I took it upon myself to ask the source when investigating the story behind Secretly Canadian
Records. Their one founder, mister Jonathon Cargill
, was kind enough to give me the scoop:
Overall, the "story" surrounding the formation of SC is not that exciting.
It wasn't as if we were in an 80s harcore band and needed a way to release
our own records. Nor was it because labels in the area were neglecting
certain bands or styles of music. We aren't in a band, and there really
aren't other labels in the area, so everyone was being neglected equally.
Secretly Canadian began simply because we wanted to do it, it sounded like
fun, and at least for me, it had always been a dream to run my own label.
It all started in the spring of 1996. SC's two other founders, Chris Swanson
and Eric Weddle
, were at the time enrolled at Indiana University
. The two met while working at the college's radio station, WIUS. Jonathon Cargill was working as a cafeteria manager there, and Chris had a job doing dishes. Cargill and Swanson got to talking and the talk inevitably led to music and the music industry. Ideas started to form regarding starting their own label. Later, Chris talked to Eric about it and Eric was in agreement with it.
A fourth person in this formula, Ben Swanson, who was living in Fargo at the time, was brought in. He is Chris's brother. This was all around April of that year. Eventually, Eric Weddle would leave Secretly Canadian to pursue his own Family Vineyard Records.
As it would happen, the first few bands that SC had ideas about working with, didn't work out. One was local and another was from St. Louis. Then Ben sent Chris a tape of June Panic, a regular musician around the town of Fargo. The tape was Glory Hole, Panic's seventh album. It was a monster of an album, spanning 34 songs in 93 minutes.
Fast forward to the summer. Jonathon, Chris, and Ben all live in Bloomington. School was over. Eric left for Buffalo, and in the meantime the trio went to work releasing their first release, SC1 CD, aka Glory Hole.
No one really knows where the name Secretly Canadian came from...though I
think it popped out of a conversation about Carly Simon. We used to say it
was my mother's maiden name, but that joke got old real fast.
First ten released albums, from their discography:
Catalog # - Artist, Title - Format
SC01 - June Panic, Glory Hole - CD
SC02 - Songs: Ohia, One Pronunciation of Glory - 7"
SC03 - Ativin, "Modern Gang Reader" / "Larkin" - 7"
SC04 - Songs: Ohia, Songs: Ohia - CD/LP
SC05 - The Japonize Elephants, Bob's Bacon Barn - CD
SC06 - Intro to Airlift/June Panic, Intro to Airlift/June Panic - split CD
SC07 - Various Artists, The Unaccompanied Voice: An A Capella Compilation - CD
SC08 - Songs: Ohia, Hecla & Griper - CD/EP
SC09 - June Panic, The Fall of Atom: A Thesis On Entropy - CD
SC10 - Dave Fischoff, Winston Park - CD/LP
SC has released 65 albums in their 7 year tenure. For the first 4 years, Secretly Canadian was run out of a limestone house on a dead-end street. They now have a real office.
Secretly Canadian is the home to: Ativin, Danielson Famile, Dave Fischoff, Havergal, Suzanne Langille and Loren MazzaCane Connors, Don Lennon, Marmoset, June Panic, the Panoply Academy, Racebannon, Ali Robert, Scout Niblett, Songs: Ohia, Nikki Sudden and Swearing At Motorists.
Secretly Canadian Records can be found at http://www.secretlycanadian.com.
Sources: correspondence from Jonathan Cargill and discography from their website.