Greg MacPherson (Derek Hogue)
Greg MacPherson has no regard for the word relent.
He has six solo records (with a seventh just on the horizon), tours like a fiend, has started a brand-spanking-new label in Winnipeg featuring some hot young acts, and absolutely crushes it when it comes to writing a song.
MacPherson's albums all share a rock aesthetic of direct guitar and driving drums buttressed by a poetic grit. His dogged professionalism has made him a sort of local hero in Winnipeg's music community.
Whenever you talk song writing in this city his name is sure to come up, especially under the usual refrain, "What Greg MacPherson? Oh man that guy can write a tune."
SCENE put some questions to Greg, fresh off his eastern Canadian tour with Cannon Bros., to ask him about his new endeavour Disintegration Records, touring, and where his songs come from.
You have released six full-length solo albums (with a seventh on the way), tour extensively, play in the band NOVA, and run Disintegration records (along with Cam Loeppky), where do you find the time?
That's a question I'm always asking myself lately! I also have a very serious full time day job that I love and a number of side projects I'm committed to so time has become rather tight. I've scaled back the amount of time I can commit to certain things, I don't sleep much, I try to mix work and pleasure a fair bit, I also just try to stay organized and do things in priority succession.
What is the story behind Disintegration Records?
Providing top quality independent rock and roll music to the more sophisticated and discerning music consumer since January, 2011. Owned and operated by Cam Loeppky and Greg MacPherson out of the trunk of Cam's car. Something like that.
Musicians on your label often interact by performing together, how does this collective sort of atmosphere come out in the music?
All of the projects are very distinct, even though there are shared members in many of the bands. There's a wide range of sounds and aesthetic choices but we all love one another's work and we support each other both as musicians and label mates.
Do you ever have ridiculously large jams when every musician from the label comes together for a session? If so, what's that like?
Haha! Not yet. That sounds like Broken Social Scene or something.
Being a performing artist who is constantly on the road, how do you cope with the extra burden of running a record company?
I run the label from my iphone, I sleep with my eyes open and I have several robot body doubles. These are the first things they'll tell you to do in any reputable "how to run a record label" book. Fortunately, I also have Cam Loeppky who is my business partner and we share the workload as evenly as possible. He tours a lot as well so we try to fill in for one another when one of us is away. So far it's working well.
The Disintegration Records website has a lot to offer -- the band profiles are so extravagant yet, a bit tongue-in-cheek and fitting. Who's responsible for it?
I am proud to say I built that whole website personally. I had a few tips from knowledgeable friends but mostly I taught myself how to do things as I went along. As a layperson with zero knowledge of, or previous interest in designing websites, I'm feeling pretty good about how far I got. It's going to get a professional once-over sometime down the road when some records are finally released and the label starts generating income.
What is your song-writing process?
That's a big question. I will do many things to arrive at a completed song and the process can be different each time. The best songs seem to fall from the sky and come to me all at once, others take a decade to finish and I rewrite them five times before I'm satisfied. Ultimately, I try to make time for this as often as possible and it's something I enjoy doing more than just about anything else in life.
What are three things you love and three things you hate about being on the road?
I love performing and playing music, touring allows for plenty of that. I love getting to know the intricacies and issues of far way cities and developing a broader understanding of the way people live their lives here and elsewhere. I've made many good friends in the places I've played and touring affords me opportunity to see them again.
I hate the carbon footprint involved in touring and traveling, particularly in Canada where distances are vast and can mean enormous amounts of gas and jet fuel. This is something I'm less and less okay with. I hate the logistics behind touring; all of the booking, promoting, planning, driving, loading, unloading, finding a place to eat, to sleep - this all takes so much time and energy that the actual performance at times becomes a tiny tip on a big iceberg. I hate playing the last chord of the last song of the last show at the end of a tour because it means no more shows for a while.