“The sound made by an unknown imaginary friend”. That’s the most information we’ll find in any biography written on Slow Magic. An ardent producer and performer who began posting music anonymously on the internet a couple years ago, has since caught the attention of many music enthusiasts. This resulted in his first LP release for Portuguese label, Lebenstrasse Records, titled ▲, an opening spot touring with Gold Panda, and plenty of cheerful faces at his shows. Despite having his most successful year to date, it's intriguing how he has still managed to remain unidentified to the public eye.
When I found out he was willing to sit down and chit-chat with me before his performance at the 10th Annual Decibel Festival, I was delighted with the opportunity to get a glimpse of who Slow Magic is. Much like his on-stage presence (full of energy, and good vibes that radiated the entire room), off-stage he was just as charismatic, and easy going.
Check out the interview to see what our imaginary friend had to say about his mask, Iceland, and stuffed animals!
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EARMILK: Thank you so much for sitting down here with me. How’s the tour with Gold Panda going?
Slow Magic: It’s been really, really great. Gold Panda is one of my favorite muscians—or whatever you want to call him—and it’s been really scary and awesome to meet him and tour with him. I guess I only mean scary like..
EM: You were a little intimidated?
SM: ..Yeah! He’s not really that scary of a guy.
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EM: Aside from all of your touring, I know you’ve got some remixes coming up. Specifically one for another Decibel artist, Poolside. How did that come about?
SM: I’ve just been a fan of theirs for a while and Jeffrey from Poolside just gave me an email one day. I was really excited to hear from them, you know? We were just waiting to send some things back and forth, and it finally worked out. They had a new song, and I should be done with that on the tour. It’s good. I like it a lot!
EM: Oh, Great! Now touching base on the inevitable question regarding your façade. I know you’ve described the concept behind the mask as a way for people to focus on your music, but why a fox? Is there any special symbolism behind the animal that sort of moved you to make it your mascot?
SM: Well yeah, before I even had the mask I wanted it to be music by your imaginary friend and I was posting my music online just as anonymous. People wanted me to make shows and I wanted to make a mask that, kind of, could be the thing people look at. So, I had a friend of mine design a mask of an imaginary animal. It’s a mix of a lot of things. A zebra, fox, cat, anything you sort of wanted it to be. Sort of how I think I am and the music is; I want it to be owned by the person who listens to it.
EM: Right. That makes sense. I’ve tried to classify it and it’s a bit challenging. I can’t really put my finger on it. Sometimes it sounds like video game music, other times it sounds ambient. It’s eclectic, and all around great.
So with your mask, the visuals, and your set-up, which includes a mix of computer and live-drums, what do you want your audience to get out of that experience?
SM: Thank you. I just want something that I can present that feels kind of different than just listening to the record, and maybe a little more energetic and involving. I try to involve the crowd as much as I can and break the barrier between stage and audience. I want it to be an experience that we can all share and have fun doing that. It’s a lot more fun for me to play [live] than to just sit in my room and just play the songs.
EM: One thing that always stands out for me, as I mentioned it earlier, is how you’re drumming live and it’s the part [of your set-up] that is not digital. Is there anything specific you feel the live drumming does to your performance that couldn’t be met otherwise?
SM: Yeah! I think adding something organic like that is important for me, at least. It feels more fun because it takes a lot more energy for me to do. Also, people could really see what’s going on. A lot of times with computers and stuff it’s kind of a big mystery, which makes it fun too. But I think mixing those elements is something people can really see and understand like “Oh, that’s a drum, and it’s being hit”. So, it’s really just back to basics for me.
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EM: Of course. So, playing the Shine On showcase here at Neumos [venue], one of the more intimate settings from the festival, is there any way you prepare differently for a smaller show than you do for a bigger one? And does our imaginary friend have a preference?
SM: I think I approach them the same, but it is always different. When it’s big I try to treat it like it's small and when it’s small I try to treat it like it’s big, you know? I never want to change it too much. I usually try to jump into the crowd at one point and play with everyone there. I’ve played a few bigger festivals where it’s a harder to get out into the crowd, but I still try to every time so people feel it’s the same experience. But yeah, I think there’s definitely good things about both. I don’t know if I prefer one or the other. It’s always different no matter what it is and I like the variety.
EM: In all your recent travels, has there been a place, a city, or even a culture, that has influenced your music significantly?
SM: Definitely. I think there are a lot of places, but the one that comes to mind is Iceland because I got to play there for the first time last year. Just everything about is a really cool experience, from the actual land and the wilderness, to the people, music, and art there. It’s just a really, really inspiring place to think about making music and art there.
EM: Alright, and now one last question: Growing up did you have an imaginary friend?
SM: I had a lot of stuffed animals that were sort of my imaginary friends, but were real stuffed animals. Haha, they had a lot of names. I don’t know if I had one actual imaginary friend then, but now I do. His name is Slow Magic.
EM: So, this is like your imaginary friend 2.0.
SM: Hahaha, yeah!
EM: Well thanks for taking the time to do this and I can't wait for your set!
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For those of you just finding out about Slow Magic's tour with Gold Panda and realize it's almost coming to a close, hold back on your tears. You haven't missed your chance to see your imaginary friend LIVE yet. Slow Magic will continue to tour through the end of the year, hitting up both Europe and America! Check out the links below for more on Slow Magic and his tour.