TIDAL Rising: Slow Dancer
Slow Dancer is solo effort from Australian multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Simon Okely.
The former guitarist of Oh Mercy, a Melbourne-based band, found inspiration by listening to his parent’s R&B albums while on long drives through the countryside has since crafted a sound that not only sounds good but one that he believes ‘feels good’ as well.
His new single, “Don’t Believe,” incorporates elements of pop, country, funk and soul into a final product that is at once warm and yet also somewhat melancholic.
We caught up with Slow Dancer to get to know the young star in the making just a little bit better.
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Who is Slow Dancer? Can you please introduce yourself?
Slow Dancer is the name that I give to recordings that I make of the songs I write in my bedroom. My name is Simon Okely. I grew up in a small country town in Western Australia. I’ve been writing songs since 2013 and take pride in playing, recording and producing my own material.
Tell us a little about “Don’t Believe.” What do we get and what’s it about?
“Don’t Believe” is the first single from a new record of material coming out later this year. I’m happy for the listener to interpret and derive their own meaning and I feel it’s an important part of music as art – that it’s interpreted, not prescribed.
Who were your musical heroes growing up?
Van Morrison, Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Bjork
When and how did you first get into music?
I’ve always loved music, at least, since I can remember. I used to draw profiles of Elvis and Dolly Parton when I was 5 years old. I used to fall asleep to my alarm clock radio every night and dream about being on it. I danced to my parents Crowded House records and held the broom like a microphone stand. My musical upbringing is essentially a classic 80′s teen movie montage.
Name an album, artist or experience that changed your perspective on music?
A good friend played Dirty Three’s album Whatever You Love, You Are to me when I was 16 years old. I always felt out of place in my hometown. That record was unlike anything I had heard before. It became a whole new way of interpreting the world – one I didn’t know existed. It is rough, unconventional, and achingly beautiful. It features instruments I’d heard before, but played like I had never imagined they could be. It provided me with many of the principals I take into my art now.
What’s the best new song you recently discovered?
Olympia’s “Fishing Knots / Blood Vessels” has helped me immeasurably recently. As has Margaret Glaspy’s “Memory Street.”
Can you share a fun fact about you or your music?
I write a lot of material whilst sitting on the toilet. It’s not weird, Hendrix did it. Everyone should try it. Take a guitar to the toilet some time.
What’s your favorite activity besides music?
Cycling or running. I like to go as far as my body will allow.
What’s coming next for you?
I’m heading to the US in March, and also to the UK. I really like traveling, and feel privileged to travel with my songs.
Looking one year ahead, where would you like to see yourself?
I don’t think far beyond the here and now to be honest. I am ambitious and hard working, but I find placing expectations on or planning goals for my work doesn’t really resonate with me. I have no idea where I may be in one year, but I hope I will remain ambitious, and hard-working.
And finally, if your music was a car what would it be? Please describe
If my music was a car it would be a Toyota Prius; smooth yet unconventional. Luxurious but with a working class heritage. Room for the whole family to get into yet intimate enough for just one.
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