New Noise: Slovenlie

We chat to South London’s newest star, Slovenlie.

Far from what her stage name implies, Slovenlie is one of the most dynamic new artists out there. With her unique take on electronic music, she has already released fantastic tracks “Disaster” and “Flex”, and has followed these up with the equally incredible “Ritual”. As her haunting vocals soar over the track, it is hard not to be uplifted by the stunning record.

Since she was five, Slovenlie has had OCD and has spoken openly about her mental health issues in her music and her life. Using her music as a medium for this, her psychedelic records are inspirational and enlightening. We were lucky enough to sit down with the Peckham-based star to find out all about her.

When did you start making music?

I’ve been concocting ideas on the piano ever since I can remember. I learnt to read and write music when I was about 4 and had an obsession with writing things down properly on manuscript. When I was still super young I used to get really upset and emotional because I thought the world would run out of new music by the time I was old enough to be a proper writer.

Who are your musical influences?

My influences are grounded in classical writers like Bartok, Bruch, Warlock etc but they extend to Gershwin and even musical writer like Rogers and Hammerstein. I’m not actually a big fan of musicals, but in terms of songwriting, it’s an incredible genre to learn from. More modern influences are artists like NIN, Rage Against The Machine, Smashing Pumpkins, Soulwax, Moderat… I could be here for hours listing names. Clark, The Acid, Jon Hopkins, Four Tet, Oneohtrix. Holy Other, Luke Howard, David Douglas..

Can you tell us about your most recent track “Ritual”?

Ritual is a very personal and expressive track for me. I wrote it in a completely different way to how I normally write – starting with a drum track, recording vocals without any predetermined lyrics, using VI’s I wouldn’t usually go for – which made the process quite painful empowering. I’d also never really spoken about my mental health issues before that, so it was a big step for me to come out and be so open.

You’ve been outspoken about your issues concerning mental health. What prompted you to speak out about your OCD?

I was suffering really badly at the time, and had made the decision to seek professional help and sort myself out. Whenever I’d mentioned to people in the past about OCD I’d been met with quite a passive reaction. I don’t think people actually realise how badly it effects those who have to deal with it on a daily basis. Some people just view it as just being a little pedantic. Checking for keys, flipping light switches, cleaning obsessively; these are some of the stereotyped symptoms, and not remotely accurate to how people with the disorder actually behave.

“When I was still super young I used to get really upset and emotional because I thought the world would run out of new music by the time I was old enough to be a proper writer.”

Your songs deal with these issues straight on. Can you tell us a bit about how creating music helps you?

I actually think being a musician is what drove me to have the condition in the first place. As a kid I was in super intense musical training (as a violininst) and had to endure some fairly distressing practice techniques. One in particular was where I had to play, say, 16 bars of a piece, perfectly, 20 times in a row. If I messed up, or it wasn’t good enough, I’d have to start again. I think some of my rituals were born out of exercises like that and a overwhelming sense of stress.

Do you feel like mental health issues need to be addressed more often in the music industry?

I think they have to be dealt with more responsibly, not glorified or shamed. On one hand people who suffer are made to feel like they’re victims who are weak and vulnerable, but on the other hand artists who deal with extreme depression have in the past been celebrated for their suffering, and that’s really dangerous.

Is there any advice you can offer someone who has gone through or going through the same as you?

Seek advise from a professional and don’t self medicate.

What does 2017 look like for Slovenlie?

It’s going to be an intense and creative year for me. As well as already having 100% control over my music, I’ve taken on the responsibility of controlling all my visuals as well now too. It’s a little daunting but it feels like the right thing to do, as I’m very strong minded about how I want to portray myself. I’m just finishing up the final edits of my next video while still learning how the programs and software work. It’s full on, but I’m absolutely loving it.

New Noise: Slovenlie

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