For years, Slow Magic has been one of the most pervasive faces, metaphorically speaking (he dons a vibrant, electroluminescent mask), in the cerebral electronica domain. With three LPs, each laden with complexity and each more accessible than its predecessor, and some of the most eminent festival bookings on the US event menu (Coachella, Electric Forest) under his belt, the producer has won over a voracious following with his quixotic strain of chilled-out, head-in-the-clouds electronic.
But there’s been a recent lull in his release log, until now. Dreams, Pt. 1 is Slow Magic’s first multi-track project to hit the streaming circuits in over a year, due to a tumultuous state of affairs with former label, Downtown Records, which he says stemmed from the imprint’s acquisition deal with mammoth recording conglomerate, Interscope/Universal. The reverie-riddled EP came to fruition, he tells Dancing Astronaut, with the help of new management partners, Milk & Honey.
The two-track Dreams, Pt. 1, the first of a three-part EP series, is a fiercely fun display of the producer’s pop-oriented bravura. Listeners hear him venture further into vocal-driven soundscapes (his first two LPs were almost entirely instrumental), with a syrupy feature from Julianne Hope on the equally effervescent and plucky “Daydream.” But make no mistake: atmospheric allure is still a fixture in Slow Magic’s sound design. Vapory synths swirl and surround the EP’s second offering, “when it rains but the sun is out too,” abetted by drawn-out, pitch-switching guitar licks. The track title’s juxtaposing nature is very much an extension of its inspiration, too.
The EP exudes both a reclaimed creative liberation and altogether newfound state of grace for the enigmatic artist. Aside from leaving Downtown Recs. in his rear view, Slow Magic got married last year, which he says was a resounding catalyst for the exceedingly sunny disposition of the new project. Dancing Astronaut had a chance to catch up with the Dreams purveyor to find out what he was striving for stylistically, some insight into his label discord, and what’s up next for the EP series.
1. Describe the atmosphere you were trying to set for this EP…
‘Dreams’ is world that is reminiscent of having a dream and the feelings associated with that. The feeling between being awake and being asleep. ‘Dreams’ also represents aspirations and lofty goals that we all strive for. My wife, Dream Angel, and I came up with the concept as a space to explore surreal visual and sonic ideas.
2. Can you provide a bit of context as to the situation stifling your ability to release recently?
Up until recently, I had been trapped in a label deal that had nearly ruined my career. The indie label I had signed to was bought out by one of the largest corporate entities in music. Also, my manager at the time had left (for unrelated personal reasons). The label wanted to control more than we had initially discussed back when I signed with them. I felt I was being strung along until they could figure out what they were doing or until I had a radio hit. I was able to break free from that situation. I found new management with Milk & Honey and started to pick up the pieces. ‘Dreams Pt. I’ comes out with a new sense of freedom I haven’t had for a while.
3. What other turning points in your life ushered inspiration for the project?
The past few years have been [exciting] and filled with a lot of big changes. Most important of them all was marrying the love of my life, Dream Angel. I’d say she is a big inspiration for creating new music.
4. What can we expect from Pt. 2, assuming from the title that a follow up is on the horizon?
Dreams will be a three-part series (6 songs total) that will release from now to the end of the year, so look forward to more music coming out consistently and other surprises along the way.
Photo Credit: Kirby Gladstein