This year my label, Hidden Pony Records, is celebrating our short 5 years in existence. It’s an exciting milestone and a chance for us to reflect back on some of the albums we’ve put out. We’re so blessed to work with our roster and can honestly say we’re fans of our bands. What we’ve done here for our Noisetrade sampler is to give you the first song that attracted us to the band as well as that artist’s most “popular” or most recent song. Here’s how they came to be Hidden Pony artists:
Said the Whale: This Winter I Retire, I Love You
In a former life, Tyler from Said The Whale worked for a company doing online marketing in the very early days. He was responsible for landing Jeremy Fisher’s video for the song “Cigarette” on the front page of Youtube when that was a big deal. I didn’t even know Tyler was in a band at that time, but when Perez Hilton posted the video for “This Winter I Retire” he shyly asked me for some help navigating the barrage of emails he was getting from around the world. I instantly fell in love with the band and thus we began our journey together. Last year we put out the band’s 4th full length album “hawaiii” which spawned the hit “I Love You”. Weird fact, Nikki Sixx is a fan of that song.
Jeremy Fisher: Highschool, Uh-Oh (feat. Serena Ryder)
Jeremy and I have known each other since we were about 7 or 8 years old. We grew up together in the West end of Hamilton, Ontario Canada, even playing together in a cover band towards the tail end of high school. Jeremy came to me one day and told me he was heading out of town on his bicycle and literally gave away most of his worldly possessions. He set out on a life journey that would take his across North America a few times, living a nomadic lifestyle. He eventually settled in Seattle and started making folky music and we stayed in touch. He sent me some demos to my office in Montreal at Aquarius Records where I was the A&R guy. The song “Highschool” jumped out at me and I decided I was going to manage him. I left Aquarius and we began a a wonderfully rewarding working and personal friendship that has endured so many ups and downs. For over a decade we have been co-conspirators, carefully navigating our way through the ever changing music business. “Uh-Oh” is a fun commentary on the current political scandals we see cropping up every day.
Rah Rah: The Poet’s Dead, Art & A Wife, Prairie Girl
Rah Rah came to us via our favourite publicist Julie at Freshly Pressed PR. She had been working with them for a while and thought we might be able to help them take the next steps in their career. Their previous records had great songs, although I felt they were lacking a little bit on the production side. They were a 6 piece at the time and their records didn’t amplify their music in the same way they did live. We decided to connect them with the amazing producers Gus Van Go and Werner F who had made a punishingly loud record with a band called Priestess. The resulting album “The Poet’s Dead” finally captured their live sound on record and spawned so many great songs that we’ve decided to include 3.
Elephant Stone: Heavy Moon, Love The Sinner..
I got my nickname from playing in a funk band called Parkside Jones. One of the members of that band is a wonderful friend, Ryhna Thompson, who has a very successful career in music managing the likes of Kid Koala. She suggested Rishi and I get together as she felt that we’d get along and that I would love his music. She was right! Rishi is one of the most determined musicians I’ve ever met. He has the uncanny ability to realize whatever goals he sets for himself. While playing as a member of The Black Angels, he found himself on a bunch of Australian festivals with Beck. He decided that he was going to play sitar with Beck on Loser and if you search out the video on youtube, you will see. “Love The Sinner” was the first song that I fell in love with, although his new album “The Three Poisons” has a few that unfortunately I can’t share yet, but might be my favourites.
Hannah Georgas: The Beat Stuff, Chit Chat
Hannah came to us via Jeremy who had seen her perform in a coffee shop in Vancouver. Over the course of a couple of years, we managed to grow her career from unknown to cover of Exclaim magazine, Juno award nominee and Polaris Prize long lister.
Imaginary Cities: Ride This Out, Hummingbird
I met Stephen Carroll from the band The Weakerthans at NXNE in Toronto a few years back and he handed me an EP of a band he was managing. I drove the 45 minutes back to Hamilton and immediately told him that I would love to sign Imaginary Cities. Marti’s voice grabbed me instantly and the collaboration between her and Rusty Matyas had me hooked. We immediately went to work and managed to achieve so many milestones, including getting them the North American Pixies tour. I was in heaven watching our artists open for one of my all time faves at Massey Hall in Toronto.
The Danks: Experimental Fiction, Summer Lovin’
The Danks are a gritty 4 piece from Toronto who conjure up comparisons to The Strokes. Alec from the band also does double duty in an amazing outfit called Alvvays whose debut is coming out very soon. The lead singer’s name is Brohan, which I think is the best name I’ve ever heard. They have started working on new music and so far we’re extremely exicted.
Jon Samuel: First Transmission, The Man Who Fell To Earth Our
Jon Samuel record is one I hold very near and dear to my heart. Jon is a member of the amazing band Wintersleep and actually pitched us his record via our firstname.lastname@example.org address. I wish more people in the world would have heard this record because it’s hauntingly beautiful. If you want the whole record, email us and I will send it to you for free.
Royal Tusk: Shadow Of Love, Smoke Rings
Royal Tusk is made up of a couple of characters from the band Ten Second Epic namely Dan Carriere and Sandy MacKinnon. Gus Van Go and Werner had worked with him and while they were mixing Jeremy’s latest record, they mentioned to me that they were very high on the work they’d done with Dan. I bugged them a few times to send me some music and I eventually met with Dan and we decided to take the plunge. We’re off to a great start with the first single “Shadow of love” in Canada and hope to bring the band to the US in short order.
Well, there you have a brief snapshot of some of the artists we’ve worked with. We’ll be doing all sorts of giveaways this year so hopefully we’ve enticed you enough to become a member of the Hidden Pony family.
“Parkside” Mike Renaud