When two turntablists take on six turntables and get together with the former rhythm section of Wolfmother, it feels as if the cosmos have lined up just right.
Created by Kid Koala (Eric San) and Dynomite D (Dylan Frombach), The Slew is a one of a kind experience.
Released as a leak on Kid Koala’s blog, 100%, the debut album from The Slew is reminiscent of the dirty heavy rock sound of the early 70’s. What sets it apart from the era’s classics is the skilled use of turntables.
Before taking The Slew on it’s one and only tour, Kid Koala talks about the birth of The Slew and Wolfmother.
Q: Originally, the idea behind The Slew was a documentary soundtrack; do you remember what it was about?
A: When we were approached to do it, it was really casually presented to us. It was about a Seattle based gentleman. He was kind of in music, but not really. It was a story about his life. The film never really got off the ground. But it was the catalyst that got us into the studio. Although, me and Dylan always wanted to do a rock record together.
Q: Is the 100% different from the original concept you had for the soundtrack?
A: Dylan and I already had this idea that we wanted to make a heavy record that I thought would appeal to Black Sabbath fans but at the same time Public Enemy fans. We knew we wanted it to be banging, like a turn it up record. When the film thing came around we thought we could do the heavy record for it. It was already going to work out and at the end of the day we were going to make the record we wanted.
Q: How would you describe the sound of The Slew?
A: Grunge-alism (laughs). It’s a Seattle grunge album made purely with turntables. What would it sound like if the Dust Brothers or Public Enemy’s Bomb Squad produced a Black Sabbath album? That was basically what we wanted.
Q: How did you run into Chris Ross and Myles Heskett of Wolfmother?
A: Well it’s a funny story. The Slew is a project I’ve been working on with my friend Dylan for the past four and a half years. On the first Wolfmother tour of North America, they played Seattle and a promoter told Dylan to go to the show. He knew they played wicked heavy stuff. He was blown away by Chris and Myles. He told me to go check them out when they come to Montreal. When Wolfmother came to Montreal I ended up going down to Le National to get my tickets. I saw them standing on the corner and I went up and asked them if they were in the band and they said “yeah.” Well I told the keyboard player about a great keyboard shop that has vintage stuff and we hit it off right away. I was showing them around Montreal after the sound check and Myles asked me “so what do you do?” I told them that I was kind of like a DJ. He asked me “what is your moniker?” I said Kid Koala and he said ” hey I saw your show last year in Sydney.” It’s funny I didn’t think rock guys listened to me.
Q: When did Chris and Myles find out about The Slew?
A: When they were in Montreal they came and checked out my studio. They asked me what I was working on so I played them The Slew. It was more of a work in progress then. They said, “this stuff is really heavy, we like it.” They ended up getting really busy and they were doing a non-stop planetary tour. We would cross paths every now and then since we would be booked for the same music festivals. They would always ask, “hey what’s up with that Slew record?” They were always pretty excited about it. Earlier this year I was in Australia and Chris called me up and asked to meet up in Sydney. He asked again about The Slew and I told him it was done. I told him we were thinking of doing a live version to present it to the world. Originally we thought it would take seven DJs and 14 turntables. We started making a list of who we would bring, I think we got to four. At that point we thought it would be too complicated. So I thought, “maybe we should bring a live rhythm section, but whoever we bring have to play as heavy as Chris and Myles.” While in Sydney I brought it up with Chris and he said, “the next break we’ll make it happen.”
Q: What was the thought process behind releasing 100% as a leak?
A: It was a timing issue. It worked out that it would only be able to happen these two weeks. I immediately called the booking agency and asked them if we can get some rooms since this will be the only time we’ll line up everyone’s schedule. They were frantically making calls trying to get a tour together. The label knew that with three months they couldn’t do a proper campaign. So we thought, “this is the digital age, can’t we get the word out otherwise?” It had been leaked and passed around, but everyone was being really cloak and dagger about it. But who cares? We decided instead of people being all stealth about it, we would just let them have fun with it.
Q: How do you feel about the Wolfmother association tagged onto The Slew?
A: If there are any rocker crowds that come out it’s going to be because of them. For us, this is just the beginning of The Slew. We’re going to record all the sound checks from the gigs and try to see if we have some cool new drum parts or anything from Chris and Miles. Maybe it will become a second instalment. Right now we’re just stoked that it came together.
The Slew will be performing at La Tulipe on Oct. 2 as part of the Pop Montreal festival.