Slow Glows is an indie, dreampop, shoegaze band from right here in Cincinnati. They formed in the fall of 2016, with their first show in April of 2017 and have since then played various venues across the Cincinnati area, including Northside Tavern, Urban Artifact, Madison Live, The Southgate House Revival, The Hub OTR, and countless others. In the fall of 2017 they recorded their debut EP, Star Trail, and played Ladyfest Cincinnati.
Slow Glows recently released a video for “Sodapop.” The video is cute and earnest, and the track pulls from obvious references (Slowdive, Galaxie 500) but with more modern guitar pop references. It gives a dreamy vision of Cincinnati, almost as if you are inside of a kaleidoscope.
We sat down with the band to chat about the video, secrets of the trade, and what is next for Slow Glows. Mark your calendars now to check them out next at MOTR Pub on Saturday, July 7th with Pop Empire!
Tell us about the making of the video for “Sodapop.”
We’d been talking about doing a music video for a while because of the vinyl single we were putting out for “Sodapop,” and it just seemed like something we should do. We didn’t have the money to have it shot professionally, so I had the ambitious idea to go out and buy a cheap camera, and to just try filming and editing it myself. I’d never had any experience with video prior to this, so the end result has a very DIY feel. But at the same time, I think that’s what makes it authentic, because I knew the feelings behind the song and the vibe I’d want to go for – something really hazy and nostalgic. The recurring kaleidoscope in the video is a distortion of the lights on the Contemporary Arts Center downtown. I wanted it to be kind of like a dream sequence. The beginning of the video is of driving from my house in Dayton, KY, and the returning drive at the end was shot there too, because I like the idea of things coming back full circle. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed filming the video. I can’t wait to get started on our next one, which I’ll probably film sometime in July.
What is your favorite part of being a part of the Cincinnati Music Scene?
I really love how diverse the music scene is here and how there are always so many different events happening all over the city every night of the week. There’s always something new to see or listen to. We’ve been lucky to have a lot of support early on, especially in playing out around Northside. Shoegaze is a bit of a niche genre, so people who are into that usually do find us, and I feel there is a lot of support between us and the three or four other local shoegaze bands who are playing out right now. We play shows with each other and keep up with each other’s music. It’s only a small fragment Cincinnati’s music scene as a whole, but it’s a place I’m very comfortable in, and, through sharing my music with other people, can be myself in. And that’s what’s important – I really didn’t grow up envisioning I’d want to be in a rock band, but I bought my first electric guitar in the fall of 2015 and it just became the route that everything took after that. It was very liberating for me. For the first time in my life I was content in the fact that I could just express myself as a person, and the music scene here has been a pretty receptive outlet for what Slow Glows has been doing so far.
Given that you just played your first show in April of 2017, I feel that you have paved your path, made your name known, and are on the way to greatness. What is your secret? Ok…I know you don’t want to divulge your secrets, but any advice for new local bands?
I think the secret is really just to have persistence in it. It’s so easy to get discouraged, especially in a city where there is such a high concentration of talent that you may feel unnoticed if you’re in a new band beginning to play out. Prior to Slow Glows, Ian and I had a band called Peace Attack – like the Sonic Youth song. We were all from Florence, KY, knew nobody in the Cincinnati music scene, and had no idea how to book shows. At first it was just trial and error, but we started to make connections and learned what to do and what not to do. I feel like the main thing to get noticed is to just go out of your comfort zone, go out and meet new people. Take interest in other people’s music and be approachable about your own. I think that in the music scene right now there is such a surplus of venues and events on any given night that it really boils down to musicians supporting other musicians, so if you give support, then you’ll usually get it in return as well.
Musically, I think it helps to just be authentic, to write your own original and compelling songs. In a genre very focused on guitar effects and loudness, I think it’s important to prioritize the songwriting aspect. A shoegaze band can be bland or derivative if they’re all sound and no substance. So, I try to emphasize the melody and pop structure of the song and how it sounds played simply on acoustic guitar. And then afterwards, if it sounds like a good song, I’ll switch to electric and add all of the heavy tones and lush reverb. Songs come together really quickly for us and we’re constantly writing. We’re at the point where our live set is just a small fraction of all the songs we have written. A surplus of material helps because you can always change things up to keep people interested.
What is next for Slow Glows?
Well, we’re going to spend the rest of the summer playing local shows and working on new material in between them. We’ve got two big shows in July – the 7th at MOTR Pub and the 28th at Urban Artifact – which we’re looking forward to. We’re the August artist-in-residency at one of our favorite venues here, The Comet, which means we’ve put together our own special series of shows every Tuesday night that month. The kickoff show will be what we’re calling “My Bloody Valentine Night,” on August 7th, which we’ve created to showcase Cincinnati’s current shoegaze music scene featuring us and two other local bands making waves right now – Marr and Sarn Helen.
This fall we’ve made plans to go on our first tour, which will be mostly East Coast dates, and we’re just now beginning to work on booking that. We may take a break during the winter months when we get back from tour, but the current plan is to record our first full-length studio record sometime early next year. I haven’t planned too far ahead, but I feel like we’re onto something really special with many of these songs, and if we stay on track with it then the future will be looking bright. I think the proximate goal is to just record the album, get it out there, and see where that takes us next.