Why do we listen to music? We all have our own answers, but for many of us it’s about wanting something to relate to, something to make us feel less alone. If you’re a dedicated fan of alternative or indie rock, you may not have thought to explore music of the EDM variety. Artists like The Chainsmokers have brought these sounds to the masses, and if you’re looking to dive a little deeper in to the genre- or if you’re a first-timer looking to test the waters of EDM- Slushii’s new album Out of Light might be the emotional dance music you didn’t know you were looking for.
Slushii – whose real name is Julian Scanlan – grew up in the Philadelphia suburb of Mount Laurel, New Jersey. The 20-year-old DJ / producer was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at a young age, and had a hard time making friends. He was bullied and grew up an outcast, but in his darkest moments, took solace in music. “Step by Step” sees him seeking a place of comfort “where the world can’t touch me”; he’s now heading full-circle and offering that same reprieve to his fans.
Out of Light begins with a feeling of profound hope, as the spoken intro to “Into the Light” speaks of “the light that remains a beacon of hope for generations to come.” As the intensity builds and then drops there’s also a sense of wistful nostalgia with the line, “Don’t you ever wish you could go back?”. The nostalgia turns mournful on “I Still Recall”, an emotional journey through loss where he acknowledges that “I can feel it all.”
Not liking yourself is a difficult feeling, and while we understand we’ve all been there at one point or another it’s still a lonely place to find yourself. On “Someone Else” Slushii sings (and yes, it’s him singing underneath the pitch-shifting) of wanting to “escape from this prison cell.” That desire for escape is something he returns to once more on “Fly High”, though this time it’s from a hopeful perspective, as he speaks of a desire to break free of what’s holding him back from reaching his dreams. The track opens with a piano intro that’s simple yet holds a feeling of longing; it’s one of many instances where Slushii melts together several emotions, sliding between them with ease.
We live in a confusing time where the search for clarity and hope can be overwhelming, which is an experience explored on both “My Senses” and “Reason.” Through all of our frustrations, sometimes the best thing we can do is to let our emotions flow, and on “Dear Me” Slushii tells himself that “it’s okay to shed a tear” while confessing that he’s “coming undone.” When we’re frustrated, permission to let it all out can be just what we needed, allowing us to move forward. The final two tracks speak from the perspective of the older and more experienced friend speaking to someone in distress, and with the closer, “Out of Light”, he leads the way, offering, “So follow me, I’ll guide the way/ And I’ll show you how to dive.”
There’s something primal about electronic music that also makes it deeply human. Out of Light speaks to emotions and experiences that many of us go through, and proves Slushii’s ability to reach listeners new to electronic music and those that didn’t even know they were looking for him. Perhaps music won’t let us escape the pressures of society or our own inner demons, but whatever we’re going through, it can provide a sense of comfort- or at the very least, give us a chance to dance.
If you want to catch the “feelsy” DJ for yourself, Slushii has several upcoming performances, including a set at Electric Zoo in New York on September 3 and one at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado on September 29. See a full list of his upcoming shows and keep up with all things Slushii on his Facebook and Twitter.