The Blogger Lowdown is a new feature where we ask the good people who run some of our favorite, essential blogs to give some insight on themselves and their sites. There are some great resources for discovering all kinds of music on the interwebs and our hope is to introduce you to a few of these outlets and the people behind them.
Once in a while, everybody needs to just sit back, kick off their shoes, and move slowly. It's a beautiful thing to lay back and absorb the emotions, community and earth surrounding you on a regular basis. Some people may need prompting to experience this and others may just need a soundtrack. Luckily for us, music is a powerful force and we have Slowcoustic to regularly introduce subdued, introspective folk and alt-country tunes to the world.
Sandy (a.k.a. Smansmith) was kind enough to answer a few questions for us to kick off The Blogger Lowdown.
How about a little backstory on yourself to start things off. When and how did Slowcoustic come to be?
It all started with an idea that me and a fellow music lover had over on Last.fm in 2005. He recommended we start a group about the style of music that we like so we can tell others about it, discover more and simply just talk shop. I ended up starting a group called "Slow-coustic" which you can tell is a faux word based on Slow and Acoustic which is a way to describe the genre of music that I truly enjoy. I then started a music blog as an extension of that group in 2008 and here we are today!
Do you have a day job/alter ego?
Yeah, unfortunately music blogging doesn't keep me in silk pajamas quite as much as it once could have. I spend most of my days sitting in front of a computer (gasp!) doing web and promotion for a small medical supply company here in Calgary, Alberta.
What kind of music did you grow up with? Did this contribute to your tastes now?
I think a lot of folks might also relate to this phenomena, but I NEVER listened to my current style of music while growing up. It was completely a mix between metal and "alternative" throughout my formative years. Essentially I appreciated a band who brought the doom like Venom, but still had to mope around to The Cure… Although one band that I personally credit for starting the change in me is Portishead. The early days of the band brought beauty and fresh sounds that truly moved me and changed the way I listened to music. They created a mindset of enjoying down tempo songs that is still with me today.
Any embarrassing musical tastes or purchases early on? Any guilty pleasures now?
I totally had a phase where I truly enjoyed "rave techno". I don't listen to it really anymore, but I can totally understand it's appeal. I even bought white label vinyl out of a trunk after raves and such…things have slowed down for me since then…but every once and awhile…
What’s the one album that you have the greatest emotional connection with?
As mentioned above, early on it would be Portishead's "Dummy" or even The Cure's "Pornography". In my modern Slowcoustic life, I would say it is probably "Long May You Run, J. Tillman" by J. Tillman or maybe a Songs:Ohia album…but I better stick with Tillman. The guy just blows me away almost every time he makes music.
Is there one high energy, fast paced album or band that can break you out of your normal slow folk mode?
In fact there is! These days, I do jump on the Black Keys bandwagon – they are just too catchy, you cannot ignore them. They might not be super high paced, but it wouldn't fall into the slow and acoustic side of things.
Any stellar shows or purchases recently?
Show – The Tallest Man On Earth. That guy is becoming a true top tier guy, soo good and he sounds real great live.
Purchase – I picked up that Conrad Plymouth self titled vinyl EP from Ten Atoms and it is such a good listen – a top 3 EP for 2010 for sure.
How else does Smansmith spend his time? Any interesting hobbies outside of music and blogging?
Ha! Sometimes I still snicker about "Smansmith" – my real name is Sandy Smith and was always called "S-man" growing up. So it ended up being "Smansmith" as my signature…where were we? Oh yeah, honestly my days are short with working the day job, commuting and then blogging as well as running a small indie music label (Yer Bird Records), I tend not to have too many actual hobbies…maybe my hobby could be pints of ale on a patio while discussing world domination, but why state the obvious?
Hockey – yea or nay?
Yea, for sure. I am still Canadian and I just have a natural attraction to it. I am not crazy about it and in fantasy leagues and such, but a good game is not to be under appreciated. 😉