Not all musicians are brave enough to create a truly unique music experience. It takes a lot to put aside the status-quo and walk to the beat of your own drum, and for the very talented “Sluka”, walking that unique and diverse path is the only road he knows. We at Vents Magazine had the pleasure of discussing “Sluka’s” new album titled “Introversions”, among many other interesting topics.
Ryan: Bands names are a difficult choice to make. What is the story behind Sluka?
Christopher: Originally the musical act was called “Fear of Ordinary Life.” My first record deal was with a Japanese label and they were insistent that the name was too long for a musical act being promoted in Japan and other international markets. When they pronounced my last name it would come out as “Su-ru-ka” which is a provocative phrase in Japanese used to pick up someone in a bar. They thought that was cool. So in order for them to finance my first two albums I agreed to just use my last name. A Sluka is also a bird, which as a pilot I rather like.
Ryan: How long did your new album “Introversions” take to make?
Christopher: It’s been in the works all my life.
Ryan: Does the album have a specific theme that runs through it?
Christopher: Yes, alienation. Being literally cut off from the beginning of our lives when the umbilical cord is cut. We are severed from each other, our families, lovers, institutions…. even ourselves and our minds (dementia). We can be in the midst of a raging crowd and feel totally alone, and lonely. We spend our entire lives trying to bridge that gap. We try to connect with each other. And we deny or deal with hardships, disappointments, and the inevitable deaths of those we love and our own mortality.
Ryan: Where does the band gather inspiration from?
Christopher: I can’t speak for other artists, but I think most artists don’t really gather inspiration nor can they actively seek it out. It just happens. I think they welcome inspiration when it occurs and during that experience of being inspired they then feel an unbearable need to express themselves. That may also help explain why some people interpret that feeling of inspiration as being “gifted by God” or some other supernatural catalyst. But as I said, I think it just happens. It can then be crafted by our emotions and developed skills as an artist as we strive for a sense of perfection we know we’ll never achieve.
Ryan: What does your song writing process look like?
Christopher: Again, it just happens. I have a practice routine for keeping my skills as a musician sharp for each instrument that I play. But the songwriting is not only an expression & reflection of events & emotions that occur in my life but also those I encounter through others and those that I imagine. However, I’m very aware that an audience needs to find the music accessible and we’re all looking for a shared emotional connection.
Ryan: The album already has multiple music videos. How many are you planning to make?
Christopher: We are in the process of filming videos for all 13 songs, to make a visual album.
Ryan: Does the band have a favorite song on the album, and what would be considered the albums lead single at this point?
Christopher: I realize an audience naturally wants to know what is the lead single or the main track to listen to at first. I like them all for different reasons and the particular mood each one projects. I really wanted to create something cohesive that holds up as a complete work. I have noticed so far that “Doctor Strangelove” has received a lot of views on YouTube and I suppose that is because of all the “live” energy and it gives a very good idea of what a Sluka concert is like. But it does not sound like any of the other songs on the album. In fact, I don’t think any of the songs sound like each other than my voice and my abilities as a musician.
Ryan: Do you have any advice for independent musicians looking to make their own album?
Christopher: There is music; and then there is the music business. In business you must provide something that is wanted, needed. And most people want quality. It’s important to keep that in mind. So not only must you develop your talent, like many musicians do, you must provide something that others desire such as a quality recording of a well-crafted song that resonates with an audience.
Ryan: This seems like a band that truly enjoys the live portion of music. Does the band favor its live show over the studio, or the studio over the live show?
Christopher: Both. In the studio you have the opportunity to create the elusive masterpiece and capture a magical accident. In concert you have the opportunity for the elusive moment… where everything comes together for a short time…. connecting with an audience… and then it’s gone!
Ryan: How would you describe your sound to someone that has not heard your music yet?
Christopher: I understand the need for this question. I am asked often. People want to know what it sounds like. They want a frame of reference. “What does it sound like, what are your influences.” And yet when I listen to music I don’t really do that. It either affects me or it doesn’t. When I look at a beautiful painting it’s the same thing. And the artist isn’t there to explain things to me. In fact, part of the joy in appreciating art is the discovery aspect, often on different levels, and sometimes over the course of a lifetime. I am driven to make the music I make and it’s probably best to let others describe and compare.
Ryan: Lastly, and thank you for your time. Do you have any news that you would like to share with your listeners?
Christopher: I understand if some don’t “get it.” There is a lot of art & music I don’t get either. I tried to make the best album I could. And now I’m very excited with the videos being made and I look forward to promoting the Blu-ray release this November. If the reaction is strong I hope to tour extensively next Summer. Thank you for your time and consideration!
Sluka can be found on their official website.