If you’re in the mood for some vibey electro-pop beats that have been dubbed “music to cry to while you smile,” then you’re going to need to stop everything and listen to jazz-musician-turned-solo-artist Sloane.
The moniker Sloane was created by LA-bred Nick Rosen. He discovered jazz as a teen and spent all his time practicing bass. Rosen then joined the TV and film side of music, helping record and produce scores for Super 8, Star Trek, LOST and more.
He then served as music director at LA nightclubs and hotspots Bardot and The Sayers Club, where he ended up performing with the likes of Prince, Will.i.am, Jamie Foxx, Bruno Mars, and more.
As if all that wasn’t enough, he’s become an accomplished producer and engineer along the way, including working with Phantogram, Tinashe, and others. We had a chance to spend some time talking to Sloane about his new music, songwriting, and what’s coming up for him in the next few months. Check out the interview below.
Crowdsurfer: Where’d you come up with the name Sloane?
Sloane: Originally I wanted to call myself Sloane Peterson based off the girl I had a crush on in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. That didn’t work so I decided to call myself Sloane.
CS: Talk a little bit about the idea for wearing the mask and how that originated.
Sloane: I was thinking about ‘How can I give someone an experience? How can they experience the music as an entity not me as a person?’ I thought it would be interesting and I’ve never seen someone wear their own pixelated face as a mask.
All of my songs are like breakup emo love songs and I like the idea that when you breakup with someone your whole world is almost pixelated because you’re seeing it fragmented and you’re seeing yourself less clearly. With that being said, whatever people think it is, that’s it too. As soon as you make something, it’s out into the world and it doesn’t belong to you anymore.
CS: What made you want to break out and create some songs as a solo artist?
Sloane: The last decade I’ve been working with other artists and I really like supporting other songs. I went through a classic really bad breakup in 2018 and I started writing some new songs. I wrote Old Hands New Face which was the first song I released as Sloane. My buddy Thomas was working at this label called SideOneDummy with Bill (Armstrong). He said, “We know that you’re working with a bunch of bands, can you send us who you dig in LA?” So I sent him around 30 songs, and I put Old Hands New Face in there, and they were like, “Well that’s great, would love to sign that!”
And I was like, “Shit.” I didn’t have any more songs yet. So that’s why the EP I released last year have mostly other people singing. A lot of them were songs that I took from sessions and I produced them and made them work, but it wasn’t fully me yet. So it was almost having to make up a project by accident.
CS: How has it been transitioning from writing and producing with other people to writing for yourself?
Sloane: The song that I just released a few weeks ago called Down From Here was just me and it was super personal just writing for me and that’s why it feels spiritually better. But I also feel like I still have a lot more to go. I’m writing and finding a sound and I’m in a crazy inspired period right now where I’m just writing constantly. I’ve already turned in like eight new songs to my label and I just want to keep going.
CS: What are some of the things that inspire you?
Sloane: Non-musically, I practice Buddhism which is a huge part of my life. I love the idea of simultaneous cause and effect and the lotus blooms and seeds at the same time. So I love the idea that as soon as I’m making a cause, it creates an effect. With music, as soon as I do something it’s created something else. And I like the idea of a moment. To me, music is a perpetual quest to create clearer and hopefully be open enough to capture moments. So that’s exciting to me on a life level of what inspires me to create.
I have a tattoo of this guy named Albert Ayler who I’d be surprised if anyone listening to this knew who he was. He was a really Avant Garde sax player. While my music doesn’t sound anything like that, I think I took the freedom of expression in that. So that inspires me a lot, just being free to be whatever. Those are two big aspects for me.
As far as music, I’m super inspired by anything these days. Anything that I think is real I love. I love The 1975 right now, I’ve been loving the new Taylor Swift album. Bon Iver and The National are like my two all-time favorite bands, so I love that Aaron Dessner did that album. I try to study Max Martin because he’s a genius and I want to know how you make all these hits.
CS: Talk a little bit about the dichotomy between the upbeat nature of your songs and the lyrical content which has a heavier theme.
Sloane: I like the idea that you can be having a fucked up day but yet you push yourself to dance. So the pre-chorus for Down From Here goes, “Everybody else seems happy waking up with someone else / Good for them I wish them well, maybe I just hate myself / The south of France could be Mojave, looks the same in Abu Dhabi / Feeling that’s inside my body wouldn’t wish on anybody.”
So it’s a pretty dark statement, but in a fun way and to me I just like the idea that it is really dark but hopefully people can hear a hopefulness in the fact that they can connect with it, but then maybe relate and move forward.
CS: We’re excited to hear some new music soon from you. What’s next for you in the upcoming year?
Sloane: I’m trying to really focus on what I want my next year to be. So the artists I want to work with next year, focusing on sessions. My label and I want to do another EP. I want to do another album too called “Will You Be My Friend?” and just do Sloane plus friends on every song. And I want to do half of it as children’s songs.
I also work with Phantogram a lot so we have a few things that are about to come out that are Sloane and Phantogram. I’ll probably do some touring with them next year and maybe try to book some of my own shows as well.