Season 1 Episode 10.5 Apr 1, 2016

Ripple Effect

Wherein we talk to Megan Jasper, Sub Pop's CEO about the podcast (meta!), Sub Pop history, Sub Pop lore, and just a little bit about pranks.

As with every episode of the Sub Pop Podcast, season one, episode "ten-point-five" is brought to life by hosts/producers Alissa Atkins and Arwen Nicks from the time out corner that does double duty as the Sub Pop Podcast studio.

Ripple Effect by John Atkins

Illustration by John Atkins

Illustration by John Atkins


Show Notes

So here we are at the actual finale of season one of the Sub Pop Podcast. Also the first “bonus” content we’ve unveiled. (Am I foreshadowing more “bonus” content in the future? Wait and find out!)

Let’s get this out of the way: This is not an April Fools’ Day joke. I repeat: This is not an April Fools’ Day joke. I repeat… nevermind. Sub Pop Records recognizes April 1, 1988 as its “day zero,” so April 1, 2016 (“today,” but highly dependent on when you read these words) is our 28th birthday/anniversary.

(The astute Sub Pop fan might be asking, “But but but but but…! Sub Pop did things way before 1988!!!1!! What gives?!” What gives is that the first lease on an actual Sub Pop office started on April 1, 1988. So that’s what we count.)

As you should know if you’re reading this, the entire episode is devoted to speaking with Megan Jasper, Sub Pop’s CEO. Let’s meet Megan through some polaroids I photographed on our office walls.

Megan Jasper, Yogi Bearclaw

Megan Jasper, Yogi Bearclaw

Sometimes we have something to celebrate around here:

Megan J, Dean W, Richard L

Megan J, Dean W, Richard L

We like working together so much, a couple times a year we do forced socializing outside of the office (participation mandatory). You can see from the photo that people don’t like it, but it’s tolerated.

Frank (Sub Pop publicity), Pete, Megan

Frank (Sub Pop publicity), Pete, Megan

Twenty eight is a bigger number than twenty five (obviously), but of course your 25th anniversary is kind of a bigger deal than your 28th. That’s why for the 28th we’re just doing mandatory karaoke (in the office; staff members only) on April 1, 2016 from 2:30 PM to 3:45 PM (kinda cool that it’s a Friday, though!) whereas for the 25th (a/k/a “The Jubilee”) we had a MAJOR blowout, basically taking over the city of Seattle for three and a half months. Or at least taking over the Georgetown neighborhood for an entire day of music, food, beer, and good vibes.

Jonathan Poneman & Megan Jasper at 25th-related event

Jonathan Poneman & Megan Jasper at 25th-related event

Some of the Sub Pop employees mentioned in this episode probably merit introductions. Jonathan (who gets mentioned a lot in the podcast) is Jonathan Poneman, co-founder, owner, and “the person (ultimately) in charge” of Sub Pop Records.

Here is Jonathan with another Jonathan, specifically Jonathan Meiburg, the brains behind Shearwater (who, by the way, have a fantastic new-ish record that is more than worth a listen). This is in Georgetown at the Jubilee.

Jonathans Meiburg and Poneman, Sub Pop Jubilee

Jonathans Meiburg and Poneman, Sub Pop Jubilee

Chris Jacobs, as is pointed out in the episode, is Sub Pop’s general manager. In the show his days as a (the?) publicist are mentioned. Which is to say, he used to do other things around here.

Here is Chris searching for the nag champa incense that someone hid under his desk as a “joke,” knowing the odor would irritate him (a prank is like a hug, though!).

Chris Jacobs

Chris Jacobs

Finally, Megan mentions Jeff Kleinsmith as someone who’s been around for a while. Jeff is Sub Pop’s art director, and has been for over 60 years.

Speaking of the Jubilee (as I have been, for some reason – April 1 just brings it out of me!), we had a pop up shop in Georgetown (Seattle neighborhood) for about a month leading up to our big one day festival. Jeff (and the rest of the art department, to be fair) designed the shop and had a Sub Pop-themed art show in the space.

Here’s Jeff with Tony (Sub Pop head of A&R, interviewed in Episode 3: Zero Money) in that shop:

Jeff Kleinsmith, Tony Kiewel, Sub Pop Pop Up, Georgetown

Jeff Kleinsmith, Tony Kiewel, Sub Pop Pop Up, Georgetown

And ex-Sub Popper Dean H (Hi, Dean!), current Sub Poppers Megan J and Jeff K, plus one of the youth engaging in “photo bombing” at the pop up shop.

Dean H, Megan, Jeff, photobomber, Jubilee Pop Up

Dean H, Megan, Jeff, photobomber, Jubilee Pop Up

Jeff has put his mark on so many album covers, posters, shirts, and EVERYthing that Sub Pop produces… the mind boggles. You’ve even seen his posters on the walls of Erlich Bachman’s house in seasons one and two of Silicon Valley (and maybe in subsequent seasons, but I can’t see into the future). Not the greatest image, but the poster that says “11100” is a Jeff Kleinsmith.

Silicon Valley, Jeff Kleinsmith poster

Silicon Valley, Jeff Kleinsmith poster

I don’t think every poster in this hallway is a Jeff Kleinsmith piece (though many of them are), but he probably decided which posters to hang here (if he didn’t, let’s just pretend he did, OK?).

a Sub Pop HQ hallway

a Sub Pop HQ hallway

That’s enough introductions for one day.

Megan mentioned two artists that were catalysts for sort of… righting the ship in the early 2000s. The Murder City Devils are one of those bands. Let’s see.

The Murder City Devils “Idle Hands” from In Name and Blood.

The Murder City Devils “Idle Hands” from In Name and Blood.

The other artist is The Shins. If you aren’t familiar with Oh, Inverted World, their first album, you owe it to yourself to check it out. Is it a perfect album? Maybe.

The Shins “New Slang” from Oh, Inverted World.

The Shins “New Slang” from Oh, Inverted World.

Near the end of the episode, I think Alissa makes a Seinfeld reference to Elaine talking about the quality of “grace.” Let’s review where that comes from. (It makes sense to talk in Seinfeld references in the show since when the podcast team must speak to each other, we communicate exlusively in Seinfeld references and phrases coined by Shakespeare. You might be surprised how far that can get you.)

Seinfeld: Elaine on grace, one.

Seinfeld: Elaine on grace, one.

Seinfeld: Elaine on grace, two.

Seinfeld: Elaine on grace, two.

OK, that’s about it. We have here a couple more John Atkins pieces that were candidates for this episode’s illustration. A bonus to the bonus, if you will.

Until season two, take care! (You might hear from us before then… keep an ear to the ground.)

Songs from this Episode

  1. Mark Lanegan - Hospital Roll Call
  2. The Afghan Whigs - You My Flower
  3. The Spinanes - Noel, Jonah and Me
  4. Codeine - Cigarette Machine
  5. Pernice Brothers - Overcome by Happiness
  6. The Spinanes - Basement Galaxy
  7. The Murder City Devils - I Want a Lot Now So Come On
  8. The Shins - Caring Is Creepy
  9. Tiny Vipers - Campfire Resemblance
  10. Sera Cahoone - Naked
  11. The Afghan Whigs - Matamoros
  12. The Afghan Whigs - These Sticks

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