Slow Dancer Shares Songs That Put Him “In A Mood”

Melbourne, Australia’s Slow Dancer – the moniker of singer, songwriter and multi- instrumentalist Simon Okely – recently announced that he signed with ATO Records and made his U.S. live debut. Now there’s another, fully fledged North American tour in support of his new album, In A Mood, – an album of smooth funky, sweet guitar licks and lyrics that opens hearts.

An album that echoes with the influences of Okely’s heroes, In A Mood is a clear love letter to the indie rock rhythm and blues records heard in his parents’ car – but this thing is served on a bed of more smoothly refined funk beds, and songs that sits above many peers in the contemporary scene.

ARTISTdirect caught up with Simon Okely to discuss his musical memories and gain some insights into the tunes that shaped In A Mood. Here’s what he said…

First single I bought…

I went straight for an album, I bought Michael Jackson’s Dangerous with all the money I had in the whole world. Michael taught me the excitement of music. I still get it to this day, it keeps me up late.

First live show I attended…

The first one that was mine, and not my parents taste; Silverchair – the Freakshow tour of 1997 – Perth Entertainment Centre. My friend Tristan’s Father had to come with us so we could get in. Daniel Johns was wheeled onto stage inside a wheelie-Bin. He popped out in a dress, and I knew instantly what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

First song I learned to play…

“Moon Shadow” – Cat Stevens. Thank You Maria Woodhouse for teaching me. I don’t use more than 3 chords to this day.

The song that encouraged me to learn my instrument of choice…

“That’s alright” – Elvis. That 68’ comeback special version – oh boy- I was 6 years old – it was on VHS – In case you where ever wondering, that is what cool looks like.

The song that reminds me of home…

“Wide Open Road” – The Triffids. Beyond the band being from my hometown, the song actually sounds like the place I grew up. It’s sparse, beautiful, with a sinister resonance running right through it.

My guilty secret track…

Ryan Adams’ music is a polarizing topic in my circle of friends, I once did, but now don’t feel guilt about my passion for his music. “Do you still love me?” is my current anthem. I’m also listening to Lady Gaga’s – “Diamond Heart” on my jogging play list. Again, no guilt, just bliss.

The song I wish I wrote… AND the finest song from my all time hero…

“Sweet Thing” – Van Morrison

The song that should be played at my funeral…

Thank you for asking this excellent question! I have always wanted “Everything is F***ed” – Dirty Three. This song sounds like how I see life; torturously beautiful, and funny as hell. Plus I want people to be hypnotically distraught, none of this ‘celebration of life’ bulls***.

My favorite track from my most recent project.

I’m really proud of a song called ‘I Would’ – it’s the next single from ‘In A Mood’ out June 9. I used a very precious violin on it. It’s not with me anymore. I will miss that Violin a great deal.

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