San Diego, Californian Christopher Sluka, or Sluka as he says it's simple and easier to recall. His newest album "Colorful Radiation", will see all of it's tracks become videos, leading into a combination form in a disc release later on. "Number One", kicked off this video series where the rest will follow suit. Sluka goes into discussion about the single, album, and video assortment he has got planned that is currently a work in progress!
1. For this project your name Christopher Sluka as well as Sluka is used in your work, so which name is the primary source for this project?
I just go by Sluka. It's simple and easier. The original name of my band was "Fear of Ordinary Life." My first major label deal was with Mitsubishi and their label Meldac in Japan. However, their record executives felt that was a name too long for international audiences. They noted that when my last name was pronounced in Japanese it came out as "Su-ru-ka" which is a pick up line to have sex. It literally means "Let's go and do it." They found that amusing, interesting, and a much shorter/easier name than "Fear of Ordinary Life" which I later used as a song and album title.
2. You have released your new single "Number One", why was this song made into a single?
Although all the songs on the album have unconventional song structures I think this is the most accessible and has good energy. I also like how the arrangement goes from simple ukelele, to rock, then a 70's shuffle, a synth breakdown, a kind of religious chant, and then all out punk rock with a brass section good times!
3. What is the story behind the song that is "Number One"?
It's a reflection of how groups of people and societies have become obsessed with the idea of being "Number One." Whether it's a sports team, their favorite band, their country, their political party, or their religion. And how do you even define or determine what criteria is used?
4. Will "Number One" receive an accompanying music video to go with it's single release?
It's already out on YouTube. Just search for Sluka Number One. because, you know, I'm number one.
5. Besides this single, you have a new album titled "Colorful Radiation", where "Number One", kicks off the album. Why go with that track as the opener for this release?
Well it is in fact the first trackÉ number one. But actually the album came to me over the course of a few weeks last Winter in it's entirety, in the order as it is, melody, lyrics, arrangementsÉ all appearing in my head. I then rehearsed the parts over the next month in a mad frenzy. And then I recorded the album over the following month. I see it as a complete story with each song a vital chapter. So it must be in the order it is, and Number One is the first chapter.
6. Can you describe the artwork for this album "Colorful Radiation"? How does the title tie into the album's artwork and music?
It's a painting I did of me waking up and reacting to everything I perceive. I'm clearly in a state of agitation with an overwhelming sense of anxiety, horror, and despair. The theme is: Finding beauty within the horrors of our wonderful lives. The word "Colorful" is just that, beauty. And "Radiation" is often associated with negative things like nuclear weapons, etc., but we also need the radiated energy from the sun to survive and revel in our time.
7. For those, who may have not heard this single or your music before, what types of music do you create, what sound and style would best describe it?
Much to the dismay of music industry executives, I have always created the music that comes to me. I just try to recreate what I'm hearing in my head. The songs may have different styles, instruments, beats, and sounds. I guess it falls into the catchall genre of Rock.
8. When and why did you start playing music?
When I was 8 years old I received an extraordinary gift, a guitar. I thought "how do I work this?" A family friend showed me two chords, D major and D suss 4. Wow! I played them over and over incessantly. I was mystified by this magic. And I drove anyone within range absolutely crazy by the constant repetition.
9. Which instruments do you play?
I am not a virtuoso at anything. But my mind is always burning with how to bring about the song as best I can. So I practice the needed instruments until I get the parts good enough to record. I play all the instruments on the album; guitar, piano, drums, bass, ukelele, violin, french horn, trombone, trumpet, and the synthesized sounds.
10. What was the first tune(s) you learned?
The Beatles song "Help." I tried to understand their magic. I was unsuccessful. They defy understanding.
11. Would you say that your family is musical and that is why you got into music or that is not how it played out?
I got into music because I realized I had no choice.
12. Describe your family member's musical interests and abilities.
My brother Denis is an accomplished bass player and worked with me on many projects early in my career.
13. Which famous musicians do you admire and have learned from and why?
I think we are all influenced by everything we come in contact with, both positive and negative. For instance, I don't really listen much to Rap, Hip Hop, and Country, but I can't help but be influenced. At the same time there are genres I tend to like overall but there may be artists and sounds that do not agree with me and I turn it off. Obviously The Beatles because of what I've already said but also because they showed how almost anything is possible and you only need to be the best "you" that you can be.
14. What are your songs about, what types of themes or topics do they cover?
They are each different, of course. It is important to me that every word is vital to the song. And every song is vital to the album. There is no "filler." Each one explores an area of the human experience, with a twist, something I have not heard before. For this album each song is a metaphor for challenging current events or states of mind.
15. What was your first song you wrote yourself?
"Eli Whitney" a terrible, terrible song about the inventor of the cotton gin. Although an atrocious song, it unintentionally taught me about the value in learning to properly craft a decent song. Although I never recorded it, every now and then it comes back to haunt me.
16. What advice would you give to someone who wants to go this route in terms of a career?
There is music, and there is the music business. The Beatles, when asked about how they account for their success responded, "If we knew we'd all become managers." You can do everything you think you're supposed to do and never gain substantial commercial success. Your timing may not be right. And face it, you might just not realize that you suck. But if you're really driven it won't matter. Just ask anyone who had to endure my years of playing the same two chords over and over when I was 8.
17. When it comes to the rest of this year, what do you have planned?
Eric Bishop, the director, and his crew and I are finishing the videos for the rest of the album. It is being shot in 3D and will be released in the Fall as a combo 3D, 4K, and Bluray disc package. I've never gotten much attention in the USA or UK but if that changes I would love to go on tour with my band.
18. How would you like to wrap this all up?
In a colorful radiated bow. Thank you!