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Interview: SLOTHRUST

WORDS by Alex Norelli.

In Brooklyn and increasingly the world Slothrust is gaining a reputation for combining cut-to-the-quick haunting lyrics with some of the most solid // interesting and rocking sounds around. If you think grunge and jazz, and talking blues and metal could never meld, well they already are, and the locus of this melting pot is a band that has a name no less interesting than their sound.

Left Bank Magazine asked Vox and Guitarist Leah Wellbaum about Sloths, Rock, Art and the Universe. Check it:

Alex: I read the name Slothrust comes from a band you had called Sloth Box. How do you think your music would be different if you were playing under the name Sloth Box as opposed to a new word like Slothrust?

Slothbox was a solo Casio-based project and most of the songs I wrote were about stomach problems and kidnapping. I also wrote one inspired by JonBenét Ramsey. I was really obsessed with that case when I was a kid. I don’t think I would write a song about her with Slothrust. I remember when that guy John Mark Karr falsely confessed to the murder of JonBenét. Seriously nutty.

Alex: Your name shows a propensity for smashing up apparently disparate things—like Sloths and Rust, Jazz and Grunge, talking Blues and Metal—to make new and interesting things. Would you say this is true and if so, what are your favorite mash-ups/mixes?  Do you have a holy grail of genres you’d like to combine?

I guess to me all those things actually do connect in certain ways. And I like all of them and find it more interesting to write music that isn’t as genre specific. In terms of holy grail of genres I would like to combine…nothing particularly comes to mind. Classical music and reggae would be pretty craycray. Slothrust would like to be the backing band to some really dope hip-hop artists if the right moment presents. I have this friend from college who raps under the name Blunt Mary. She is unreal. Definitely would be down to collaborate with her. I am particularly interested in working with female rappers.

Alex: What are your first memories of The Blues and Grunge?

Elizabeth Cotten, my grandpa’s old shirts.

Alex: I like that your lyrics and music are grounded in the times and your music doesn’t feel like a throwback, but that you’re tuned into an energy.  Is there anything you do to be in tune with the time you’re living in, or any particular things you prefer to write about?  

Well, thank you very much. I like that you said I am tuned into an energy because something I try to do musically, lyrically, and visually is create little worlds. I like when art and music feels like it exists in its own reality. A lot of the new songs I have been writing involve bodies of water. I am very obsessed with the ocean. Hunger has also always been a reoccurring theme in my lyrics.

Alex: What is Slothrust listening to right now?

I have been in my apartment watching various stand up all day. That Hannibal Buress stand up is really good. So that’s what I am listening to, I have no idea what Kyle and Will currently have in their little babely ears.

Alex: If Slothrust were a Rare Earth Mineral, what would your qualities be and where would you be found?

We would be super dense and sparkly and we would glow under black light. We would be located at the bottom of hot springs in Iceland and also inside of tree trunks.

Alex: Does your visual work inform or inspire your music?   In your Sad Planet series there is definitely an element of the blues. Is there a particular Sad Planet each of you sympathize with?

I think my visual art and music definitely play off of one another, although I think they translate a little differently in terms of aesthetic. I think all of it is playful, but my visual art is almost entirely creature based. I like all the Sad Planets and I relate to each of them in different ways. But I sympathize the most with Pluto because what “science” did to him is MESSED UP. Identity crisis. I will always consider him a planet, whatever.

Alex: If you ever made a concept album from a novel, which novel would you choose and why?   

I would pick the graphic novel “Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron” by Daniel Clowes because it’s incredible and everyone should read it; it does that whole “creating a world” thing brilliantly.

Alex: I’ve noticed from your Facebook page that many(or at least quite a few) of the fans of Slothrust’s latest album are cats and dogs. Would you ever consider writing a song/album just for them, a la Lou Reed’s “Concert for Dogs”?   Or perhaps a “Concert for Sloths”?  

If there was a demand for it I don’t see why not.

Alex: Do you think the recent surge in Cute Sloths overtaking the internet is because of you?   I see a direct correlation betweens Slothrust’s rise and the proliferation of the Cute Sloth photo, but I could be wrong.

It’s funny. You’re right. When I was younger there were very few images of sloths available and now they are everywhere. I don’t think we had anything to do with it, more so Kristin Bell. She and I have definitely been on the same page for a while.

Alex: Where do you want to be one year from today?  

Eating a steak and drinking some seltzer in Brazil. If anyone wants to help make that happen for me hit me up.

Alex: Do you have any advice for bands trying to make it in the uber-competitive world and/or the NYC/Brooklyn music scene?

Stay positive and have fun. Also, “making it” is what you make of it, if you feel me.

Alex: If you could play a show anywhere in the universe where would you (aside from the Northside Festival)?

Inside of a living whale.

Check their Northside Fest show at Baby’s All Right // Saturday with us  … full schedule here. Post image from Slothrust Facebook // copyright.

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