Q&A with Slow Dancer

Australian-native multi-instrumentalist Simon Okely of Slow Dancer talked with Christian Triunfo of WRBB about his musical influences, the future of his music, and Tesla’s. Catch Slow Dancer open up for Margaret Glaspy at The Sinclair THIS THURSDAY, September 21, 2017. Tickets on sale here.


Listen to Slow Dancer’s In A Mood here:

What are some of your earliest memories of music, first artists/albums/etc., that made an impact on you?

My grandmother made me a cassette of Elvis Presley’s greatest hits when I was about 5 years old. It’s responsible for my irrepressible love for music.

How would you compare your experience as a solo artist to your time in Oh Mercy?

Like apples and oranges is how I’d compare it. Both fruit, but different flavours for sure. I learnt so much about life being in that band. I still use those teachings in my career to this day.

Your album is titled In a Mood – did you find yourself in any sort of particular mood or state of mind while creating this project?

You know when you do a whole bunch of things to get ready for a big planned social event only to have it canceled an hour before it was to take place? After the disappointment dissipates, you have this feeling of “I could do absolutely anything I want to do right now”. That’s kinda the mood I had on this record.

How often do you look back at your influences while you write your songs, and who would you consider to be your biggest influences?

I am a very impressionable person musically and I do listen to heaps of music when I write and mix my records. Some recordings just have this power over me. Asteral Weeks by Van Morrison is an example. Kind of Blue by Miles Davis is another.

Apart from musical influences, do you find your inspiration from any other sources? Any favorite authors, poets, filmmakers?

Just walking down to the shops can be an inspiration to a person like me. But yes I read and listen to a lot of essays and lectures in Ancient Greek philosophy.

Why did you choose the name Slow Dancer?

I wrote a song called “Please” on my first record Surrender. It’s an instruction manual on how to slow dance and the name just twigged.

What is your perspective on the music journalism community? Do you think there is validity in the objective analysis of music?

What we are really getting at here is: is good art really a subjective experience? I think the answer is no, I think there is good and bad art. I think good artists are often good because of their capacity to know what is good and bad. And yes, there is validity in an attempt to name the amount of good/merit in art. Great music journalism goes beyond the good and the bad and actually educates and inspires its readers.

Where do you see your music heading in the future?

Hopefully to the top of the charts. I’m in this for the money. My children will need Teslas.

If you had to be doing something other than music, what would it be?

I work in homelessness when I’m not on the road. It works out a part of my brain that sometimes goes to sleep on the road so I’m blessed for the balance.

As an Australian, do you have a favorite Rugby team?

Hahaha… no, watching the odd Professional cycling race is about as close to being a ‘sports guy’ as I get. Very un-Australian.

Finally, what advice would you give an aspiring musician?

Don’t do it. You are probably more talented than me, and as previously mentioned, my kids will need Tesla’s, so stay off my turf. (Or come at me, music is awesome).