Ian MacPherson

Ian MacPherson

Little Village Records / The Go-Go Radio Magic Show

I was born and raised in Montreal, QC. I originally studied Graphic Design but preferred working in a record store. I studied cabinet-making and eventually worked as a carpenter, first for film and aerospace and then for residential renovations. The Go-Go Radio Magic Show was a constant throughout those years and kept me connected to my love for music. In 2006 I was shot in the chest with a finishing nail gun. The nail missed my heart but punctured a lung. While recovering I met Paul who asked me to join the Go-Go Radio Magic Show. A year to the day of my accident,  I won a car from Tim Hortons. I don’t drive. It was around this time that I started to think about taking agency in what I wanted to do. In 2022, I stepped out of carpentry to start Little Village Records.

Where are you based?

I am based in Montreal, QC, Canada. 

Where do you work? What do you do?

I have recently started an independent record label called Little Village Records. I also co-host a weekly college radio show… The Go-Go Radio Magic Show. 

Little Village Records released its debut 7” / digital single last year by a local collaboration between Hannah Lewis and Roy Vucino, called Leather Rose. The label is currently working on releasing the debut full length album by Montreal’s The Wesleys in 2024. Over the last 17 years I have co-hosted The Go Go Radio Magic Show on CJLO 1690AM / www.cjlo.com. The Go-Go Radio Magic Show (GGRMS) is a two hour eclectic mix of music with a focus on Montreal’s diverse music scenes, and features interviews with local and international artists, as well as hosting  live sessions.The content is curated by myself and my co-host, show founder Paul Brown.

What are you listening to?

On the radio show side…I am currently listening to the deluxe archival release from Supreme Echo!, which compiles music from 1981-1983 by Quebec’s first all-women punk group, Blue Oil. It was sent to GGRMS recently (music in the mail is the best mail), and we will be speaking with Manon Fatter from the band about the Montreal punk/new wave scene in the early eighties, as well as the archival release for a future episode. I’ve been listening to Montreal’s Night Lunch (Mothland Records), they recently opened for the Brian Jonestown Massacre and wet the appetite for their new album, “Fire In The Rose Garden”. I’ve been digging a  live session that Last Waltzon came in and recorded for GGRMS, as well as sessions by SHUNK and Steel Saddle (all coming soon to GGRMS). “Broken Blossom Threats” by Helpful People has been pulling the heartstrings with distortion and ennui.  “Jonathan Says” EP by The Wind-Ups, again wetting the appetite for the sophomore Wind-Ups album (Mt.St.MTN. Records) “Outside Voices” EP by The Wesleys, ( So proud to be releasing their debut next year!) and  “Good Living Is Coming For You” by Sweeping Promises (Sub Pop). 

As far as what I’m listening to in regards to Little Village Records, I am quite obsessed with two raw mixes from the Wesleys forthcoming album. These songs have played endlessly in my headphones on walks or doing the dishes, reminders of what to look forward to not too far down the road. I can’t wait for people to hear them. 

How do you discover new music?

In high school a math teacher paired me up with another class mate so he could tutor me. Instead, he slipped me a copy of the Pixies’ Bossa Nova album and blew my suburban world open. That feeling of discovery became a pretty profound influence on the music I would listen to moving forward. The reaction to sound is something I still look for on a weekly basis.

One of my first jobs was working at Sam The Record Man. This was the pre-digital age, so among like-minded people, our conversations were shaped around what we were listening to and what we would recommend. It was so easy to rummage through the store’s display cases and just pick something that called out to you… whether it was the cover, the band’s name… or maybe something harder to define. In hindsight it was such a privilege to be able to discover something out of pure curiosity.

 Twenty years later and I still have a network of friends who still consume and discuss music and the ritual of exchanging recommendations continues. 

Since joining the GGRMS I sometimes look to music blogs for direction to new musical discoveries. Raven Sings The Blues solidly influenced our playlists for over a decade. If you can find that taste-maker blogger, for whom you respect their aesthetic or taste, as a music fan, that can be just as rewarding as finding a new favourite band. We also benefit, twenty years in, to have developed a social network that now feeds us new music and opportunities, through promotions from record labels, publicists and independent band’s etc. We receive more music than we can keep up with.

 My favourite way to discover new music is by going out and seeing live music. L’esco, Quai des Brumes and Turbo Haus are all great examples of smaller local venues that provide spaces for local talent to play. Montreal is rich in and diverse in that regard, with amazing local bands playing venues, DIY spaces and festivals big and small, all year round. For every major international Festival like The Montreal Jazz Fest… you can find a Distortion Fest or Taverne Tour. While Pop Montreal and Osheaga have grown into bigger celebrations, Suoni Il Popolo remains focused on underground and emerging artists. A  more simple answer I guess would be Montreal, the city itself is a great outlet for discovering new music.   

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Services? Why?

Of all the formats I think the only one that is dead as far as the way I consume music is the CD. I haven’t had a CD player in years, and my latest computer didn’t come with a drive. I buy vinyl, my collection is small and mostly consists of LP’s I have bought at shows. Cassettes were probably the first way I consumed music as a kid in the mid-eighties. I have started collecting cassettes again, most of them bought at shows as a keepsake. I don’t have a means to play them, however in this day and age they usually come with a download code or I have already bought the digital release. The re-emergence of the cassette by younger artists as an affordable way to have a physical artefact to sell at shows has transformed the medium. Limited editions with silkscreened artwork or unique slip cases and coloured cassettes have beckoned me from the merch table. I imagine the physical object and analog mechanics of the cassette are appealing to younger generations that grew up in the digital age. I’ve realised the value of cassettes as a medium in 2023, as Little Village starts to consider different options for future releases.    

I still buy music on a weekly basis. I buy mostly digital. I program The Go-Go Radio Magic Show digitally as well. I prefer to have a purchased copy to listen to on whatever device I’m plugged into, rather than continually streaming from a service such as Apple or Spotify.  Although the option of listening to almost anything at any time through a streaming service is interesting, I don’t like that feeling of having to be tethered to the internet and the streaming companies don’t necessarily have both feet in the underground. Buying from Bandcamp would be a priority as far as my digital library, and with their Bandcamp Fridays (Bandcamp waves it’s fees and all the money goes to the artist) is the closest you can get to a virtual merch table.

 My experience so far with Little Village Records and its first release is that more people have streamed the songs than have bought them, whether it be the beautiful 7” vinyl single or the MP3. I’m not precious about which format I prefer, but ultimately I like to break in a new album while walking through the city, so the convenience of digital music takes priority. The privilege of putting on a vinyl LP and listening to it in its entirety doesn’t come often enough.

“Although it’s my most digested format, digital music is not sexy. If you only consume digital music, I think the connection between the listener and an album as an artefact is lost.”

Where do you do most of your music listening?

I move through most days of the week with headphones on. I do my best listening while in movement, so most of my listening happens while walking around the streets of Montreal. There’s something really special about listening to music while in motion, whether it’s on foot, in a car or a train.

How do you find and listen to pre-release music?

Both with GGRMS and Little Village Records I’ve been fortunate to be sent early links to listen to yet-to-be-released albums. Album rollouts can take months, from announcement to release, I think a  slow release of singles is more intriguing than early access listening parties.

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?

Although it’s my most digested format, digital music is not sexy. If you only consume digital music, I think the connection between the listener and an album as an artefact is lost. Sometimes when buying digital singles prior to an album release, it’s a pain to consolidate them all in the right order with the right artwork etc…

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?

Every week for the last 17 years I have made a playlist for GGRMS (my radio show). I noticed a while back that whatever music I programmed into a playlist for the show, served as a bit of a menu for what I will backtrack and check out more thoroughly. There’s also got to be a little bit of chaos. Stumbling upon the lost song or the nearly forgotten ones within a vast digital library can be the highlight of any given playlist. 

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Do you tip other people off to new music? How?

Every week Paul and I curate two hours of radio magic.

I’d say it’s 75% new music. I’d argue that the other 25% is probably new to the listener as well. 

Anything you want to “promote”?

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