Q&A — Slow Joy Talks Trusting Your Instincts and Playing Loud Rock Music Ahead of Black Buzzard Show

Texas-based solo innovator Esteban Flores — better known as Slow Joy — makes music that feels deeply familiar, like something that became entwined with your chemical makeup when you were young. With shoegaze-y verses that build into towering, soul-tearing choruses, the music feels like being ripped apart on a subatomic level and put back together again, outwardly the same but forever changed beneath the surface. It’s the type of music that sets your very being on fire, every particle that makes you who you are alive with the lives you’ve lived before and the promise of new iterations of yourself to come. It’s evolution, the pain and anger that lives within you transformed into growth, and it really fucking rips in more ways than one.

303 Magazine recently spoke with Slow Joy ahead of his 3/29 show at the Black Buzzard about starting a musical project on your own, allowing yourself to trust your instincts when creating, what to expect from a Slow Joy show and more.

READ: Q&A — Horse Bitch Revel in the Absurd on New Single

303 Magazine: To start, how did Slow Joy begin as a project? Have you always been a solo artist or have there been other more collaborative projects that have informed your current work?

Slow Joy: Slow Joy formed pretty organically. After failing to make my way in several bands, I was pretty sure I was never going to do music in any serious way. While in counseling, I was encouraged to use music as more of an outlet for my emotions than a career pursuit as it had been in the past. After making the music, I figured I’d share it since it meant so much to me.

303: Can you talk a little about your early experiences with music? How did you start playing and when did you decide to pursue it as a career?

SJ: I grew up idolizing anyone who played music. As soon as I could play a few chords on a guitar, I wanted to start a band. I just love every aspect of the job.

303: Your music feels so visceral, raw, with lyrics that feel deeply relatable while still remaining notably enigmatic. Can you tell me a little bit about your songwriting process?

SJ: Thank you! I try to chase the feeling I got when I wrote “Crawling” alone in my room. If I don’t get that same “this-is-something-special” feeling, I don’t release the song. It’s important to me to be able to stand by the music I write 10 years from now as passionately as I do now.

303: What informs your music? Is it other artists, books, movies, games, people, life experiences? What do you draw from when making songs?

SJ: All of the above. I’m constantly looking to refill the well.

303: Your songs feel very polished and well put together from a production standpoint. What does the recording process look like for you?

SJ: For this last EP , I worked with a dream producer, Mike Sapone. He’s the reason the songs sound as polished and huge as they do. I just work here.

303: This is a broad question that I like to ask artists to see whatever might come to mind but do you have a philosophy when it comes to creating?

SJ: The best creative work comes from a state of flow. Don’t overthink things while creating them — just be open to what the universe is sending your way. You can always edit later.

303: You’re playing the Black Buzzard on the 29th. What can people expect from a Slow Joy show?

SJ: Loud rock music.

303: Finally, is there anything else you’d like to plug or anyone you’d like to shout out?

SJ: Shout out to my homie Rooney. You’re the realest, for real.

Get tickets to Slow Joy’s show at the Black Buzzard here!