Slow down, Molasses are such an impressive band. They’ve got amazing music + live show, are all good friends, and managed to keep their band growing in popularity every year despite many members having other big commitments. This 7 piece have recently completed their first tour of the UK with a massive gig at the End Of The Road Festival. I got a chance to ask Tyson, the band’s creative anchor, about how they managed to get it all together, and keep it all together:
How did you get hooked up with the UK gigs?
It was all a bit of a mix of great coincidences and lucky happenstance…. I’ve always made sure to apply or send them (End of the Road Festival) info on us, but the lucky break for us came from playing a show to a very small audience in Duncan, BC. We played to 4 people, but one of them was from the UK and friends with a great man named Ro Cemm who writes for The Line of Best Fit and curates a podcast called Oh! Canada, …He works with the people at End of the Road and recommended they book us.
Other shows were booked based on some previous interest in us and some good old fashion research about who the great indie promoters and venues are that would work for us …My First Tooth had emailed me a couple years ago saying how much they love our band and saying we should play shows together. …we kept in touch and they immediately sorted out a show for us once we had a date available. Similarly in Cardiff there is a great radio show called The Waiting Room …set us up with a local promoter who confirmed a show for us.
What was the main difference between giging in Canada vs UK?
Short drives! It is really, really dumbfounding to me that we could play so many shows and our total driving distance for the entire tour was about the same distance as we drive to play a show in Winnipeg. This meant we could do a lot in a short time period. The full band was in the UK for 7 days and we played 7 proper shows, recorded a 6 song studio session for a Cardiff-based radio show, played an instore acoustic show in Oxford and recorded 4 songs in a punt on the Oxford river. It was busy, but not at all unreasonable.
The other difference was the hospitality shown to us. Every show we were well fed and people went out of their way to make sure we had comfortable places to stay. In addition the general response from audiences was really wonderful.
How did it change the band dynamic?
..Playing in the UK and specifically at the End of the Road festival was really wonderful in that we were able to play for people in our exact niche in the music world. Every day I met people who were as excited as I am about bands like The Dirty Three, Mercury Rev or Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. At End of the Road we did a Mojave 3 cover and people got so excited and began singing along. It was really heartening to play to people that love the kind of music I do and get a great response. It very much reinforced the idea that we are headed in the right direction musically and we can do exactly what we want to do and have people respond in a really positive way.
What would you do differently next time?
Cell Phones! Back line! We did not arrange for local cell phones for the UK and using our Canadian phones would have been ridiculously expensive so our communication was limited to whenever we found wifi. Everything worked out, but it definitely makes it much more confusing and difficult to keep track of everyone and stay coordinated, so next time we’ll definitely have a better communication plan. Otherwise, we’ll bring over a bit more gear or rent more gear while we are there. For every show we were relying on the venue or opening band for backline (drums and amps) and it generally worked out fairly well, but we definitely ran into a few issues where it became harder to do justice to some of our songs due to the limitations of the gear we had.
What are your future plans in the UK?
Well, we are fresh back and starting writing our next album so nothing is quite certain yet, but, every place we played we had someone insist that we come back as soon as possible and since the tour more and more positive reviews and opportunities seem to be coming our way. So right now the tentative plan is to head over for a longer tour in either the spring or late summer next year. Based on the reception we got on this tour, it seems like it would be foolish not to spend more time over there.
Expect to see more from Slow down, Molasses in the near future. In the meantime, enjoy this tasty live video of the band performing over water.