In late September, slowsteps was one of five musicians who performed at GRASSROOTS, the arts and music community bash hosted in my backyard.
Slowsteps (Sebastian Storgaard) played a solo acoustic set for the 50 or so community members at the event, although a band sometimes accompanies him. Interesting to note in his band is bass player Róbert Mikael—who also performed a solo electronic set under the name ROBO R1X2 at GRASSROOTS. As he says in the interview below, the scene is small and everyone knows each other.
His sound is chill, slightly dark and lightweight rock, but slowsteps has a playful side too. At GRASSROOTS, he performed a lively cover of “Regulate” by Warren G and Nate Dogg.
I shared some time with slowsteps and interviewed him about his music and connection to Iceland. He also opened up about the music scene, his upcoming album and shared his beliefs on climate change.
What is the story/history behind slowsteps?
The story behind slowsteps dates all the way back to when I was around 15 years old and I first picked up a guitar. I´d always been into sports, but I had an artistic side of me that wanted to get out.
As soon as I picked up my first guitar I never really bothered with learning other people´s songs, I just wanted to write music. I taught myself chords and wrote without anyone hearing my songs. It wasn´t until I was 18 that one of my friends really liked one of my songs. Then, I got some confidence to go out and perform.
The name slowsteps came around that time as well, as it was the working title of a small CD I made. I started performing with a band and as a solo best online casino artists at that time and did so for many years before deciding to record some of my music so I could release it. Sometimes a band, sometimes solo, slowsteps is just evolving without me having too much control over it.
Photo by Inken We
How has living in Iceland shaped your music, songwriting and performances?
Music seems to be in people´s blood here in Iceland. Sometimes it feels like everyone is in a band or learning an instrument here. I think it´s embedded in this country to be in music. There must be something in the air here in Iceland, because through the years it´s the place where I´ve felt most inspired as a songwriter , and I´ve lived in the United States and Denmark too.
As a performer in Iceland, it´s usually easy to get a “first” gig here because most venues are open to new music, and then it´s up to you to draw in crowds. With the influx of tourism in Iceland, more and more foreigners are at shows, and in some ways I think foreigners are much more responsive to new music which is great.
The Icelandic music scene is so small that pretty much everyone knows each other, so it´s often easy to get other musicians to jam with you at concerts or in the studio, which is really cool.
Photo by Tiphaine Magnetiphi
You’re working on your first album, right? Do you have any insights on what we can expect?
Yeah, we are working on an EP as it stands, it might change into a full album. It has been a slow process, too slow for my liking but you just have to be patient. It´s expensive to record an album, so funding is an issue, but hopefully that will be sorted soon.
To be honest I have no idea where this album will go. I feel each song is going in its own direction and I´m still trying to find my sound. I´m influenced by so many things and so much music that it could very well end up being an album with everything from reggae to heavy metal. I haven´t really put a date on when the album will be ready but hopefully soon.
Photo by Scott Shigeoka
Saga Fest focuses on sustainability and the global issue of climate change. Is this issue important to you?
Climate change might not influence me so much as an artist on a daily basis, but as a human being you can´t help but think about it a lot. Both sides of the argument on whether climate change is really happening and whether we as humans are responsible use tactics to further their points and I think it´s very important to each individual to read through all the gibberish and try to come to your own conclusion.
Personally, I think we are dealing with extreme climate change, and sometimes it scares me, not so much for me personally but when I think about what the planet will look like for my children and my grandchildren. This is a very important time in human history. I think we still have a chance to make things better but we are fighting an uphill battle against the ruling elite that seems to care more about making money than preserving nature.