I was lucky enough to catch a Modest Mouse show in Chicago last year that featured the opening act of Mason Jennings. It was probably the best show that I’ve seen Modest Mouse play to date and having Jennings open up the night was the perfect precursor.
About 6 months ago the frontman of Modest Mouse, Isaac Brock, started his own record label under the supervision of Epic Records. Naming his label Glacial Pace, the first act that he signed was Mason Jennings. Straight from the lisp slinging mouth of Brock:
I’m going to answer some simple questions that I am sure are going to come up about my initial interest in Mason Jennings. How do I know they’re going to come up? It already did, I was given a list of questions and I’ll do my damndest to relay the information without sounding like a guy answering a list of questions.
Like most scenarios which involve hearing a band for the first time, I heard about Mason in February 2005 from someone whose taste I trust and was passionate about his music and excited enough to play it for other people in hopes that they’d share the excitement with them. In this case I heard it from Naheed Simjee, who currently co-runs Glacial Pace with me. She had described Mason’s music to me as best as possible, but descriptions aren’t easy and fall short when it comes to music (this is one of the reasons I’ve long since abandoned reading reviews to make decisions on buying records). After a few attempts to find, and I apologize but I’m shit when it comes to remembering titles, but it was the one that has the songs “Nothing” and “Godless” on it, a record that she felt was the definitive Mason Jennings c.d. We downloaded some of the songs, and before I get any shit for it, don’t worry, I paid for the songs I downloaded. I was completely blown away with Mason’s unashamed and incredibly sincere voice and lyrics. I can be a real shit head critic when it comes to music so I have to tell you how nice it felt to instantly want to compliment instead of criticize the music. Eventually I bought all his albums and shortly after I was on tour with Modest Mouse and decided while on the road that I would ask Mason and his band to play some of the tour with us. Despite the lack of advance notice, they were able to meet up for some shows. At about the same time I was touring with Mason, some Epic folks were speaking with me about starting my own label. It’s pretty easy to fill in the blanks of the steps between being granted the label and signing an artist whose music I love, so I’ll spare you the boring details.
Fast forward to September 2005. I just heard some of the new songs Mason is recording in Minnesota for Glacial Pace and am thinking that even if this was the only thing that Glacial Pace released, how I am just so goddamned proud to play a part in the release of this record. I hope that every time a record comes out on Glacial Pace I feel this good about it.
No speculations, no expectations
Jennings’ major label jump has been extremely successful. His music hasn’t been overproduced and sounds just as real and intimate as his past works. Brock’s ear for good music has a 2/2 track record so far, seeing how he was also responsible for getting breakout band Wolf Parade signed to Sub Pop.
Wanna be an awesome/well respected musical act? Make sure to open for Modest Mouse at some point – Jennings and Wolf Parade did. C’mon, all the cool kids are doing it!