Brooklyn indie rock band Slow Fiction self-released their self-titled debut EP in February 2023. Influenced by poets Anne Waldman, Ted Berrigan and the New York School-era as well as the spirit of early 2000s garage rock bands Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Interpol, and The Walkmen, Slow Fiction combine a mixture of their influences and personal experiences and delivers it in their own style. Having listened to their EP I took the opportunity to see the band perform at SXSW and a chat with Julia (vocals), Joseph (guitar), Paul (guitar), Ryan (bass) and Akiva (drums) after their set.
How did Slow Fiction came to be?
Ryan and I (Joseph) grew up together, and Paul and Julia grew up together. We met through mutual friends in New York.
We (Akiva continues) met through a friend of ours in the music scene in Brooklyn. He introduced me to the band – two years ago now.
We started playing in March/April of 2021. We put an ad out looking for a bass player and a drummer, and the original drummer went to school out of the country so he had to leave over the summer, and we found Akiva from there.
So Slow Fiction got together during the pandemic?
Just coming out of the pandemic. New York was finally opening up again and I think it was one of the first weeks when they were letting you go and sit inside bars in the spring of 2021. And me (Julia), Paul and Joe met up in a bar and it was so wild, just having a drink with someone. First time you could hang out and it not be outside, or only get drinks to go. It was a wild time honestly.
It kinda helped us cut our teeth a lot early on too because a lot of venues were opening up and they were looking for a lot of acts to play. There was a lot of places that wanted to have shows that hadn’t been able to. So through 2021 we spent time playing a lot of shows and we used that to hone how we played with each other and how we thought about writing songs. Take them and reiterate on them by playing them live. So that’s a huge part of how we still play and write now.
What is your song creation process? Is it collaborative? Is there one lyricist?
I (Julia) write the lyrics. I think it’s just because I have too many thoughts. So I write them down and then say: “We should do something with this” and I’ll send it along so next time we can do something with these lyrics. Or someone will come in with a part and we’ll all just start jamming on it which is so much fun. And then we’ll all just like be playing around for a while, then maybe I’ll start singing over it. And if I hear a melody that I think sounds really cool over what we are creating, maybe reading something off my phone. That is literally how we write songs. Its very funny cos it works really well. It happens so fast sometimes. Some of the best songs could be written in literally half an hour.
But that says so much doesn’t it. Its when it feels so right when it comes together quickly.
I just imagine things from what the music sounds like and then it comes really naturally. Its one of the best feelings. Its like having your favourite food or something! We’re at a point where we know what each other is going to do when we’re playing and it helps us to improvise a lot. We can have practises when nothing comes out of it but we have full jams. When you put enough time into it you eventually get the content.
Even if you don’t get something out of that particular jam it’s still building that relationship between you.
Volume is such a huge part of the creative process. Writing and playing as much as we can. I think the more you play together the more you know each other. Looking at each other during songs. Knowing what the other person is thinking. It’s really instrumental to being in a group together.
What’s next? Do you have touring plans?
It’s kind of a mix. We have a lot of new material already, a lot of demos we’re passing around. We played some of those songs tonight. We want to be able to perform those but in parallel we want to start building a team around us. Right now we’ve been doing all the management ourselves. Finding a manager, a label, a distribution, an agent and then hopefully touring later on this year as well.
For now has it just been in New York that you’ve been playing?
Mainly yes, although we did an east coast DIY tour last spring, and we ended in Nashville which was really fun and I think after that we started to focus on our cohesiveness as a group, our recording, our songwriting. For the time being we’re just going to keep on working on new material and seek out the best opportunities.
As far as your songwriting goes are there any common themes or inspirations or is it just the world around you? Where do you get the most inspiration for your song-writing from?
It’s definitely a mix of things. The way I like to think about it is everything starts from a really personal experience. And then I basically try and take myself out of the picture and think about it from a different persons perspective, or maybe just lie a little bit! I try to imagine about something happened that didn’t actually happen in my life but I wanted it to. What if that person actually did come through, when they didn’t. What would look like. Taking something that’s happened to you and changing it slightly to make the story more interesting at times. I think that’s what writing is. All writers are liars to some extent.
It’s almost like Sliding Doors. It think about what if this happened, rather than what actually happened. And what about at SXSW how many sets are you playing here?
Today is our fourth, and it’s our last set that we have planned for now.
And are there bands here that you want to see play live?
We’re looking forward to seeing Sports Team, they’re a great band. They’re a group favourite. We played live with them back in October. And I remember it was like this is the best night, it was so much fun.
Where were you playing with them? Were you supporting them?
Yeah, in New York. We were at the So Young showcase last night, saw The Goa Express there. Big fan. We played with Humour last night. We’re a huge fan of theirs as well. Every UK band that we have all been listening to we’ve been able to see here which is really amazing because any other way would take a long time.