (Felt)” off of Black Up.
Perhaps it feels a little desperate to attempt to sell you on an altogether FREEMUSICFESTIVAL put on by a record label representing such historically and presently great artists, we wouldn’t be Sub Pop Records (and t-shirts!) if we weren’t trying to sell you something. So, on July 13th, we hope you’ll join us at the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee however you can and watch these three artists do their thing.For free.
Click here for more information on the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee.
Record Store Day 2012, the one day that independently owned record stores all come together with artists to celebrate the art of music, is almost upon us fellow music fans.
In preparation for this grand event, today we are offering up a streaming version of our free 2012 Sub Pop sampler, Terminal Sales Vol. 5: Mixed Nuts (see player above). This 16-track collection of new, rare, and, in some cases, previously released tracks, will be available, in CD form and in all of its elaborate and glorious packaging beauty, at a record store near you this weekend, while supplies last.
To find out just which record stores near you will be participating in RSD 2012, you can head over to recordstoreday.com and get a list of the local brick and mortars you’ll need to hit on Saturday for the rare and exclusive offers from your favorite bands.
While you’re doing your research, you may also want to refer back to our previous Record Store Day blog post which details the specific and impressive Record Store Day offerings from Sub Pop artists Beach House, Blitzen Trapper and Shabazz Palaces. Relatedly, Pitchfork highlighted the Beach House and Shabazz Palaces RSD releases in their Top Record Store Day Releases coverage, read more of their list here.
Terminal Sales Vol. 5: Mixed Nuts, Sub Pop’s FREE 16-track 2012 label sampler will also be available on Record Store Day.
We love few things more than Record Store Day. We’ll be demonstrating and celebrating this love on April 21, 2012 with an array of exclusive and limited-edition releases featuring new, rare and unreleased tracks from Beach House, Blitzen Trapper, and Shabazz Palaces. On this same day, we will also release our FREE 2012 label sampler, Terminal Sales Vol. 5: Mixed Nuts, a 16-track collection of new, rare, and, in some cases, previously released tracks from Beachwood Sparks, Jaill, Shearwater, THEESatisfaction, Spoek Mathambo, Debo Band, King Tuff, and 9 more. All Sub Pop Record Store Day releases come with exclusive and ridiculously handsome artwork. Full track lists and release details are below.
In further Beach House news: fans can now pre-order the band’s May 15, 2012 release Bloom from iTunes (Pre-order Bloom from iTunes and get a download of the song “Myth” instantly), Amazon, Insound, (Pre-order from Insound and get a free Beach House poster) and Sub Pop. Fans who pre-order the vinyl LP format of the new record directly from Sub Pop will receive the limited, white vinyl Loser Edition. All pre-orders (CD and LP) will receive a bonus poster. A new Bloom t-shirt design is also available for pre-order from subpop.com.
“Lazuli” b/w “Equal Mind” 7" single
(Limited-edition of 2,400 copies on blue vinyl)
2. Equal Mind
“Hey Joe” b/w “Skirts on Fire” 7" single
(Limited-edition of 1,800 on yellow vinyl)
1. Hey Joe
2. Skirts on Fire
Live at KEXP 12" EP
(From the band’s spectacular 2011 live session on KEXP, one of the station’s most popular live sessions, limited-edition of 2,000 copies on purple vinyl)
1. bop hard
2. An echo from the hosts that profess infinitum
3. a mess, the booth that soaks in palacian musk
4. free press and curl
Terminal Sales Vol. 5: Mixed Nuts
1. Shearwater “You as You Were” (demo version)
2. Memoryhouse “Walk With Me”
3. feedtime “rock n roll”
4. Spoek Mathambo “Kites”
5. THEESatisfaction “QueenS”
6. Poor Moon “People in Her Mind”
7. Retribution Gospel Choir “The Stone (Revolution!)”
8. Shabazz Palaces “bop hard”(From the Live at KEXP 12” EP)
9. Father John Misty “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”
10. Beach House “Myth”
11. King Tuff “Bad Thing”
12. Jaill “Waste a Lot of Things”
13. Beachwood Sparks “Forget the Song”
14. Debo Band “Asha Gedawo”
15. Husky “History’s Door”
16. Niki & The Dove “DJ, Ease My Mind”
More About Record Store Day
This is the one day that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day and hundreds of artists in the United States and in various countries across the globe make special appearances and performances. Festivities include performances, cook-outs, body painting, meet and greets with artists, parades, djs spinning records and on and on. Metallica officially kicked off Record Store Day at Rasputin Music in San Francisco on April 19, 2008 and Record Store Day is now celebrated the third Saturday every April. In 2012, Record Store Day takes place April 21st.
2011 was a stellar year for Shabazz Palaces, the sonic movement of Palaceer Lazaro (Ishmael Butler). The debut release, Black Up, was one of the most critically celebrated records of 2011, landing on the best of lists at SPIN, LA Times, The New Yorker, Pitchfork and more. Shabazz Palaces has no plans to slow down in 2012, announcing the group’s first official stateside touring, kicking off on April 3 in Minneapolis, with European dates preceding their North American tour.
To remind you how truly awesome Shabazz Palaces really is, we thought we would share with you the new video for the groups song “Are You… Can You… Were You…? (Felt)”, which was directed by Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes. You can watch the video above.
Shabazz Palaces Tour Dates:
Saturday, February 18, 2012 La Cave aux poetes, Roubaix France
Sunday, February 19, 2012 Stereolux, Nantes France
Monday February 20, 2012 Les Trinitaires, Metz France
Tuesday February 21, 2012 Strasbourg La Laiterie, France
Friday February 24, 2012 Palace, St Gallen Switzerland
Saturday, February 25, 2012 Stall 6, Zurich Switzerland
Wednesday, February 29, 2012 Astoria, Turin Italy
Thursday, March 01, 2012 Circolo degli Artisti, Rome Italy
Friday, March 02, 2012 Bronson, Ravenna Italy
Saturday, March 03, 2012 Studio 2, Vigonovo (Venezia) Italy
Tuesday, April 3, 2012 The Whole, Minneapolis MN (All Ages Show)
Wednesday, April 4, 2012 Mad Planet, Milwaukee WI
Thursday, April 5, 2012 Lincoln Hall, Chicago IL
Friday, April 6, 2012 Magic Stick, Detroit MI
Saturday, April 7, 2012 The Horn Gallery, Gambier OH
Sunday, April 2012 The Shadow Lounge, East Liberty PA
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 Lee’s Palace, Toronto ON
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 II Motore, Montreal QC
Thursday, April 12, 2012 Iron Horse, Northampton MA
Friday, April 13 2012 SOB’s, New York NY
Saturday, April 14, 2012 Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn NY