There is very little information to be known about the man behind Slow Magic, aside from his status as a masterful DJ and his obvious preference to remain faceless by wearing his signature tribal mask. Equal parts animal and rainbows, the image presents a coinciding art form to his already stellar repertoire of carefully-produced music. When asked what his real name was and where he was originally from, Slow Magic kindly explained why he never bothers with such details.
“Not to sound rude about it, but the reason I wanted it to be this way from the start was that so people get focused on the music before they focus on a state or a location or a story,” he says. “I wanted to challenge the way music could be presented. I’m not the first anonymous musician but it’s fun for me to try and figure out things sometimes with other bands and other musicians too.”
Not only does the anonymity appeal to Slow Magic’s performance as an artist, but it also keeps him from being pigeon-holed into specific genres of music. His own description of his music on his Facebook page is “Music by your imaginary friend,” which, as odd as it sounds, is the most accurate way to describe Slow Magic’s appeal. His songs are sweeping moments of transcendence that can carry you to sunny beaches, the mysterious outer space, or even straight to the dance floor. In essence, his fans have the rare option of doing yoga to his music or putting on one of his records to party the night away to.
The DJ otherwise known as “your imaginary friend” will be taking over Club Dada tonight with support from Chambers. When we spoke, he was in Austin gearing up for a show at The Mohawk and gave me a quick preview of what we can expect. Be prepared to see some brand new projections and a new set of drums that Slow Magic will be rocking the beat to. In his words, “Hopefully, there will be a lot of dancing. Music will be involved.”
FrontRow: What is the best concert and the worst concert you have ever been to?
Slow Magic: That’s pretty tough, so I’ll have to think about it. I guess I could just go with recently. I saw Daughter last year in Iceland and that was really, really cool. They played in an old church that was a pretty small, old church that you would see in any old city, but it was just such an emotional and great show.
But the worst, let’s see…I’m in Austin right now so I don’t know if it’s necessarily the worst concert I went to but during SXSW, I walked by what might have been some really bad shows. I don’t know. It was just a crazy environment with a lot of things going on so it’s hard to know what’s good or bad when you’re walking down the street. There’s a lot of noise, but I think that’s the beauty of it too.
FR: What was the first movie you saw in theaters?
SM: Let’s see, I think it was The Lion King, definitely. That’s a great movie, and I don’t know, I think I might have cried at one point. I was really little and it’s really sad when his dad dies. It’s a good movie. I remember I convinced my younger cousin that I sang on The Lion King soundtrack and they believed me. I convinced them that I was singing all the songs and that the actor was just talking. Little-known fact, cousins can’t be trusted.
FR: What’s the closest you have ever come to dying?
SM: It might’ve been actually another thing that happened in Texas. I was in Amarillo a few years ago playing some show and it’s quite a long story so I’ll sum it up. I ran into a homeless man who was asking for money but all I had was my dinner that I just gotten. So, I gave that to him and he kind of disappeared with the dishes from the restaurant. It was like a coffee shop we were playing at, and when he came back he was like, “Oh, I have those dishes, man.” I was like, “Okay.” It was maybe dumb on my part, but he was like, “I have them here at this place.” So, I followed him to this house. I don’t know what it was but there were drugs and stuff happening and guns. This guy who was in the house was really mad that this homeless guy brought me back and he was threatening me — it was like a blur. But I ended up getting the plates back and he didn’t actually eat the dinner, which was the weirdest part. He later admitted to me that he traded, it was a bowl of chili, he traded the bowl of chili for a prostitute.
FR: If you could choose any decade to live in, which would it be?
SM: That’s tough, because I think living right now is the only reason that I am getting to do the things I get to do. But I think for music, it would be really cool to be in a different decade. Like jazz. I guess jazz spans a lot of decades, but to be back in the 50’s or 60’s just to see a lot of jazz musicians. I’m not too good at the decades or knowing when jazz musicians were. Or the Beach Boys when they were the best, so probably 60’s or 70’s too.
FR: What was your favorite toy as a kid?
SM: It sounds kind of typical, probably, but I think the things that interested me the most even when I was really young were instruments. But they were still toys, I think, to me. We had the Casio keyboard and we had a really cool Yamaha kids’ keyboard, which they make them a lot nicer these days at Wal-Mart. But yeah, I still have that one and I still use it to record. I think it’s fun just to have that nostalgia on stuff. Later on I got a drum set for Christmas, but they ended up being toys to me and they were better than just playing with G.I. Joes, I guess for my career at least. Even sounds on the keyboard I grew up playing make their way into the music I make now.
FR: Should the United States adopt a national healthcare system similar to the United Kingdom or Canada?
SM: I don’t know too much about all that stuff, but it seems like a pretty good idea. I’m never really into politics even though this is obviously more important than just politics. If someone is sick, they should be able to get helped even if they can’t afford it. That’s pretty simple, I think.
FR: If global warming melted the ice caps covering 90 percent of the known world with water, what city would you hope was spared so you could live there?
SM: According to that, this might be unlikely but, definitely Iceland. Reykjavík is my favorite place. It would be sad because the rest of the world is nice too, but I think a good amount of art and music would survive through that up there.
FR: If you could change one law — make something that is illegal legal, or something legal illegal — what would it be?
SM: It sounds sort of loaded. Well I don’t’ really do any drugs so I would have to pick, um, okay, here it is. I would make speed traps illegal. Mostly because I got a speeding ticket on my birthday yesterday coming here to Austin. But yeah, I get pulled over a lot for not speeding as well. I don’t know what it is. Probably because I wear a mask all the time. I’ll let you decide if that’s true or not.
FR: If you weren’t playing music and had the talent and circumstances to do anything else, what would it be?
SM: I think it would still have to be something related to art, like visual art or photography or film-making. I’m sort of interested in all of that still, but I think they all go together so well that it’s hard to pick one out. I don’t know, I guess it would be one of those. I can’t imagine not creating something. That’s the most fulfilling thing for me.
FR: What’s on your playlist right now?
SM: This new record by this band Rhye, that’s my all-time favorite new thing. It’s really, really good. Also I’ve been going back to Kings of Convenience non-stop, they’re really good. I like listening to electronic music a lot but I also like music that wouldn’t be in the same genre that I might play. That’s more inspiring for my music is the other kinds of music.