This is a continuing series of interviews in which musicians talk about food, and chefs talk about music. One of Canada’s national treasures, Sloan are now in their 15th year as a band and have just released their eighth album, the 30-track Never Hear the End of It. Through hits, misses, appearances in various Don McKellar projects, and the kind of record company woes that would kill most groups, Sloan have maintained the same lineup throughout, and all four members share writing and singing duties. Andrew Scott spends most of his time behind the drums, but also knows his way around the guitar and Fender Rhodes. He is also an accomplished painter and, as you’ll soon read, quite the epicurean.
Sound Bites: Did any food in particular fuel the making of Never Hear the End of It?
Andrew Scott: Nothing great – mainly bad coffees and Portuguese “club sandwiches” from this place called Nova Era Bakery down the road from our space. The surliest service in town.
SB: Who is the best cook in the band?
AS: I’m going to have to nominate myself although I’ve never tasted the others cooking.
SB: Who is the most finicky eater?
SB: According to Wikipedia, Jay’s favorite food is shrimp. [This has since been removed from Jay’s entry – Ed] Can you confirm? What is yours?
AS: I doubt Jay has ever had a shrimp. As far as I know his favorite food is French Fries or steak – “well done.” Mine would be cassoulet soup, made with my own goose stock and real goose meat and really good cured sausage; not to mention beans that do not come from a can, dry white wine, tons of fresh thyme, shallots and, the most important thing of all, butter. Pretty yummy in the winter.
SB: Is there a city you look forward to playing… for the food?
AS: Any city in Japan because it is all so good – or Spain for the same reasons, but add the coffee. Japan has some work to do in that department. Then again, Spain has no sushi infrastructure as yet…should i go on?
SB: Any good food-related band anecdotes?
AS: Not really – our band has generally treated food and eating as a way to go off on one’s own for a while. Until recently. We’ve started to venture to a good restaurant now and then as a group and it sits better when someone, inevitably me, will look to Mike (Nelson, Sloan’s manager) and suggest we “band it.” We’ve had many a fine bottle of wine on the Sloan tab.
SB: Which city has better bagels: NYC or Montreal?
SB: What is your hangover food of choice?
AS: Bacon and eggs.
SB: You’re a dad now. What do your kids refuse to eat?
AS: Quite a bit but, to their credit, they have both expanded their horizons somewhat. For the longest time anything green – naturally – is shunned, however every new meal is just that. They are pretty easy to feed these days. They just eat whatever we eat. A lot of salmon or pastas with pancetta. Lots of lollipops, cookies and popsicles.
SB: You’ve been living in Toronto for some time now. Are there any advantages, culinarily, to living there as opposed to Halifax?
AS: I never had a relationship with food when I lived there last but the benefits of living in Toronto are so many. Really fresh ingredients are everywhere – organic markets, butchers, dairies, produce and fish…etc. Halifax, one would think, has great seafood but, really, all the best fish is shipped here and to other big cities. They get left with a pretty unfortunate selection. You have to get out to the country to get the best fish I think.
SB: You were in a rap band in college called Oreos in Reverse. What’s your favorite cookie?
AS: My wife Fiona makes this one which is like a folk art chocolate chip cookie with demerara molasses sugar…mmmmmmm…