We first heard about the New York band Slowlands a few months ago, or more, and have been meaning to write about them since. With a layered and oft orchestral sound sharing the forefront with well crafted lyrics, they get a lot of airplay on our iPod. Their songs lingering in our head aren't always of the dreamy variety, the band also knows how to (as the kids say) rock out. Nick Sylvester even thinks they have a song that sounds like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, but we're not making any comparisons here.
Live: Tonight @ Mercury Lounge, 10:30pm
Let's get this out of the way, where did your band name originate?
We wanted a name that was broad in scope. Something that was adaptable to a lot of things. So we decided to create a whole country. I figured we could give everybody titles/offices. Right now, I’m running for Slowlands Comptroller against Joe. I am also a big fan of Badlands, the Terrence Malick film, so it’s an homage to that of some sort.
What is your first conscious memory of living in New York?
I grew up in Long Island. So I’ve always sort of lived in the area. New York was a much scarier place when I was young. I thought of it a lot like the way Taxi Driver looks at it. Crime. Getting stabbed. Gangs. The Fox 5 News news desk. I never saw any of it. I remember really wanting to go see Starlight Express.. I saw Ed Koch once. He asked “How am I doing?” I didn’t know.
What is your favorite/least favorite memory involving New York?
Favorite: Game 7. 1986 World Series. I won tickets for the game on the radio and then yelled so much I couldn’t speak for a week afterward.
Least: Getting hustled at age 15 by some thugs after a De La Soul show. They rapped about aliens & President Clinton and then got me to give them money for their “album.” When I opened it at home, it was a Heavy D CD Single.
What is your favorite place to drink in NYC, and what's the best night to go out?
Either Hi-Fi or the Levee in Williamsburg. I think I’m still in Brownies and the jukebox is unlimited. Don’t have much of preference for nights. I would say Sunday night you will meet the strangest folks. The ones don’t have anywhere else to go.
What is your favorite/least favorite thing about playing shows in New York? Is there a difference between shows in Manhattan and Brooklyn?
My least favorite fact of playing shows in NY is the amount of stuff people in New York schedule in one night. Everyone comes to the show and then leaves to go to some bar before you’ve had a chance to talk. Not having to drive home is probably the best part. As far as a difference b/w Manhattan & Brooklyn, it really depends on the venue. I really like the more DIY venues, tends to be more people there who are real music fans.
Do you think your New York connection shows in your music? If so, how?
Sure. As a New Yorker, I think it has to. It’s just so different than anywhere else. It’s humbling to be just one of so many people in such a small area. The pace is unmatched anywhere. Buildings are so tall. That kind of stuff sneaks in. I want to do a New York record one of these days.
Now its time for some fill-in-the-blank action
“You know you’ve made it when…”
They have Chocolate Twizzlers waiting there at the club for you.
“It’ll be time to pack up the gear for good when…”
When you are sure you can do it all a-capella.
“I’ll never forget the first time I…”
Fell into the bay in February.
“I’ll never forget the first time [insert another band member’s name here]…”
Ryan lost 25 consecutive rounds of the card game, Spoons. I think he would have lost 25 more if we let him keep playing.
Let's have some fun with word association. Give me your immediate feelings on the following (if you’ve got no discernable feelings, make something up that won’t embarrass you in the morning)
A ragtag bunch of fellas I try to like
Likely will stab you
Bridge & Tunnel
I’m a Triboro bridge man, myself. So many options.
Keeps on going.
People already forgot how much this guy a year ago.
Questions inspired by movies...
If you will, a brief justification of the ontological necessity of modern man's existential dilemma (in less than 10 words). (Reality Bites)
Got to find time for sleep.
What came first, the music or the misery? (High Fidelity)
The music. I’ve never been sad yet.
A few quickies on the music tip
Who would be in your ultimate music supergroup, your all-star Olympic team of rock?
Got to consider chemistry here, that’s what wins you a gold. I’ll take the ultimate wildcards first, Neil Young & Cat Power to sing/play guitar. Peter Hook plays Bass. Maureen Tucker on drums. DJ Shadow does everything else.
What was the first/last album you bought on the day it was released?
First- Beastie Boys – Check Your Head
Last – Constantines – Tournament of Hearts
And finally...If Josh Schwartz, creator of the OC, asked your band to perform on his tv show (as Modest Mouse, the Killers and Death Cab for Cutie recently have) would you?
I’ve honestly never seen the show. Probably, No.
Slowlands play Mercury Lounge on November 22nd w/ Sound Team & Sam Champion