Published Feb 01, 2000Everything about Jon Bartlett is big. He's a big guy, well over six feet. He talks big, brimming with enthusiasm, firing ideas at you as fast as they come to him, and if they're dumb, there are a half-dozen good ones right behind it. He thinks big, always looking for one more project to try, as if his energy will diminish if he doesn't put it somewhere. And for the past seven years, Kelp Records has been the home æ a recorded diary if you will æ for that energy. On the eve of the label's anniversary, to be celebrated with Exclaim!'s ninth this month in Ottawa, Bartlett has plenty to talk about.
There's the recent success of his country band Greenfield Main (named after his Ottawa street), and their album Hunting Tips For Everyone, recently featured in Outdoor Canada magazine right between a new hook and a new fishing line. "It's the first thing I've done that the punk guy up the street and my parents both like," he laughs.
There's Rhume, the rock band where he handles vocals and high leg kicks. Rhume will soon be heading into a studio to record "a big over-the-top pop record," in French no less, to follow up their debut Snack of Choice. "Recording big rock can get boring," Bartlett claims. "I want to do a really big sounding beautiful record, which is something I've never been able to do [at home] on the digital eight-track." And in French? "It's just something I've wanted to try. It's a challenge. I'd like to do a tour of small towns in Quebec, where they've always appreciated over-the-top prog rock."
And there's his latest project, Hoffenheimer (with Greenfield Main band-mate and Recoilers bassist Rolf Klausener), a somnambulant effort whose new album, Frierer, designed to be an album to fall asleep to, was actually recorded overnight while housemates slept, in order to ensure it was quiet enough.
And for Kelp, big plans: new albums from the Recoilers, Andrew Vincent, a split seven-inch with Rhume and Detective Kalita, and more, Bartlett is thrilled to keep going. "I'm always gonna do it, whether I have no money or a lot of money. It would be great to get paid, but the reality is it's great to break even make the money back and put something else out."