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“We will wait patiently for the muse to strike” – an Interview with Slothrust

October 20th will see the release of a new EP from Boston alt-rock band Slothrust on Dangerbird Records. I Promise features two new songs (future single “Maybe Maybe” and “Magic Glow”) and covers of Ginuwine’s “Pony” and a punky, instrumental “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”. You can pre-order/pre-save the EP by visiting this link.

”Pony” was released a few weeks ago as the lead single and the duo of principal songwriter/guitarist Leah Wellbaum and drummer Will Gorin have taken the original’s iconic beat and transformed it in their own unique way into a hard-rocking guitar anthem. The EP will also feature a 14 minute version with an extended jam and some huge guitar solos.

Slothrust will be out on tour in October and November for some shows in the US with The Front Bottoms as well as some headline shows of their own. Visit the band’s website to grab some tickets for a show near you.

We were able to catch up with Will for a chat about the new EP.

Hi! How’s everything going right now? 
Things are going well! The writers strike just ended in Hollywood which had put a full stop on my wife’s career and therefore my life as well.  But more importantly it was really cool to be part of a movement with such a national impact, showing the world that it is possible to stand up to corporate greed and these billionaire CEO’s through the power of solidarity and strong will. Also I love fall weather (even in LA) and just overall feeling optimistic about life and trying to hold on to that feeling as long as I can! 

What classic album cover art is your current mood? 
I’m gonna have to go with Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going on.  As we approach a seasonal change, embracing the cooler weather, coming out of a hot strike summer feels like a bear coming out of hibernation. Looking around to see what the heck is going on and eager to get back to regular programming.  

Your new EP I Promise is out this week. When and where did you write and record it? 
I can’t speak on when exactly Leah wrote the two new originals but If I recall she sent me over the skeleton demos in May of 2022. I believe we hit the studio in May of 2023 to record the final versions of them. It’s funny how much time can pass from a song’s conception to its release. What’s new for the listener is often old news for the artist.  

As a taster for the new EP, you just released a cover of the Ginuwine track “Pony” and there is an extended 14 minute version as well. It’s got a very different feel from the original so what drew you to the song to put your own unique spin on it?
One could say that Leah and I started playing music together in “cover” bands within our jazz/blues program in college. That developed into us taking what we learned from those classic tunes and injecting the jazz and blues elements into our recreational love of grungy rock music. So it feels only right to when covering a song as Slothrust, inject that love back into those classic genres. We also both just genuinely love to play our instruments, and loud spacey rock music is such a fun vehicle for us to explore what our instrument can do without the strict limitations “pop” music can sometimes present. 

If you could only listen to one record, what would it be?  
This is a tough question. I think I’d have to go with Cake’s Prolonging the Magic. It’s a near perfect record and for me it’s a total mood enhancer.  It’s the type of record that can pick you up on a rainy day and make a sunny day even sunnier. It’s got groove, great lyrics, impeccable bass lines, unique and satisfying vocal delivery. It doesn’t have proper guitar solos which is the only negative, but the lead guitar lines littered throughout make up for that. It’s my go to record if I’m needing a pick me up so wouldn’t want to live without this one. 

The EP also features a cover of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” – are you big fans of the movie?  
I like the movie just fine but Leah is definitely a big fan. She was into the whole musical theater world growing up. I’m more a fan of the story line and how it has influenced so much contemporary film and art but personally could do without the musical numbers.

There are two Slothrust originals songs as well – when you are getting ready to record new music, how do you balance the decision on originals vs covers (having done so many great interpretations in the past)?  
We love doing both original tunes and covers. Our lives are pretty hectic and this industry is not easy to stay afloat in. It’s really a juggling act between having the space and time to work on new material but also go on tour and do what we love the most, which is to perform (and try our best to translate that into paying our bills). We aren’t a band that likes to force creativity and we will wait patiently for the muse to strike.  Luckily Leah has proven to be quite prolific and through practices like meditation and art has become very proficient in conjuring inspiration.  Covers are a great way to flex our creative muscle in those in between times whilst waiting for the window to let the original creativity flow. 

What do you know now that you wish you could tell the 2012 version of Slothrust that were about to record “Feels Your Pain”?  
1. The metronome is not your enemy.  
2. Take more behind the scenes footage, not just for social media but also for the memories. 
3. Make sure you do whatever you need to do to fix that hiss that drives future you crazy at the beginning of “Polyamory” 

You’re out on a US Tour in October and November – what’s the one thing you can’t do without when you’re on the road?  
Easy. FOAM ROLLER. Leah and I both have chronic back problems and have tried so many things to help alleviate the pain. Foam rolling ultimately has been the biggest game changer. If we ever have to fly somewhere to start a tour the first purchase we make is a foam roller. Bring it into the venue every day and up to the hotel room every night.  

What would go on your signature pizza and what would it be called?  
Well, I just scrolled through some of my recipe notes and saw one for a “Crab Rangoon Pizza.” I’ve never made/had this but sometimes when I’m stoned and I get an idea for a recipe I just jot it down. It’s a white pizza with a Béchamel base, dollops of scallion cream cheese, lump crab meat, fried garlic and shallots, wonton strips, and drizzled with sweet and sour and hoisin sauce and garnished with spring onions. My two favorite cuisines are Chinese food and Italian so this feels right. I’ll call it “The Dim Zahh.”

What do you have planned for 2024?  
Believe it or not, 2024 marks the 10 year anniversary of our record “Of Course You Do.” We are officially old—and very excited to do some extensive touring playing that record front to back! As a band that has enough material to play a 3+ hour set it’s hard to whittle that down to 75 minutes. Lots of great songs get left behind so I’m super excited to time travel back to 2014 and rip some of these Slothrust classics again. We also hope to finish writing and recording our 6th LP in between legs of the OCYD tour. It’s gonna be a busy year!

You can find out more about Slothrust by visiting their website and follow them on Instagram and Twitter for all the latest news.

Feature Image Credit – Marcelo Mayen

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