With our favorite imaginary friend Slow Magic’s debut album, How To Run Away, set to release next week, our anticipation builds for the world to be acquainted. His tour for the album will be hitting LA at the legendary Roxy on Friday September 12th! Scope our interview below to see why his live performances are not to be missed, and why you should be prepared for things to work out when shit seemingly hits the fan.
C+A+D: Thanks for taking the time to chat with me, man. I know how busy it can be with your album and tour coming up…well, I don’t know, but I understand.
Slow Magic: Yeah (Laughs) It’s my pleasure. This is kinda my first time releasing a record that people will listen to. Or at least I’m hoping they do!
C+A+D: I wouldn’t worry about that. But yeah, one thing that really draws me to you and live concerts in general, is your affection for percussion. What do you think it is about drums that translates so well live?
SM: I mean, I grew up messing around and teaching myself drums. I was drawn to it pretty early. But with electronic music, it’s hard to really know what’s going on on stage; or even see what’s happening. With drums it’s pretty straight forward, and I love how primitive and simple it is. It’s very visual and there is a lot of energy that can be translated with it.
C+A+D: Exactly my thoughts. You really can’t fake that energy when you’re on the drums. I know that you pride yourself on making an effort to break the barrier between crowd and performer; like how you take your drums into the crowd. I’ve been going to shows for 12 years and have never seen anyone do that. Maybe the occasional lead guitarist crowd surf. What prompted you to do that, and when was the first time?
SM: You know, it all kinda happened by accident. Even the drums being there was an accident. It was my third show, and I just had my controllers and a laptop. My soundcard went out, and it wouldn’t work.
C+A+D: Sounds like my literal nightmare. That and coming across a great white in the ocean. Tomato / tomawto
SM: (Laughs) You don’t even know…but yeah, I quickly gave my iPod to the sound guy and borrowed some floor toms from my friends who were playing that night. I busted the drum out and just played along to the songs! It ended up being really cool and energetic…I went into the middle of the crowd for pretty much the whole show. From that point on, I just had to have the drums with me.
C+A+D: Woah. Isn’t it great when things manage to work themselves out when you least expect it?
SM: I know. It’s crazy. Now it’s a staple for my shows, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
C+A+D: Are there certain artists that you’ve seen live that influenced how you wanted your show to be?
SM: I think so! It’s definitely a long list. But it’s a mix of just when I was really young, going to punk and hardcore shows. The way that the crowd was involved in those shows; the togetherness. And then you have the Flaming Lips; Daft Punk…And going to shows where there was unexpected energy was really exciting for me to be a part of.
C+A+D: Damn. So I too came from a punk/hardcore background growing up and first going to shows. The energy from those shows pretty much set the bar for how much fun that I could have at shows. I love that energy, but not the aggressiveness that came from it. Like people going around punching you in the face for no reason. Or at least I thought there was no reason haha.
SM: I know what you mean (laughs). That always sucks. Being a kid at those shows with bigger guys. But I like going to shows like that. Where you don’t know what’s going to happen on stage, and there is a little danger involved. It’s cool!
C+A+D: So “On Yr Side” was released about 2 years ago, and it still is one of my favorite tracks of yours. At what point did you decide to save it and officially release it on “How To Run Away” ?
SM: Yeah I put that up for streaming…(thinks) yeah.. a couple years ago. Wow that is a long time. But I guess it was just because of perfecting the record, finding a label, everything that goes along with that just took a long time. I hope people have the patience to let it be a part of the album. I made all of these songs in the same chunk of time; when I was in this same place in my life. So, I think they all fit together.
C+A+D: How many songs did you have to choose from before completing the final tracklist for the album?
SM: I didn’t have too many finished songs, or even close, to consider for the album. There were a couple songs that I didn’t think fit with the album, but may fit somewhere soon.
C+A+D: Understandable. I only ask because I’ve talked to other artists that like to have a bunch of songs to choose a core tracklist from. So I was wondering if you related to that process.
SM: I mean it would be cool to have a bunch of songs to choose from. I’m just particular and a perfectionist about the songs I finish. I don’t really give up on a song too easily, or just throw out a song. It’s kinda the labor of going through the motions, knowing that there’s something there, and taking the time to find it.
C+A+D: I know the concept of “How To Run Away” was the idea of leaving home and everyone you know to discover new people and ideas from around the world. Had you ever been exposed to something like that (like backpacking or traveling) that made you want to base your album off that idea? Specifically the heartbreak and love that comes with it.
SM: Unfortunately I hadn’t traveled too much before I started touring. So I think it was a place of longing to do something like that. Touring and getting to travel a lot made me realize what that’s like. That’s pretty much where the concept kinda came from. I guess it’s a balance of longing and not necessarily traveling somewhere far. I think the whole album is about leaving something good or bad behind and chasing your dreams or doing something crazy. Really whatever you want (laughs).
C+A+D: Cool cool. Yeah that whole idea of leaving what’s comfortable and going for your dreams, whatever that may be, is just so good for the soul. I’m sure a lot of people will be able to relate to that. But yeah, man. That pretty much wraps it up. I haven’t been able to give your album a rest. I’m so excited for the world to hear it. And just for your career in general. Mainly for your show in Los Angeles at the Roxy next week! Have you been there before?
SM: I haven’t! But I’ve heard about it obviously, and I’m excited to play there.
C+A+D: Yeah I saw Chet Faker there and Darkside before that. It’s a super small intimate venue with very responsive crowds. We can’t wait for it.
SM: Sounds so cool! I can’t wait either. Thanks so much for the interview and please say “hi” at the show! I’ll be around.