In 2011, Disintegration Records was formed by singer/songwriter Greg MacPherson and sound engineer and studio owner Cam Loeppky to help a burgeoning group of young, artistically similar bands with a shared DIY ethos, who cared less about record sales and more about making great records.
Turning out release after release of some of the best local albums of the past two years (see: Greg MacPherson’s Disintegration Blues, Cannon Bros.’ Firecracker/Cloudglow and Nova’s Midnight Midnight), Disintegration Records has been building a reputation as the go-to name for premium prairie rock.
For the latest installment of The Tribune Tapes, I asked the Winnipeg record label to make a mixtape consisting of the top tracks it has to offer (big thanks to Cam for putting that together), and caught up with Greg by phone to talk upcoming releases, record collections and exceptional dance moves.
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ST: What did you and Cam initially hope to achieve through the label?
GM: I work in community economic development. My day job is working in the neighbourhood of West Broadway and trying to rebuild the social fabric for that inner-city neighbourhood, so right away we talked about building a community. At that time, I was working with a band called Slow Dancers and Cole Woods was in my band…there was this weird sort of family of young people playing in all of these different bands…and Cam was the person we were all turning to to record with us and it just made sense that we would all work together… We just thought that the label could work as an organizing mechanism for us – where our voices would be a lot stronger collectively than if we were on our own.
What have been some of the highlights for the label in the past year?
Having the Cannon Bros. get nominated for a Polaris Prize. I’ve had a lot of really positive reviews for my last record and likewise with Nova’s record. There’s been some really nice critical response…As a label we’re looking at it in terms of ‘well are we just releasing this into a vacuum or do people really give a shit about this?’ And we’ve found thus far that people certainly have…I feel really proud of the start we’ve had. Artistically, I think it’s rare and pretty remarkable that there’s this consistency of quality.
There has been some talk of a Grand Theft Canoe reissue to be released on your label in the coming year.
I’m leery to call it Grand Theft Canoe. I don’t know if the artists are 100% sure of what they want to call themselves. They had put out a record under the name Voit in 2000 and I think they did a limited release and it was an incredible piece of local work…We just thought this is a criminally under heard record…. It was this great band that we had at one time that disappeared way too early and I think people are going to get really excited about this.
What record would I find in your record collection that I wouldn’t find in Cam’s?
Well I’m pretty obsessed with a lot of the Touch and Go and Matador stuff from the ‘90s, like more angular weird stuff. One of my favourite bands is The Ex, the band from the Netherlands. I don’t know if Cam would really like them that much. He would probably appreciate them, but I joke with him that I’m more Rolling Stones and he’s more Beatles. But he usually counters that with saying that he’s more Kinks.
Will Disintegration Records remain rock-centric or will you ever release, I dunno a rap record?
Ha! That’s funny. We’re working with Pip Skid right now. I think that there will be a Pip Skid record that comes out on Disintegration, hopefully in 2013.
What other albums are you releasing in 2013?
I really hope that Slow Dancers, Cannon Bros. and Haunter put their records out with us in the next year, and I’ll have a new record out in September, which I’m really looking forward to.
Speaking of the album you’re currently working on, how will it compare to previous efforts? Will you have a band?
I’m trying a lot harder to be able to play live in a way that’s accurate. In the past, I have put out records with full bands, and when I would go on tour none of them could play live with me, so it got frustrating because people would come to see me based on the recordings they heard and they would be disappointed or not know what to expect…So this new record is going to have me and Rob (Gardiner), my drummer, and a bit of Cole (Woods) and some folks just guesting on a bunch of songs. For the most part, it’s a full-out rock record. It’s definitely the best collection of rock songs I’ve ever released.
I also have another record that I’m going to be making that’s the opposite. It will all be singer/songwriter slow songs that are all about the words and the melodies and mood. I wanted to keep them separate this time for fun, so we’ll see how that goes.
Can we talk about your video for Frequencies? I love that video.
That’s Mcenroe. He’s the force behind that whole thing.
Who had the best moves?
(Laughs) Besides you.
Well there was this one guy, whose name I don’t even know, who was walking down the street and saw us filming, and he stopped…I think we yelled out to him, ‘hey you wanna be in a music video?’ And he’s like, ‘yeah sure’ and he stayed the whole time. In the video, he’s wearing a blue shirt and he’s got glasses on and he had great moves. Really exceptional.
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- Party at Greg’s – Greg MacPherson
- Take – Cannon Bros.
- Falling – Nova
- Blood and Thunder – Haunter
- Last August Labour – Slow Dancers
- Out of Here – Cannon Bros.
- Frequencies – Greg MacPherson
- July, 2005 – Haunter
- Selkirk – Nova
- Since We Last Talked – Slow Dancers
Check out more of Disintegration Records at www.disintegration.ca or follow the label on Twitter @DisintegrationR