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December 2020 / January 2021

Getting to know... Slow Pulp

Introduce yourself to these lovely Chicago newcomers. 
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Published: 8:50 pm, October 29, 2020 Photos: Alec Basse.
Getting to know... Slow Pulp

In their not-super-long-released album 'Moveys', Chicago-based foursome Slow Pulp have weaved one of the most warm and charming debuts you'll hear this side of the summer months. Packed full of the ups and downs of life, the record came into being following Emily Massey's (vocals/guitar) diagnosis with Lyme disease, her parents' involvement in a severe car crash, and - of course - the outbreak of a pretty all-consuming pandemic. Ber-limey.

Hi Emily! How's it going? What are you up to today?

It's going pretty well! It was a beautiful day yesterday, and I ran around in these woods near Chicago, saw a lot of deer! Today we practised, and then I took a nap. Can't complain!

Congrats on releasing your debut album, it's really lovely - how did you find putting it out into the world?

Thank you so much! It has been so nice to go through the album cycle. It is our first time releasing an album, so a lot of things are new and fresh. I'm sure it would have looked a lot different if the pandemic wasn't happening. I know we all would have loved to tour this record, but it has been so incredible getting a lot of positive reception from the album.

Did you do anything to celebrate?

We had a fire in Alex's backyard with a couple of friends, and popped a bottle of champagne it was really fun.

It sounds like you've been through an awful lot recently, how are you feeling? Are you ok?

We are hanging in there. The past year has definitely thrown us a couple of curveballs, but as a band, I really think we grew a lot closer, and gained more trust within each other, which feels like a really special thing to have come out of all of this.

Have the events of the past year or so changed what you thought your debut album would be?

Definitely. When we set out to make an album, we wanted it to be pretty heavy and distorted, but our songwriting process changed, and we found ourselves making music that was more emotionally driven than in the past. The textures that came out in this album really reflects that.

Is there a particular vibe you like to aim for with your music?

I haven't consciously thought of a vibe necessarily when I write. I think for this past album, I wanted the bones of the song to be able to stand on their own, with just guitar and vocals. This also allowed me to dig deeper emotionally, and I felt my songwriting to be more honest and natural than in the past. I think that's the goal, to be as honest with myself as I can be and to not overthink things. Henry, my bandmate is really good at searching for the things that serve the song, rather than forcing ideas in for the sake of doing it. I feel like I learned a lot from him while making this record.

Do songs find you, or do you usually have to find them?
Both! It really depends on the song. Sometimes, I will sit down to start working on something, and it flows out in like 30 minutes. Sometimes I'll spend hours singing trying to find the melody I want. Wish writing was always like the first way. But it can feel so rewarding to work on something for so long and to finally have the things you were looking for fall into place.

What's the biggest lesson you've taken away from your time making the album?

I personally learned how to let go of a lot. Before making this record, I was really hard on myself and had extremely low self-esteem as a result. It was like I couldn't let myself fail, which prevented me from even creating in the first place. But I learned to trust and believe in myself. So much change happened so quickly throughout the past year, I felt that I was able to adapt to things better, and to let things flow off my back more. I'm still learning so much and always will be, but I think I am better at not getting in my own way.

Can you listen back to the record yourself? How does it feel, hearing your own music?

For a while, right after we finished the record when I listened to the album, it felt like I was listening to someone else's music. It was so strange. Like I knew that it was my voice and my lyrics, but I felt so removed from it. I think it was such a whirlwind at the end of making the record, that I sort of blacked out to get through it. I had a lot on my plate personally at that time taking care of my parents after their car accident, and recording in the time in between. I didn't listen to it for a long time, but now when I hear it since it has come out, I feel like I have reconnected to it and put myself back into it, which feels really nice. I think we are all really proud of it.

What's your favourite thing about being a musician?

So many things. I love my bandmates and getting to play with them live, and even just rehearsing in our little practice space. I love writing now, and that moment that you realize you like the thing you just made.

What are your hopes for 2021?

Our plan is to make another album, which we are all excited about! Touring would be great if it is a safe and viable option. And I would love time off to take some sort of vacation to nap a lot and sit in sunshine, haha.

Slow Pulp's debut album 'Moveys' is out now.

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