Virgin Festival Ontario 2009: Interview – Sloan

They’ve been around for years and if you haven’t heard of them, you may want to question whether or not you listen to Canadian rock. During the festival, guitarist Jay Ferguson was able to let us know what the band’s been up to and what album plans they have for the near future.


So the festival experience fun or a confusing, disorganized day?

Sometimes it’s fun playing with bands you want to see. Today, I think there are a few guys in our band who want to see The Pixies so that’s fun. But sometimes it can be a little bit disorganized, but not for me – our tour manager has to handle everything. So it’s fine, I just have to walk here and be here and the crew members take care of the equipment. But sometimes the crowd can be indifferent if they don’t know your band. Some people are just there for a couple acts, but we have the benefit now of being the band where people know who we are at certain festivals. Today? I don’t know. It could be one way or the other. But it’s alright, they’re fun.
What’s it like to play for a crowd who may not necessarily be there to see you?

Sometimes it’s hard. There could be a front row waiting for Ben Harper and we’ll be like, “Well, sorry, I know you don’t know this song but it’s good.” Sometimes it’s a challenge to win people over, too.
You’ve been touring for years. In your live shows now, do you find yourself catering to fans or trying out new material to recruit new ones?

It’s sort of catering to fans for our own shows, but sometimes you want to play new songs for fun. When I was a kid going to shows to see bands I liked, when they played songs I knew, that was exciting. But when they played something I didn’t, that was exciting, too. It depends on the audience. If it’s a casual fan, they just want to hear what’s on the radio. If it’s a hardcore fan, they want to hear album tracks or something we’ve never played live before. Sometimes it’s just a balance.
When I listen to your albums from the past decade, Action Pact, Never Hear the End of It and last year’s Parallel Play, I find that the the latest record is a mixture in sounds from the previous two. Was that something intentional you did going into recording Parallel Play?

I think after we did Never Hear the End of It, our intention was to make a normal length record or at least a shorter record. But we were in the recording mode of Never Hear The End of It, so it’s condensed like Action Pact, but recorded in the style of the last album. So for me, it’s like Never Hear the End of It Part II. Some of those songs on Parallel Play are actually leftovers from the last album or at least starters, so it really is like a younger brother or sister or the companion record.
Since it’s been a year since the last Sloan album. When can we expect some new stuff?

We’re recording an EP right now that we’re gonna put out in the Fall – probably September or October. It will just be online. On our website; one song will be a be an immediate online only thing so it’s an exciting way to move forward. I don’t want to make CDs anymore. I don’t want to manufacture CDs, it’s pointless. I don’t mind making vinyl and I don’t mind putting music up online, but manufacturing and distributing CDs is just a headache to be honest. I know it still exists and you still have to sort of cater to it, but I kinda want to turn that off soon. This EP will be the first foray into that.
So Chris Murphy broke his collar bone in an accident last month. Is it safe to say we won’t see any trademark jump kicks?

I don’t think he can do any jump kicks [laughs]. Because he broke his collar bone he has to just stand there and sing.

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