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Slonk 2

Slonk tells us about plans for a new album and shares epic bedroom folk single "Jane's Boots"

06 September 2017, 10:45 | Written by Laurence Day

Bristol jack-of-all-trades Slonk is back to tell us all about his new single, next steps, and enviable work rate.

Slonk made a mark earlier this year with Songs About Tanks, an absorbing, heartfelt collection of songs about the three Ls (love, life, loss) with rich textures aplenty and much colouring outside genre lines - it includes monumental tune "We're Both Going To Be Fine", featuring Oliver Wilde and Fenne Lily. We're still reeling from the impact of that LP, but Slonk (aka the prolific Joe Sherrin) isn't prepared to let off the gas just yet, and returns today with "Jane's Boots", a fresh track for local label Art Is Hard.

It's the producer/songwriter's first outing as Slonk since Songs About Tanks landed, and picks up where he left off, with swooning folk-pop layers and waltzing rhythms. It's hypnotic, with lilting strings guiding you through rough patches and hoisting you to cloud nine by your bootstraps, while axes crunch and a gang of grazed-knee raw vocals coo in unison. "Jane's Boots" is sonic cinnamon, warming you through with sweet spice and rekindling memories of happier times (even though the lyrics aren't exactly ultra upbeat).

BEST FIT: Can you tell us about the single - how did it come together?
Slonk: It's the first song i'm releasing from my new album to follow up March's Songs About Tanks. Amazingly it's coming out on Art Is Hard Records, who I love, as part of their rad Postcard Club series. I'm also delighted that Sam Bedford's (of American Enthusiasm fame) incredible artwork gets to be on a pretty postcard which you can send to your pen pals around the globe.

I recorded it around April or May. Originally it was going to be a gentle wettie but it turned out sounding like an Irish jig.

What's it about?
Slonk: "Jane's Boots" is about a couple of things. It starts off in a narrative format, telling a story about a woman I met whilst coming home pretty late/early. She was in a pretty terrible way and me and my friend helped her home. She had a pair of boots with her that she refused to put on and she was either called Jane or Louise, I think. So obviously I called the song "Jane's Boots".

How does it follow on from Songs About Tanks... is it a continuation of that phase or the start of something new?
Slonk: It was the first one I wrote for this new album; I wrote it the morning after the Songs About Tanks album launch.

Similarly to Songs About Tanks this new album I've written follows a very concise period of my life, which follows Songs About Tank's timeline immediately. But whereas Songs About Tanks is basically just one miserable dirge about being sad this new one has more of an arc in its narrative. Honestly, I'm not trying to make a biography of pretentious albums that follow my life...

It's quite rich and textured, with lots of layers and strings - you've had a lot of lo-fi/bedroom pop tags in the past, but is this a sign of you moving away from that?
Slonk: Well it's definitely still pretty lo-fi and I do record it all in my bedroom... I think I'm just slowly improving at making stuff sound a little better. Saying that I've just written a few new new songs for the follow up to this album and I've just been recording them really primitively with one mic on the drums, originally as demos but I actually really like the scruffiness, so I think the follow up to this one (whenever it comes out) will delve deeper into the bedroom rather than a move away from it. I DON'T WANNA CLEAN MY ROOM MOM!

The thickness/layering is something I've always struggled to refrain from. I just love really going to town on instrumentation. It's my favourite part of recording. I like seeing how far I can take a song - on my computer I have about 12 mixes of the album, the first being just guitar and vocals, going through them you can hear the songs grow with all the added layers of instruments being added in; I like that. I also like that lots of the added instrumentation is done by close friends, then I get to work on the songs with them and see what ideas they have for it. It's all fun and games.

Have you played it live yet?
Slonk: Yeah, besides being insanely difficult to sing (by my standards), it's one of the most fun to play. Each Slonk show tends to have a different ensemble of musicians so the songs get changed around all the time to fit the occasion, but for full band shows with drums, bass, and all that malarkey it gets beefed up; a bit punkier... less like an Irish jig.

Can you tell us what you're working on now/next?
Slonk: The follow up to Songs About Tanks is now ready to go; the album's going to be called Everything Falls Into Place and I have no idea when or how it's being released. If anyone would like to throw loads of money at it then please give me an email.

What's next for Slonk? What are you excited for this winter?
Slonk: I look forward to the Winter all year every year anyway; being an eczema-clad misery guts the Winter is my favourite season, but this Winter is going to be extra excellent - I leave my job on 1 December to "spend more time focusing on music", which I'm hoping doesn't translate to "spend more time re-watching The Sopranos and eating 'share' bags of Wotsits".

Am planning a little joint solo tour with super pal Kate Stapley (of Springbreak fame) early December, which'll be lovely too!

Besides that I'm going to work out what to do with my new album and also record another one.

Slonk plays Bristol's Crofters Rights on 8 September with Human Bones and Springbreak - tickets are available now.
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