Built on a mutual appreciation for organic growth, individuality and delivering remarkable music, what Slow Life have created is more than a label. It’s a lifestyle.
A mere few seconds after stepping onto Hoppetosse for Slow Life’s November label showcase, it’s abundantly clear that these guys are a spirited crew. The main room is packed at 7am, despite the sauna-like climate, and behind the decks is Laurine’s beaming smile as she goes back to back with Cecilio. The party is in full swing and their affection and gratitude for what they’ve created is tangible. These two DJs, along with DJ Tree, have been at the core of the collective since the beginning, and it’s evident in their dynamic behind the decks – so perfectly in tune. Their selections are energetic and the dance floor lacks space to move, but their music radiates warmth, and the crowd is content regardless. ‘Without a doubt, the highlights in terms of gigs are our Showcases at Hoppetosse. The freedom and energy we experience there is unmatchable, and the support from people all around is key and one of our biggest motivations,’ Laurine gushes.
As well as the three DJs, Slow Life also consists of Sergio Moreira, a talented percussionist with a knack for broken beats, and Santi Uribe, the graphic designer behind their signature artwork and producer under the moniker Indi Zone. These two also share a collaborative project, Ethereal Logic. As a team of five with individually hectic schedules, it’s easy to imagine that at times they’d struggle to function as one, but as it nears a decade since Laurine and Cecilio first met, they appear as tight as ever. It’s clear from the way they interact with each other, and their group of extended friends that are spilling out from behind the booth, that there’s a great deal of harmony between them. ‘It takes patience, understanding and communication. The latter being the most important. It’s not easy to agree and make decisions when you’re five people, but being good long-term friends definitely helps. We have had our moments, and we still do. But when you communicate things clearly and there is a strong, mutual motivation you manage to make things work.’
The label kicked off back in 2013, and began with S.Moreira’s debut EP ‘Fuck the Clock’. ‘It took a couple of years after we met to realise that the collective/label was the logical next step,’ Laurine explains. ‘We were digging, DJing together and making music, and both aspects matured at the same rate. We wanted to express ourselves with our own party, and Sergio’s music was ready to be released. We needed a platform for everything. And Slow Life was born.’ Since then, their releases have encompassed a wide range of artists and styles, including releases from Primary Perception, Huerta, and Saverio Celestri.
At their most animated, Slow Life is a kaleidoscope of spaced-out melodies and punchy acid basslines blended with elaborate percussion. At their most relaxed, they are masters of dreamy ambient cruisers, gently weaving together classic elements of jazz with futuristic pads. Though their sound has undoubtedly matured over the years, they’ve always maintained their unique style and upheld a level of sophistication that has led them to become one of the most respected labels of their kind. ‘Life has many stages, and so has our musical journey. Our sound has always been recognisable because it’s deep and emotive, but for sure there’s been an evolution since the beginning. We’ve always had an open mind and a taste for music, and different sounds have shaped our interests along the way. We try not get too influenced by trends though,’ Laurine continues. ‘As a label, although we’ve released different genres, the sound is generally more cohesive. It’s as DJs where we’re often misunderstood. People wrongly assume that we’ll just play music related to the label and our podcasts. We think all music has its moment and we enjoy delivering it at the right time.’ Their podcast series Slow Life Friends has been running for six years now and gives artists a chance to reveal their influences and treasured tracks through mixes and live recordings. So far it’s featured all five members, as well as Berlin regulars including down-tempo maestro E/Tape, Brooklyn export Velasco and TxL of Formas.
In a social media and PR driven industry, the Spanish-Italian collective decided from the start to take a different path to most. Shying away from promo, they learnt to walk before they could run and let their music do the talking, trusting that the quality of their sets and productions would speak louder than anything else. The success of the label and their ever-growing fan base is testament to the fact that their refreshingly relaxed approach works. ‘We are still doing things the same way we have been since the beginning. The only difference is that now, sometimes, we get more attention from the media. The organic growth ethos is still one of our strongest. We’ve never sought any hype or extra attention. We believe that to last, things need strong roots and enough time to evolve naturally to their peak. It’s true that things have picked up in terms of releases, and we want people to hear the music we release, so we try to keep the social media active. We are slowly putting some digital releases on our Bandcamp too. Progressive changes are welcome.’
As seasoned diggers, and with last years gigs taking them to Paris, Barcelona, London and Amsterdam (to name a few cities), they’ve had the pleasure of rooting through plenty of record stores. But, as with many of Slow Life’s core beliefs, their enthusiasm for Discogs as their most reliable tool for discovering new music hasn’t wavered over the years. ‘One of the best things about touring is getting the chance to visit record stores around the world. But most of the time we’re visiting cities where a lot of our colleagues go too, so it takes a stroke of luck to find something really special. We have had some luck, but honestly, the internet/Discogs is still our main source. Sometimes the least expected spots can surprise you though, so give it a try everywhere you go.’
It’s clear when they begin talking about last year, that something in particular stirred some excitement within the Slow Life team. ‘Regarding the label, we would say Sergio’s long awaited LP was a highlight for us. We truly believe it’s a masterpiece and a future classic,’ Laurine reveals with pride. S.Moreira’s first LP, ‘It All Comes Back To Patterns’, was released in July and is arguably his most accomplished release yet. Six years since his debut, and with a range of styles explored in between, this record stands out as a cohesive piece of music, sure of itself, pulling together Sergio’s vast musical knowledge to create something exquisite. His co-production of many of Slow Life’s releases, as well as his solo projects, have clearly shaped his now well-established sound. ‘It All Comes Back To Patterns’ is technically unconventional, fusing together Moreira’s affection for jazz, deep house and broken beats. And it does so seamlessly.
Up next, with his second release on the label is Paolo Mosca. After the success of his first EP ‘La Teoria Delle Stringhe Vol.1’, he’s already proven to be a valuable new asset to Slow Life. ‘He is the latest addition to our roster. A young and very talented Italian, who matches the label’s sound and personality perfectly.’
Check our past premiere of SL016 by Saverio Celestri & Late Consequences