How To Run Away

Slow Magic
Waited 4 U

Masked producer, Slow Magic, has emerged in the last couple years as one of the brightest talents in the flourishing, evolving genre of experimental electronic music. Remaining anonymous and keeping lyrics minimal, the young artist focuses on the sonics, masterfully proving the expressive power of an instrumental. Slow Magic’s forthcoming album, How to Run Away, which drops September 9th, has all the qualities of a breakout project with a powerful, cohesive narrative that teleports the listener to a free-spirited world through a prism of genuine emotions.

Although he generally prefers to let the music do the talking, we were lucky enough to have an inspirational chat with Slow Magic about his masked character, the emotion behind his music and his live shows (see upcoming tour dates here) among other topics. Enjoy the interview below and check out “Waited 4 U,” one of our favorites from the new album, above. How to Run Away is available on iTunes and Bandcamp now! 

TMN: Because of social media it has almost become a necessity for artists to put themselves out there and things can definitely start becoming not about the music, which makes your anonymity pretty interesting. It definitely makes sense to focus things on just the art, but what is your position on that phenomenon more broadly? 

SM: I definitely agree with that. I think there’s a lot of people who either feel forced into becoming super personal or they just want to get their face out there kind of. It can kind of turn me off to the music a little bit. Obviously, getting to know someone through their music is also really important and cool, but a lot of time that focus can take away from the art itself.

TMN: Of course there’s the element of anonymity, but the masked character definitely becomes a narrative in its own right. How do you think that fits into the music? 

SM: It started without a mask with the first few songs that I made and once I had the opportunity to play shows I had my friend develop a mask. From there, it has really grown into a character, I guess.

The character does kind of take it from anonymous to an identity, but it’s separate from me or really anything. And I like the fact that it’s itself, and it’s also me. I hope that adds to the project in that it is kind of a character and something that people can relate to even though it’s just an imaginary friend.

TMN: How was the mask developed?

SM: A friend of mine named Jonas McCluggage is a really cool illustrator. He makes all of his own clothes out of his own fabrics and kind of lives on the road. He made the first mask. One day, I was like, “Hey, I have a show and I want to make this imaginary animal.” He just used cardboard and paint and that was it. It lasted for almost two years, that one mask.

TMN: Your music has a really deep, powerful feel to it. What kind of emotions drive your work? And what do you feel it evokes in your audience?

SM: The first record was more longing and feeling a bit alone, but through the record maybe it comes through as more of a freedom and being somewhere you want to be. Sometimes I don’t even think about what the song could sound like aside from sonically, but then once I’m finished, or someone tells me, I realize, “oh yeah. that is pretty personal.” Especially the new record is more of a change just personally and a little bit sonically.

With the title, How To Run Away, it’s a little autobiographical just about the feeling of chasing a dream and trying to get closer to that dream, but you also have to run away from stuff that’s holding you back including the good stuff, like home. What I hope people can get from the record is a sense of freedom and belonging in the place that they’re running away to.

TMN: Much of your music is instrumental, with the exception of vocal samples. Does that tie in at all with the focus you have with your music?

SM: Especially the first record, I wanted it to be universal in a way that it could be from anywhere or any language. So, there’s a lot of vocal sounds but not a lot of lyrics. On the new record there’s a little bit more lyrics but it’s still mostly instrumental with subtle lyrics. I want it to be universal in a way that any one could relate to not just someone that speaks English.

TMN: You’ve also done a lot of remixes. Do you have a particular approach when you remix a song?

SM: My approach is pretty simple. If it’s a song with vocals, I’ll just take the vocals and nothing else and start from the ground up to try to build a new song with that. Most of the time I leave the vocals in tact as far as the structure of where they go and everything. I think that’s a fun challenge trying to make a whole new song. A lot of times, though, I’ll end up realizing that’s a lot of work, but I definitely like doing that. If it’s an instrumental song itself then you see what sticks out. I try with all my remixes to go opposite of the feeling or energy to kind of change the genre.

TMN: Who do you feel has influenced your sound directly or indirectly?

SM: Recently, I’ve been getting into this guy and his sister called tennyson, from Canada. They’re super cool, kind of jazz influenced. One band in particular that was friends of mine called Candy Clawsreally cool dreamy pop music. A lot of jazz and piano are what I keep coming back to. Also, my favorite record from last year is the Rhye record.

Slow Magic // Girls – Live On Tour from SneakyBoy on Vimeo.

TMN: What can fans expect from your live shows?

SM: From the start, I wanted to do something different and so I have live drums on stage, usually one or two. That’s the centerpiece of the set up. I still have a computer and a controller on the side, but I started off just with electronic stuff. Never really a DJ set, but at one of my first shows I had my computer stop working right before the show so I gave my iPod to the sound guy and borrowed a drum from the opening band. That ended up being one of my favorite shows. It was crazy and energetic. I just kind of went with it because I knew that I had to do something. From then I just kept the drums in there and it’s really evolved into more of an energetic show.

TMN: Anything else you’d like to let fans know about the album?

SM: Album’s on the way, U.S. tour coming up just after the release and working on a lot of merch right now, including maybe a mask.

TMN: Who are your favorite masked characters and/or musicians?

SM: I’ve always liked Daft Punk. I saw them in 2008. That one’s pretty obvious, but I also like in the Banksy movie how he conceals his identity. I don’t have any favorite super heroes so I guess I’m going to have to go with Daft Punk.

TMN:  If Slow Magic was a super hero who would be the nemesis?

SM: I think the nemesis would be some kind of business man who’s trying to cancel music and put a lot of taxes on concerts by day. At night, he’d be a country singer so would be kind of conflicted. I don’t know what his deal is.

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