What makes Brooklyn band Slowdance unique is actually very simple. Initially formed in 2009 by a collection of friends— bassist Thomas Quigley, keyboardist Luke Fox, guitarist Kyle McKeveny and singer Quay Quinn-Settel— its purpose is to make music its members would like to hear. “We all agreed we wanted to try for pop melodies,” Luke says. “But beyond that we didn’t want into go into it with any kind of set rules or influences. We just wanted to see what would happen when we started playing together.”
Slowdance spent its first year discovering what its members’ mutual influences and disparate individual styles could combine to create. While Quay sings both in French and English due to her childhood split between Miami and Paris, the songwriting is completely collaborative. “It all comes from jamming around during practices together,” Luke says. “We all give each other input. It makes each song stronger in the end.”
From the beginning, Quay wanted to sing half their songs in French because, as she says, “I speak both, why not sing both?” The other band members whole-heartedly agreed, “especially since we love old French pop music”, says Luke. Artists such as Françoise Hardy, France Gall, Marie Laforêt and Catherine Ribeiro heavily influence them.
As their sound was beginning to take shape as a one of a kind combination of New Wave and ’60s French pop, it was bolstered by the 2010 addition of another of Quay’s friends — drummer Sam Koppelman. With the line-up filled out, Slowdance wrote and recorded a 2011 EP, Light & Color, which they released for free via Bandcamp. The release was followed by shows around Brooklyn throughout 2011 and into 2012, as well as weekend tours with artists such as Anika and Caveman.
Now, as Slowdance works on their debut full-length that they hope to release in the fall, the group is releasing a brand new 7-inch single via White Iris. The disc’s two tracks, penned in the same period as Light & Color, reveal the group’s dulcet yet compelling indie pop tendencies, equal parts New Order and Hardy. “Boyfriend,” the single’s A-side is a sparkling pop number infused with a sunny vintage feel. Its B-side, “Airports,” is a sultry, swelling lounge track led by Quay’s winsome croon.
The group, which has received accolades from SPIN and Nylon among other press, continues to fine-tune their collaborative vision in an ever-expanding repertoire of songs. And, in the end, the imaginative, engaging music that emerges could only come from one place: friendship.