The early 2010’s was quite a vibrant time for electronic music, particularly with the commercial rise of EDM as its wave also led to genres such as Trap (the Flosstradamus type), Future Bass and Electronic forms of Hip Hop associated with the tide. This was stage where the mainstream was exceptionally openhearted to what electronica can offer, so much so that I even heard an ‘experimental’ electronic track with no traceable influence in a National Geographical commercial. “Corvette Cassette” was its name, my first ever encounter with the fascinating soundscape of Slow Magic.
Shimmering synths and a wide array of vibrant percussion are some of the characteristics which best identify his music. Although something which can’t be identified - is his real-world identity. He tells folks ‘Slow Magic’ is essentially “Music made by your imaginary friend” and this allows the music to come from an unknown yet familiar place. His brand of electronica unifies elements of Future Bass, Classical, Trap, and occasionally House. We caught up with the U.S. based producer and he ‘unmasked’ some of the details around his latest EP “Closer 2 U”, and we get a sense of the childhood of our imaginary friend.
It may come across as quite a shock for those who didn’t know that you studied jazz considering the music you currently make. What was it about electronic music that initially grabbed your attention, to the point where you decided to pursue a career within Electronica instead of Jazz?
I learned jazz in high school thanks to a very great band teacher and program that really made me appreciate the genre. At the same time, I was playing drums in hardcore / punk / ska / experimental math / really whatever music I could play with friends. I think that I had a deep interest in a lot of types of music all at once and when I decided to think of music more seriously I was drawn to making music by myself on the computer.
Since your parents were both creative, in which way(s) do you think this impacted your interests and hobbies during your childhood?
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My mom is a visual artist and my dad is a musician and they both were very supportive of any interest I had growing up, art or not art. I had access to various musical instruments at a super young age so I think I was naturally drawn to making sounds and playing around with music.
Something I really adore about each of your full-length projects is how you introduce a new aspect to your sound each time. Although I'm curious to hear your thoughts and strategies towards continuously evolving your sound without polarizing your audience.
Good point. I think it’s natural for an artist to grow and change on each project, but to what extent? If I just kept adding a new element each album, eventually it would sound terrible and there would be too much going on. I strive to always grow and learn as an artist but also to always remember the simple and pure aspects that were a part of the beginning of my music. I’m still learning to always stay true to myself and not think too much about what anyone else thinks.
Out of all the four tracks on the upcoming EP Closer 2 U, what were the intentions behind selecting "Somewhere" and "Closer 2 U" as the lead singles?
Both songs mean a lot to me and made the most sense to put out first because of the collaborative aspects and the vocal inclusions. I don’t have much of a creative reason, sometimes you just put your best foot forward. I also am really proud of the two instrumental tracks that are coming out with the EP release.
How does the Closer 2 U EP fit into the grand narrative of your new album coming out It’s the End of the World, But It’s Okay? And what kind of space are you wanting to put people in after they've experienced it?
"Closer 2 U" represents the desire to be closer to someone when you physically cannot be. Obviously, a lot of people in the world right now are separated from their friends and their loved ones. I want people to realize that it may feel like the end of the world right now but we are going to get through this together.
In your opinion what are some of the key elements that produce the best collab relationship between artists?
Honestly, it can be as simple as just having a willingness to try new things and trust the other person. The collabs that are easiest for me are the ones where I just let go control a little bit and go with the flow.
You've mentioned that part of the reason you keep a low profile and conceal your identity is so that the music can come from an unknown place/face. Have you actually encountered moments where hiding your identity has some issues, and how have you dealt with these situations?
I really can’t think of any real big issues or moments in particular. Sometimes the logistics of having to hide my face in a photo or something is more of what I deal with. Overall, I’d say the anonymity provides more rewards than challenges.
What are some of the things that you were previously putting off, that you started to finally work on when the lockdown hit?
Depression and anxiety! I had been slacking on those for a bit but I’ve finally had more time to really focus on them. But in all seriousness, some things I had been working on before the lockdown that I’ve been striving to keep up with are meditating, eating healthy, and going on long walks.
Bad recommendations/advice which you commonly hear when it comes to music production?
“You have to make everything yourself, sampling is not original, and if you don’t record your own flute samples you aren’t a real producer.” Maybe I haven’t heard this direct quote, but the best producers will do what it takes to make the best song. Sometimes that means using splice, or a sample from a record, or sometimes it means recording it all yourself. Just follow your instinct and your heart.
Okay so, 1) an artist/band you’d love to have a D.M.C (deep meaningful conversion) with 2) an artist you think would be rad to party with 3) an artist you would love to spend a week within the studio. You’re welcome to select from artists who are dead/retired.
Ohh, I’d love to have a deep meaningful conversation with Yung Lean. I’d like to party responsibly with Brian Wilson. And I’d spend a week in the studio with Aphex Twin.