Many are the bands that have signed to Sub Pop Records and left
for major label contracts. They serve as virtual signposts for the rise of '90s
alt-rock: Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, to name a few. Far less common is the
band with a Sub Pop deal that leaves the indie giant in hopes of finding
greener pastures at a smaller label.
Jody Bleyle, drummer for ex-Sub
Poppers Hazel, and owner and operator of Candy-Ass Records, has done just that.
Last year Bleyle and her Hazel-mates decided to jump the Sub Pop's ship
and release their next work on her own Candy-Ass label. The fruit of their
labor, a pop infected five-song EP titled Airiana, hits the streets
on July 1.
"There's a lot of people we got along with great" at Sub
Pop, Bleyle says. "We just didn't have an overall good working relationship. We
didn't feel like we really fit."
Although pushing Airiana through
Candy-Ass will naturally involve more work for the band, she says it also
affords Hazel more autonomy.
Bleyle, who also sings and plays guitar in
Team Dresch, cites touring as one arena where Hazel is happy to put in the
extra effort. "We wanted to go to Europe for a long time, and [Sub Pop]
wouldn't lend us the money for plane tickets. They didn't want to give us any
support; they didn't want us to go to Europe. Now, we put out this record on
Candy-Ass and we're just going. We just did it ourselves. There was a lot of
stuff like that, where Sub Pop would say no. And Team Dresch [who record
jointly for Candy-Ass and Donna Dresch's Chainsaw label] would be going to
Europe and doing what we wanted. [Sub Pop] would always be like, 'How can you
do that?' I'd be like, 'You just do it. You don't have to ask for
Sub Pop CEO Jonathan Poneman says he didn't care if Hazel
(whom he calls "a truly great band") went to Europe, he just didn't want his
label to foot the bill. "A number of Sub Pop bands had gone over to Europe
around that same time," he says, "and ran up staggering losses that we
Bleyle acknowledges that...