It’s been a while since we’ve heard from our man Sipreano (he of Jamaica to Toronto series, he of the vast mind full of musical knowledge) and, honestly, we were starting to miss him. But, like the golden phoenix, spreading its wings and careening in to the sky, the ashes cascading from its shoulders, Sipreano has returned.
He’s got a new mix up (which you can grab below), so we sat down with this musical database to figure out what in the hell he’s been doing the last few months.
LIGHT IN THE ATTIC: What’s the inspiration behind this most recent mix, Sweet Grass Music?
SIPREANO: The initial spark was def my friend, LITA graphic designer (Jamaica-Toronto series, Rodriguez, Doug Randle), Vincent Cook, who commissioned this mix via his 2Step/Sandinista clothing company based out of Tokyo, Japan. Over the years, I’ve done many eclectic music mixes for them (Super Reggae & Soul V. 1-4, Straight Jack, Music Machine) and wanted to start reflecting more of my deep love for lesser-known Canadian sounds spanning folk, psych, soul, jazz, MOR, electronic, and singer-songwriter. The outlaw, the loner, the cosmic, the thinker, the blues…
LITA: We’re always asking you about what gems you’ve been digging out lately, I wonder what you’re feeling lately in terms of new music?
S: Though I often find myself immersed in the musical past, there’s lots of new music coming at me from every angle. Locally in Vancouver, I enjoy Ladyhawk, Pink Mountaintops, Lightning Dust, and Black Mountain but additionally, there are the artists who shun the spotlight while still making great music, folks doing it for the love and craft. Here’s a big salute to them! Decaf, WZRDRY, Seekers International!!!
LITA: It seems as it been a while since we had a Sipreano update, could you tell us what the last few months have been like for you? – what you’ve been working on, what you’ve been obsessing over, etc.
S: Well the last few months have been a period of transition. I’ve driven across Canada in my trusty car looking for old dogs and records, enjoyed a sand, water, mountain, and sun-fuelled summer on the west coast, endured some monumental heartbreak and frustration, and now, looking forward to some serious head-to-the-grindstone work over the fall and winter to get things back on track. I’m still tackling From Yard To Yonge: Jamaica To Toronto documentary, which charts the musical migration of young West Indian musicians in the late 60s-early 70s as well as hopefully convincing LITA co-owner Matt Sullivan into re-releasing some of my favourite music EVER!!! Current obsessions would have to be my new-old home stereo and record collection which I’ve been reunited with, iPhone technology, hanging with old friends, 3rd Beach vibrations, lake swimming, exploring cheap yet affordable eats with good company, the Rickshaw Theatre at Main and Hastings in downtown Vancouver (old Shaw Brothers kung-fu movie theatre transformed to great live music venue), following the career of talented artist/musician/writer/actor/comedian and Toronto transplant Robert Dayton (SO TALENTED!!!), Lightning Dust LIVE (go see them!!!), Psych Night at the ANZA club, Kaewonder/Arcee’s “Cratery” mixes, Jerry Dammers, and the Pet Shop Boys!!!
LITA: The year is slowly creeping to a close, any observations? Highlights? Thoughts on the future?
S: Time goes by so fast these days it’s scary. Guess I look forward to a productive and creative 2010 for everyone. This past year has been a serious challenge from head to heart to toe and I can’t wait to see what the future will bring. On the global scale, I think we could all learn from Danish synth-pop maestros Laid Back. They’re holding the secrets man, I tell you. Listen to the grooves.
LITA: What are you excited about in terms of reissues right now? Any huge ones on the horizon that you’re keen on?
S: The world is saturated with mediocre reissues. Sorry for adding to the glut. Lol! Psych! Believe it or not, I have a long list of culturally significant and time sensitive projects I’d KILL to work on. Always comes down to money and resources. Thank the highest for LITA and the handful of other labels (Mississippi, Honest Jon’s, Beatball, Em, Waxing Deep, Numero, etc…) that are really doing solid work in this arena. For me it’s all about preserving the original vinyl artifact in today’s oft-disposable digital world. We are loosing history by the second, unless people take the time to dig a little deeper and share what they’ve learnt. Saving pioneering music from a time where over-documentation (internet, digital photography) wasn’t omnipresent as it is now. If you look back to today from 40 years in the future, you’ll have no trouble finding out anything you want about most bands, many of who are simply pillaging the creative efforts of original 60s-70s-80s artists. There will be an electronic trace. But looking back at the folks from back in the day that started it all, their maverick history could be lost if not documented now. I find that almost criminal. It’s an endless process really, though I’m certain that not everything from the past is worthy of bringing back. Good music is good music and always transcends place and time. This is my focus.