Slow Magic – Meet the Man Behind the Mask
FACT: imaginary friends are REAL. No, I’m not insane, high or drunk. But I met Slow Magic, a man who claims to be (and is) everyone’s imaginary friend. He’s not at all like Rik Mayall in Drop Dead Fred, leaving a trail of chaos and mayhem where ever he goes. Far from it. This imaginary friend, is, well, far more grown up. He’s a quiet, bearded fellow. He’s not from round here. Or there. He’s thoughtful, reflective, he takes his time. He lives up to name.
‘Slow magic is way to describe how I make music, or what music is. I take a lot of time. I’m really tedious. Too slow probably when it comes to recordings. Music is magic in unexplainable ways.’
I’ll call him Mr Magic to keep his name the secret it is.
I asked Mr Magic if he too had an imaginary friend when he was a child. He chuckled in response. No, just cuddly toys for him. It’s hard to picture this hairy faced man snuggling up to a fluffy teddy bear. He throws in some more imagery: he was also playing the drums at aged 5. Now I’m picturing a toddler smashing kitchen pots with wooden spoons, a long, bushy beard upon his chubby chin, a row of cuddly toys watching him in awe. A garden gnome with rhythm!
He must have very nice parents to put up with all that racket. Oh yeah, really nice actually. His mum made him the shirt that’s part of the Slow Magic stage dress-up. Awww. Always a good sign when a man has a good relationship with his mother. His folks were massive Beach Boys fans – if you listen closely you can hear these good vibrations shining through his magic.
As for other influences, ‘I like loads of stuff that’s not electronic. Kings of Convenience, Sigur Ros. I draw influence from as many genres as I can’. This is probably why he’s ahead of his game. His music is always more exciting than his peers; because it’s been created using a bigger palette of sounds.
But anyway. The Outfit. It’s pretty special. And of course aids with the big secret – who is he? Which is all part of the plan to keep ‘the music separate from an identity or location.’ One of his friends, a real person, made him the mask. ‘It’s held out pretty well for a piece of cardboard. It’s magic I guess.’ More evidence to suggest Mr Magic is a genuine nice guy. People don’t make you stuff unless you’re an above average human being, I reckon. Average people simply get bought stuff. Below averagers get nothing, I guess.
But going back to the drums. Have you seen Mr Magic play those bad boys live? OH, HOW YOU WILL DANCE! Behold the musical warrior in fancy dress armed with a tom and a snare! I was shocked to learn this shebang (bad pun, sorry) happened completely by accident. He used to play live just with his laptop, but it stopped working moments before he was due on stage. This must have been his destiny because Mac’s don’t just stop working! So, with his tunes being played from the sound booth, Mr Magic borrowed a mates tom-tom and began to belt out some beats over the top. Strength in character that is! What could have been an embarrassing disaster turned into his favourite gig. And so the drums stuck.
Now, Mr Magic may be a calm chap, but he still likes to be silly and play games (straighty one eighty folk do not wear fancy dress!). That’s why a lot of tracks on his first album are titled with symbols, not words. I was like, so when I tell people I really dig the track, TRIANGLE, am I saying it right?! Yeah, he grins. That’s all part of the fun of the first record. And the second record? Well, you won’t have long to wait as been rather busy lately creating it. As well as a couple of new remixes. Hurrah! I gushed perhaps a little too much about the beauty of his The One AM Radio remix. Ever humble, he said with a trace of a smile, ‘thanks, I had a lot to work with.’
I nearly fell out of my chair when he told me he was on the road with El Ten Eleven in April. I LOVE El Ten Eleven, but they’re a post-rock/math rock act and I just wouldn’t have pegged the two artists as a team. An oversight on my part, as evidence suggests they were born to rock together. Have you heard Mr Magic’s remix of El Ten Eleven’s Yellow Bridges? (It only went online a few days ago so I can forgive myself for not being aware of this enigmatic friendship). Excuse my common tongue, but fucking hell, this dude is a genius! Post-rock-tronica so delightful you’ll feel like a 5 year old tasting ice for the first time.
How has life changed since all this drum-banging and beat-making began? ‘Apart from it being better and people paying me money?’ he laughs. ‘I’m still excited about the same things. Getting to travel for the first time in my life has been amazing. I really can’t complain.’ He sure can’t. He’s been whisked away to corners of the earth he didn’t know existed. The best week of his life was spent at The Iceland Airwaves festival in Reykjavik.
I ended my conversation by telling Mr Magic I really dug his beard. I asked him if he’d heard The Beards, You Should Consider Having Sex With A Bearded Man?’ I was met with a coy smile; I’ll have to play that one in on my DJ sets.
Catch Slow Magic on May 4 at Koko - a night with a line up so good you’ll piss your knickers in excitement. I just did: Blackbird Blackbird, Giraffage, XXYYXX, Niva, Salva…. I will definitely see you there.