Grammy winner Tom Korkidis is Slowall.
Born in Greece, Korkidis grew up listening to everything from Debussy to The Beatles to Genesis, influences that ended up instilling in him a profound love for music and performing. Learning to play multiple instruments, he explored a range of styles including jazz and classical before going on to produce, record, and tour as a member of various indie rock bands.
Slowall is Korkidis’ latest project, and it’s built on a blend of hazy, synthy ‘80s pop and indie rock paired with hip hop rhythms, not to mention some pretty delectable hooks. The singer-songwriter contemplates themes like romance and getting older while exploring a variety of emotions and personal experiences throughout the six tracks included on Slowall’s debut EP Destroyer, getting straight to the point through honest lyrics without beating around the bush.
Korkidis broke down Destroyer track by track exclusively for Musical Notes Global. Check out his thoughts below.
When I was brainstorming the art for this collection of songs with designer Tom Kershaw, I gave him these little fragmented playful descriptions of each song. For Black Eyes I simply wrote “crushing on a girl in Mykonos; girl is a saboteur”, which is quite literally the simplest way to describe it. There are these other dream-like descriptive elements like having a seam drawn on your gut and releasing the bugs but in general this song is about exchanging glances, relinquishing control to the object of one’s lust, your mind spiraling, and potentially misreading a situation at your own detriment – all with the background of a beach paradise! There is also this idea of who is the victim and who is the victor when it comes to perception of truth.
This song plays out like a movie in my head. If you could picture the aftermath of a teen party run amuck, with each scene of that party described – a snake in a pool, a car crashed on the front lawn filled with balloons, a downed kite on a roof, kids passed out everywhere, waking up with a killer hangover to the sights and sounds of a drag queen parade, etc. It’s basically Less Than Zero if it took place in a rich suburb of New Orleans with a bit of existential crisis sprinkled on top. I think everyone can relate to staring up at a ceiling during a hangover and contemplating one’s own choices/existence (haha!) which is basically the line “…sucked through the white of this ceiling”
I had these images in my head of a post-apocalyptic world, or a world on the cusp of chaos, not unlike “Y: The Last Man” where women ruled, and most men had died off. In this case, a young woman seizes a battleship, makes herself captain and joy rides on the open sea. In a lot of ways, it’s a bittersweet ballad for a faceless vigilante queen, formerly of vanilla suburbia, with a little bit of humor thrown in – “Never find a priest to marry her…”. On top of it all there’s this notion of perceived identity as in - who are we to ourselves and to others, what versions of us shines through and how we all can be complex little contradictions; “Spits sugar through her teeth/won’t sing me something sweet”
I wrote this song for my dear friend Angela as a type of letter about getting older, the idea of home and not worrying too much about it all because in the end “the worrying” doesn’t serve any positive purpose. Every East Coast type has an East Coast friend who decided to move west and then tried to convince the rest of us to follow them. In a lot of ways, this is about Los Angeles and my conflicting ideas about it – the allure and the resistance. There is the obvious abundance of sun and the prevalent carefree nature, but there’s also this notion that youth can be held onto for as long as possible if you have the financial means to alter and modify yourself, which makes the entire enterprise a kind of a “playhouse”. Not that “Los Angeles” is uniquely privy to this self-modification behavior but it’s certainly more visible with the proximity of Hollywood.
This is the closest thing I’ve ever written to a “Summer Love Song”. It’s basically a line by line description of a brilliant first date at a hidden pond in the woods in August. Night swimming, shooting an ungodly number of fireworks off a dock, talking all night, shivering from being wet, walking through the woods, fogging up the car windows with a first kiss, and being nervous about someone who doesn’t realize how special she is. A kind of throwback to 50s pop songs about summer camps.
This batch of songs all have locations tied to them in my mind. This one is split into two – New York and Cairo. In each city, there’s a main female character; in New York a model type partier who doesn’t take shit, while in Cairo a sneaky mid-century assassin – both unattainable and unmovable to the average dolt. “He can never turn them on”. My friend Sarah Rabdau, who sings with me on a lot of these songs, made the joke of “The Box” referring to the obvious slang for female organ, to which I joked it was more about coffins and being buried alive, but in actuality “The Box” to me represented the duplicity of confinement and freedom when it comes to the parameters of anything in life. “But when the box claims me, I won’t be looking for love”
Listen to Destroyer below.