Jamie McCue is a gardener in a metaphorical and practical sense of the word.
Metaphorically speaking, McCue tends to an internet-based community garden called Silent Season Recordings. It’s a deep, moist swath of bandwidth that grows luxuriant electronic fruits and rhythms dripping off plants (aka music producers) from around the globe. McCue’s garden is respected and admired. Folks from near and far line up to purchase the melodic harvest of electronica in the form of downloadable music files, Compact Discs and vinyl. The plants in his virtual garden are always healthy, his produce sells out quickly.
Step back to earth, McCue tends to his gardens of human networks and his family’s massive flower and veggie commons. He is both a real-life gardener. At one time he even had chickens and fruit trees. But besides his backyard tendencies, McCue is a man who cultivates friendships, networks and citizen collectives. (See: @comoxvalleybuzz @CVWebposse @architexture)
It’s with great pleasure I interviewed McCue this week about his job as CEO of Silent Season Recordings. He started the boutique, electronic music label in 2007 and it’s been blooming ever since. What was once a hobby and passion project now is self-sufficient, bringing in a modest income. Silent Season’s modus operandi is simple: seek out deep techno reflective of the landscapes McCue loves best: the verdant rainforests of Vancouver Island. All the while, he’s built relationships with music producers and released their work to the rest of the world to much acclaim (Silent Season was dubbed Label of the Month by EDM bible Resident Advisor). Being chief curator of Silent Season is quite an undertaking. It involves a lot of time, energy and focus. Quite similar to gardening, really.
Click on the jump below to learn more about Jamie McCue and his f*#king awesome job at Silent Season.
Jamie McCue – Curator & Designer, Silent Season Recordings, Vancouver Island
So how did you get that f*#king awesome job? Can you describe what your job is and what it is that you do?
My name is Jamie and I’m a curator, creative director and designer of a music label called Silent Season recordings. Silent Season is a music label influenced by the natural surroundings in British Columbia. The inspiration for the label grew out of the connection between deep ethereal music and the rainforests of Vancouver Island. A soundtrack to some of the most radiant and aural beauty in the world.
I distribute music through high quality downloads, short run CDs and limited vinyl, using recycled materials when possible. While it’s not my day job it’s grown from a small side project into a part time paid gig. While I hesitate to call it Job because it’s way for fun than what we typically imagine a job to be.
Did you have to give anything up to get here?
I didn’t have to give anything major up mostly a bunch of late nights and assembling cds and records on weekends. I’d do it for fun anyway so it’s all good. I guess
Who or what has been your mentor/inspiration along the way?
The internet and specifically social media have been an inspiration along the way as connecting with fans around the world makes it worthwhile. Receiving kind notes of support and encouragement inspire me to keep going. For a mentor I guess there are a few other labels I look up to and admire such as Dischord Records records run by Ian MacKaye of Fugazi. He’s been involved with music his whole life and it pays the bills.
In three words or less, what’s the best part of your job?
People, music, designing
In three words or less, what’s the worst part of your job?
Canada Post shipping
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I had no idea because public internet didn’t exist yet. Once it became more widely available in around 1996 I fell in love with web design. I became a self-taught web designer and all these years later still love doing it. Everyday is a learning experience.
What is your drink of choice?
I love coffee, the first one in the morning is always the best. Oso Negro coffee from Nelson is my favorite. Same can be said for the deliciousness of the first cold beer after work. My beer of choice would have to be Fat Tug by Driftwood Brewing in Victoria.
Where was the last place you travelled?
The last place I travelled was to Drumheller Alberta for a family reunion. We also met up with you (Miranda) which was awesome! The prairies and big skies were beautiful. Then dropping down into the Badlands was pretty stunning! So many fun places to explore.
What’s on your playlist right now?
My playlist right now is:
Alex Humann – Dawn on Dewtone Recordings
Purl – Stillpoint on Silent Season
King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown
What are your top three reads vis a vis your career (books, magazines, manuals, podcasts)?
My top 3 reads are:
A List Apart is a great resource for web design
Brain Pickings for Sunday morning inspiration
Bon Appétit magazine because I love food
Any advice for someone who’s looking to lock down their f*#king awesome job?
Never stop learning, become an expert in whatever it is you’re doing. Research, read, write, share all that you learn. Be humble and empathetic. Don’t be a dick!
What does the future behold for your f*#king awesome job?
I’ll continue to grow Silent Season, keep building and learning new things. Keep trying new things and not get complacent.
I want to insert a HUGE caveat here AND now. I did not come up with this column name, my favourite, now deceased magazine – Readymade – did. It was one of my favourite columns in the DIY mag. I hope to emulate their ethos here (the questions are from my brain with a bit of audience testing from friends/family). As an introvert and general lover of the human race, I am inspired by people who LOVE their jobs. So I thought I would dedicate some space on the world wide web to profiling people who have f*#king awesome jobs: who they are, how they got there and what advice would they give others.