Slow Down, Molasses and the Comfort of Flux
At times, Slow Down, Molasses are hard to categorize. They're a grassroots ensemble from Saskatoon, but pegging just who "they" are is difficult... because they are not always composed of the same members. That may make it seem as though people are constantly being kicked out and are thus always disgruntled, but the process is actually surprisingly harmonious.
They're just finishing up a national tour and will be stopping at the fairly new Toronto venue, The Garrison on October 29th to play a final gig before returning out West.
I had to get the skinny on this band, so I arranged a phone interview with founding member, Tyson McShane. This is his story.
Slow Down, Molasses have been a band for about three years now. Last year they quietly released their debut full length, I'm An Old Believer, which was given positive reviews by media outlets across the country. I asked Tyson how it all began.
"Originally, I just wanted to create some kind of folky, noisy band that would play some songs I had been working on. I wanted it open enough that people could play on the record, or other people could tour with us if they wanted. It followed the idea that we're not nineteen anymore but we still want to play music. We want to tour but it just doesn't always work out. So, right now everyone in the band has a career-ish job, or have had one before. Basically, it's just a bunch of people, who have played in bunch of different bands from Saskatoon getting to play some folky, noisy, indie rock."
Although the members may not always be the same, Tyson admits that there is a core, and there are definitely instruments that are always played.
"Banjo is usually around, trombone is around, and then there's your basic drums, bass, and guitar. There are basically eight of us that are official members, but one of them can barely tour and another just moved to Montreal -- but we'll pick her up when we stop by. I guess there's six that can play every show now."
In total, fourteen people play on the record. There are a lot of small stages out there across Canada, so I asked Tyson if having too many people at a show was ever an issue.
"Most of us, over the years, have also worked at a lot of venues, so we're mentally aware that we're a big band. But we're pretty laid back, and we're pretty open to rearranging the instruments being played in each song. We've done shows that are just basically acoustic sets. We kind of like doing that sort of stuff; it's just about making the best of each situation."
Tyson did mention one time when the band thought they had run into a problem. It was at a cafe they were thrilled to be invited to play at in Thunder Bay.
"We got there and the people were like 'oh, you've got drums' and we were wondering if they had read our bio at that point. The were looking at our CD and we've got a song called 'Fucking Up' and they were like, "hey you guys aren't going to swear, are you?' I don't cuss a lot in the songs, but they were concerned because they book [dinner] reservations and then those people stay for the show. Front row centre were three 60-70 year olds. But we ended up going over really really well with them".
It should be interesting to see what happens tomorrow night at The Garrison. And who plays. And how big the band is.
Damn it, I'm curious...
Photo courtesy of Audio Blood Media
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