• March Is Music Month: Slow Dancer

    From exclusive interviews, live performances, special collections and more, we’re celebrating music all month long. We talked to the bands and artists playing our upcoming UO Live in Austin shows about their musical beginnings and the places they’re headed next. Click here to read more interviews.

    Hailing from Melbourne, Slow Dancer is the moniker of musician Simon Okely. With mellow beats and a soothing voice, Simon's songs are the perfect backdrop for a lazy weekend hang or a drive through the country. (Simon himself describes his sound as "station wagon rock.") Imagine: You are the lead in a sad indie film. Slow Dancer is what plays when you start to realize things about yourself in your car. Listen to his single "Don't Believe" to understand what we mean.

    Ahead of his performance at UO’s Live in Austin showcase, and your chance to hear his chilled out tunes IRL, we chat with Simon about life on the road and what he’s learned over the years as a musician.
    Photos by Heather Lighton

    Hi, Simon! Tell us a little bit about yourself – where do you live? How long have you been a full-time musician?
    I call Melbourne my home. I grew up in Perth, Western Australia (the most isolated city anywhere). I’m a white early 30s single male who sings about his emotions with an acute awareness of white privilege, whilst trying not to develop self-esteem issues. I’ve focused on Slow Dancer since 2013. I’m an avid cyclist and part time optimist.

    What’s the music scene in Melbourne like currently?
    Melbourne’s music scene is brilliant. It's not too hard to catch a brilliant act like The Ocean Party, Rolling Blackouts Costal Fever, Real Feelings, Jade Imagine, Jala, Kllo, Olympia or Christopher Port on any given weekend.

    For someone who’s never listened to your music before, how would you describe it?
    A friend who called it "station wagon rock" described my music best. I suffer from a mid-'70s classic rock addiction. I dabble in Yacht and also Folk rock as well. 

    How has your music changed or evolved over the years? 
    I am constantly on a quest to progress. I am a student of David Bowie and PJ and agree that it is crucial to good art that artists never stagnate. I have a keen interest in Trap, Grime and modern RnB music, and it is permeating my songwriting more and more.

    Who were some of your inspirations growing up? 
    Van Morrison
    Nick Drake
    The Beatles
    The Stones
    Neil Young
    Crowded House
    Bill Withers
    Fleetwood Mac
    Nick Cave
    Steely Dan
    Doobie Brothers

    What about currently? 
    Margaret Glaspy
    Cass McCombs
    Conan Moccasin
    Blood Orange
    I love Makonnen 
    Run the Jewels

    What’s your 2017 goal as a musician?
    I lived through 2016; I’m taking 2017 day by day. In all seriousness, I don’t set goals for my music or as a musician, I make music for me and me only, I let it take me where it wants to go. I feel privileged that it's bringing me to one of my favorite countries this year.

    It’s Saturday night – what 3 songs do you put on to get in a good mood before going out?
    BagBak – Vince Staples
    What A Fool Believes – The Doobie Brothers
    Black Beatles – Rae Sremmurd

    What are you looking forward to experiencing in Austin? Have you ever been before? 
    I have been before. I’m really looking forward to bringing Slow Dancer to some of my new friends in the states. I’m also partial to meeting new people, Texas BBQ and Lone Star Beer. 

    Any bands or musicians you’re looking forward to catching while there? 
    I really like Alex Cameron from Sydney and Rolling Blackouts Costal Fever from Melbourne

    Finally, what do you hope people take away from your Live in Austin performance? 
    Some merchandise or a recording. 

    To see more from Slow Dancer, follow him on Instagram

    See Slow Dancer this month at UO's Space 24 Twenty for UO Live in Austin. Click here for more schedules and information.