On their latest single, "12 Hours", these Miami based pop trio upshift into a more boisterous and silkier tone, surrendering a well-needed rush of dopamine. Like their title, SLØNE has got main-stage pop music written all over it. But at the same time, it's everything that most contemporary bands are not. They feel remarkably low-key despite all of the song's focused bang and harmony-shifted uprises. "12 Hours"—like a trojan horse—enter under the cover of nimble Robo-angel type pads before establishing itself as an instant classic. With filter-twisted drops, warping vocal samples, and a reliably trendy topline, this single shines polished with sleek new edges as it recruits guitarist, Eric Stewart, and bassist/beatmaker John Tomasso of Orlando-based ambient rock band, Makari.
Amidst oscillating melodies and a scattering drum pattern, Ricki Denim's vocals blend and weave with a lower octave variation, as a cascade of callbacks reinforce her griefs in "12 Hours," especially because of her lyrics twirl over love-sick regret: "you needed distance, so I gave some, but every inch was more temptation" she sings, her tongue quivering over her words. "I've been drinking too much and pretending this ain’t my fault, but I miss you so much right now," she shows remorse over letting go. At the same time, the song thrusts into a hypnotic, clubby chorus, teeming with shapeshifting slams of drums, a springy bassline that vaults below among the subfrequencies, and sliced vocal harmonies voyaging the highest atmospheres of the mix. Here, SLØNE is clearly steering for the charts with "12 Hours," as the group outfit the song with ample intrigue and musical vibrancy to give the top 40 a refreshing revitalizer with its release this summer.
Can you tell us more about some of the underlying messages you have woven into this song through your own experiences?
After losing my father to suicide in 2014, I slipped into a long cycle of numbing myself with alcohol instead of actually grieving. I didn’t realize it was happening until I was real deep in it. It was a rollercoaster I kept hopping on and off of. I’d go through periods of recovery and then relapse again, even harder. I’d get myself into dangerous situations. I’m lucky to still be alive. “Empty eyes, your mind was made up” I’m speaking to the version of my self that would take over and make these self-destructive decisions. The song is basically a letter to the addict in me. “You needed distance (from alcohol) so I gave some, but every inch was more temptation (to fall back into my old ways.)” I’m basically trying to call and reach my better self but she’s unavailable. - (written by Ricki Denim) How did music connect the three of you initially? Was it something of a chance encounter, or did one seek out the other for this collaboration?
The three of us actually met back in 2011 at the Florida Music Festival. John and Eric performed at the festival with their current band, Makari. Ricki performed with her band at the time. We admired each other's music and became friends on Facebook but didn’t talk much throughout the years, we also played Warped Tour together a couple of times. Then Ricki & Eric randomly connected through Instagram in 2019, developing a relationship that led to the birth of SLØNE. How much do you think you each have grown as artists since you first started making music together as SLØNE?
SLØNE is very new but it has already helped all three of us to take everything we’ve learned from 10+ years of being in bands, trying to make a career out of music, and translate it into this project. There’s a lot of ego in the music industry. We’ve all learned that the music comes first, there’s no place for ego in this. We want to do whatever is best for the music, not our personal agendas. All three of us are pretty good at compromising and just moving forward. It has also challenged us to simplify in a lot of ways. Basically, “less is more” when it comes to pop music. When it comes to your artistic process, what does a writing session or practice look like for the three of you right now amongst the loom of COVID?
Thankfully, in this age of technology, writing is easy regardless of being able to physically meet up. Ricki and Eric live in the same place so it’s really easy to write and practice all the time. John isn’t far and we all have access to recording equipment to bounce ideas back and forth. COVID hasn’t affected our process very much, so we’re fortunate. What has been keeping you inspired throughout 2020? What can we expect to see next from you?
There’s a lot going on in the world right now, and although a lot of it is heartbreaking, we believe humans are also on the verge of some real breakthroughs. Things have to get unveiled and get ugly before healing can take place. Human nature is inspiring, being alive is inspiring, even if it gets really dark sometimes. We find a lot of musical inspiration in the darker themes of human existence, especially mental health and addictions. You can expect to hear some more reflections on these topics in our future releases, as well as some bars from Ricki! We’re about to get back in the studio with Andrew Wade for our next release, so we’re hyped for that.