Interview: Slowly Slowly roll with the punches
Melbourne-based Slowly Slowly have just dropped a new single. We talk to Ben Stewart from the band about it:
Hi and thanks for taking the time out to speak with us at Something You Said. With impassioned vocals, there is a real honesty behind every word sung, your lyrics have a considered and poetic expression. When putting pen to paper do the words just leap out at you or is it a very slow and laborious task to reach the final cut?
The general case is that I’ll come up with a chord progression that stirs something about in my head and then record it on my phone. Then when the lightning strikes I come back to the chords and the words all tend to flow out. The timing has to be right because it always feels off when you force it. Most of the time it is after a significant event in my life or if something has been playing on my mind. There are anomalies to the rule of course and sometimes I really slave over a line or two- coffee helps.
Your single PMTWGR is a very interesting choice of title, is this a truism or tongue-in-cheek track?
Definitely a degree of tongue-in-cheek, but I think after you listen to the song the provocative title doesn’t seem in any way offensive. The context softens how jarring that line is – I mean it was meant to be indicate of something said under your breath in a moment of absolute defeat – I don’t think those moments are ever 100% thought out or deliberately offensive.
It is exceptionally hard to produce a full sound as a two-piece but you have managed pull it off. How do you split the duties in terms of writing, recording, producing and even marketing?
Live we actually rope in a few extra members who are now becoming a very permanent part of the team. Who knows what will happen, line-up wise, over the next little bit, but I know that me and Alex will always be writing music together. I write the songs and play 99% of what you here on the recordings – I also handle all band duties in terms of social media etc. Alex is the studio mind who helps me present the songs in their best light and sort the good from the bad.
Having been around the traps for 10 years now, sustaining a musical career is no easy task, how do Slowly Slowly approach it?
Just be best mates and care about each other and not get caught up in getting big musical egos or anything. I enjoy the band and I want it to be sustainable.
Melbourne is such a hot bed for indie talent and Slowly Slowly is no exception. Do you genuinely feel that city in which you both live has contributed significantly to your craft or could you see yourselves being in any State and producing the same quality tracks?
I am a big sap for Melbourne. I absolutely love it and the musical communities it holds. I would love to travel with the band and try new things, but I think distractions like that have often caused some of my favourite bands to go astray from why they were so successful in the beginning. Always want to keep that good juju running and I know I can’t go wrong with the recipe we have been cooking with for the past few years. I do bloody LOVE Tassie though.
What has been one of your memorable gigs to date and why?
Our launch for PMTWGR at The Workers Club that recently took place was absolutely bonkers. I have never played a show like that where people were screaming the words louder than I could hear through the PA. It was really something else and if you are reading this and came along, I sincerely thank you for your involvement – it made us feel like it has all been worth it.
What have you learnt from watching other great live acts that you have incorporated into your own shows?
Luca Brasi – some of the greatest and tightest musicianship I have ever seen, whilst having a very humble stage presence.
Maids – these guys interact with the audience so well and their stage banter makes me laugh when I remember it the next day. Not only a great band, but they put on a real show.
Gold Class – I really like this band hey. I love how they look like they are in their own world and they don’t care whether you’re watching or not.
If there is one festival bill you could play on (anywhere in the world) which one would it be and why?
Til The Wheels Falls Off 2017 (You fucking reading this Tyler???!)
What does the rest of 2016 have in store for you?
I am about to embark on a run of solo shows called The Lone Wolf Tour – every show has songwriters from some of my favourite bands playing solo. It was really fun to organise and I can’t believe I get to play alongside some of the amazing songwriters on the bills. After that, I am heading overseas to explore for a month or so and write some new material- then coming back to our big party at The Evelyn on August 27th to properly celebrate our album. In between now and then we are just going to roll with the punches I think and record some new songs.
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Interview by Courtney Dabb.