Slumber Joe is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and producer from Hawthorne, California in Los Angeles’ South Bay. Inspired at a young age by his musician parents, the 25 year-old artist taught himself to play guitar at 14. He later went on to learn bass, ukulele and vocals. Now an accomplished composer and producer, he made his professional solo recording debut in 2019 with the EP “Hard to Love.”
Like people all over the world, Slumber Joe found himself with some unexpected free time during the lockdowns of 2020. He took that time to reflect on the many significant changes that have affected his life in recent years, from the loss of his father to his recent engagement and the birth of his daughter. Inevitably, this introspection led to music. His deeply personal sophomore EP was born. “In My Mind” is the latest record from Slumber Joe, released worldwide to all major streaming services on October 22, 2021. The five song collection is a smooth ride through soulful grooves, thoughtful lyrics and some really stellar playing.
The record opens with the cool funk and emotional narrative of the track “Pain.” A laid back guitar/bass groove and analog synths set the mood as Slumber Joe sings about the heartache of losing a loved one. The chilled instrumental “Lost” follows with a fantastic 70’s vibe. The track opens with a nice Jazz guitar intro. Soon drums and bass join the mix and lay down a Bluesy rhythm as a trumpet duet drops a vibe that brings to mind the 70’s Pop/Jazz of artists like Chuck Mangione and Maynard Ferguson.
“It’s True” takes a turn into 80’s inspired R&B/Pop. A retro synth rides a syncopated mix of guitar arpeggios, drums and bass. Meanwhile Slumber Joe alternates between a smooth tenor and a soulful falsetto as he delivers a devoted love song. The instrumental “Drifting” is next. A beautiful guitar chord progression rides a modern Lo-Fi/Glitch beat. A rock guitar takes the spotlight with a nice melodic lead. Slumber Joe closes the set with “A Father’s Love,” a heartfelt dedication to his daughter. The song is a great laid back organ and guitar R&B jam.
Check out “In My Mind” below, or listen on your favorite streaming service. You can also hear the track “Pain” on the Deep Indie Dive playlist. We had the chance to chat with Slumber Joe about the record. Check out his answers to our 8 questions below. Follow the links at the end of this article to connect with the artist.
8 Questions with Slumber Joe
Where are you from?
I’m from Hawthorne California. Born and raised.
How long have you been making music?
I have been making music for 4 years and been a musician for 10 years.
Who are the musicians involved in your project?
So in my most recent EP I have three people on the project. The first one is my sister who goes by Elsie Abri as her artist name, and sang backup vocals on the song “Pain.” The first song of the EP. She always adds such an angelic feel to my songs so I was glad to have her on it.
The other two amazing musicians are Chicano God and La Doña who are amazing friends of mine and artists themselves. They are featured on the song Lost which is the second song on the EP. Chicano God played bass and his lovely girlfriend played trumpet! It was amazing to have them help me write one of my favorite instrumentals I ever wrote.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
My biggest musical inspirations have to be Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix, Chris Stapleton, and my Dad of course. Stevie Wonder for his incredible writing and soul in his voice. He changed the way I listen and view music. Opened my ears in ways I didn’t know possible all from analyzing his music. Jimi Hendrix for being one of the most innovative guitar players to ever live. The way he turns simple chord progressions into magical inversions that outline the chord in a more interesting way will always amaze me.
Also the fact that I’m left handed and he is too on guitar really made me feel proud when people would try to put me down about playing “the wrong way”. Chris Stapleton for his powerful voice with so much expression in it. He is my top 3 singers of all time. From the moment I heard the cover “The Thrill Is Gone” on TV he instantly became a massive influence on me.
My dad for being the first person to show me the beauty of the guitar. He played a lot of smooth jazz and R&B and everyone loved it. He was such a smooth player. He was calm and collective when needed and could rip a passionate solo when the time came. Just an amazing versatile player and I will always play guitar proudly in his honor.
What is your greatest non-musical influence?
My greatest non musical inspiration has to be my grandpa Leo. Although he was a musician I looked up to him for his character and what it means to be a father and man. He really shaped the person I am. Showed me what it is to work hard for something and always put your family first. He passed when I was 17 but I will always remember his lessons and stories. Just a man with a heart of gold.
What inspired you to create this project?
What inspired me to create this project are my feelings. I am very in touch with my emotions and expressing them in my music is a therapy that I need as a human. I’ve been through a lot in life. A lot of pain and hardship. Music has always helped me hold my chin up. With the whole pandemic happening I felt lost because I couldn’t perform my music, see live music, or even work at my job at the time which was at Guitar Center. Music is my life and I feed myself inspiration everyday. What inspires me ultimately is to heal and relate to others all through my music and vulnerable lyrics.
What are your plans for the future (musically)?
My plan is to hopefully become successful enough in music to support my family all from my art. I work at a school currently teaching music to special education and I love it with all my heart. I’d want to support the school through my earnings and just all around do my best to make the world a better place. I want a platform so I can make a change. never for greed just to live a comfortable life and hopefully help artists like myself grow and give them a chance they deserve and do good things for communities. I am passionate about being a good person and showing others how they can be too.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
I just want to say thank you so much to all who have given me their time to read this. I hope my interview has reached you in some way emotionally. I am being as open as I can possibly be so that people can see I’m real and passionate about what I do.
I love music and all the healing it has within it. Much love to all the artists out there, music or not. Self expression is one of the most beautiful gifts of life and no one should ever take it for granted. Feel free to message me in the media about how my music made you feel and if you want to work together! I’m all about meeting new artists. Thank you for this interview. It has been an honor!