We have been a pretty big fan of Slowly Slowly for a fair while now.. I'm sure we can all agree that 'Aliens' should've placed on the Hottest 100. More recently this year they have signed to UNFD, released a new single 'Alchemy', Announced an Australian Tour and are not too far off releasing their sophomore album titled "St. Leonards", not to be confused with the suburb of Sydney of the same name! Read our interview with front-man and all round cool-guy Ben Stewart.
//Can you give us a brief history of the band and releases?//
We released our debut LP "Chamomile" in 2016 and our sophomore "St. Leonards" will be available everywhere on May 11.
//How did the band originate?//
It started with Alex (bass) and I writing in our home made studio in a factory block in outer east Melbourne. We released some songs online and then realised we want to bring the songs to the stage so recruited Patrick (drums) and Albert (guitar).
//What's the first band who made you love music?//
Probably that song ‘A Whole New World’ on the Aladdin Soundtrack. I remember being 3 years old and being obsessed with it haha. Then my Dad would always listen to The Beatles, Queen and The Bee Gees around the house. All slid downhill into rock and punk when I found Blink 182 in late Primary School.
//Who inspires you to make music now?//
To be honest probably my band mates and close friends. I want them to be impressed when I bring them an idea. My writing is very autobiographical so there is always a significance tied to the content for them.
//What are some of the most important things you have learned while being together?//
To be patient and to be honest and up front. A band can be a tough slog being in each others faces all the time so to make the whole operation sustainable you need to let people breathe and live outside of the project.
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//How do you view your band now as opposed to when you started?//
The biggest change has been people who I don’t know consuming the music, which is still a strange and humbling feeling. I am so grateful to anyone who has allowed our songs into their lives.
//How did signing to UNFD come about, and how has this changed the way the band operates?//
I am at the nucleus of most of the bands administrative duties and I really enjoy it. I am very hands on with every decision, every piece of artwork, merch and post we make. UNFD are a powerhouse when it comes to planning and organisation though and so I feel now a real sense of support. They are very conscious that we have grown this little plant from a tiny seed so really just want to see us actualize our plans for the band. Such a wonderful group of people!
//What other bands on the UNFD roster do you guys rate highest?//
We love Thornhill and Dreamstate, but there is so much talent on the roster.
//What is the story behind your new song Alchemy?//
I guess it’s about grounding yourself and not letting old mental processes tie you down.
//Can you explain what went on during the writing process of St. Leonards?//
It was a deeply retrospective writing process where I really put myself under the microscope regarding some cornerstone moments of my growing up. It took a long time for me to get to a place where I could do that.
//Can you explain the recording process you went through?//
Alex and I are at the centre of all the recording. We tracked drums with help from Joel Taylor at The Black Lodge in Brunswick and then took the tracks to Salt Studios in Brighton where we chipped away at the rest of it. We shaped all of the arrangements around the stories and with the injection Patrick’s drums and Albert’s guitars we were able to create the melting pot that is "St. Leonards". The record, apart from the drums with Joel, was completely self recorded, mixed and produced by Alex and I so I feel we were able to really keep them true to their original states.
//What does this release mean to you? //
This album was a therapeutic catharsis like nothing I have ever experienced. These are stories from my life that are deeply personal and I am so thankful I was able to share them with my best friends and to create "St. Leonards".
//What does the scene mean to you?//
It is the community which has embraced us, I love being a part of something.
//If you could change one thing about the scene, what would it be?//
I would love everyone to feel supported and proud in their creative endeavors. I would probably have to say people who put others down.
//What song off this release means the most to you?//
'Song for Shae'.
//What's your favourite song to play live?//
//Why do you play music?//
To be a part of something.
//Would you encourage people watching this to start bands?//
I would encourage everyone everywhere to start a band.
//What advice do you have for new bands?//
Stay creative, be painfully confident in yourself and never give up.
//How important is it to network with other bands?//
It is the core element of being a part of a community - support your beautiful talented creative friends!