WOMEN OF NOTE:
Sloan Peterson | Musician
Despite her gentle re-direction, there are more parallels to draw between Sloan the artist and Sloane the inimitable 80’s icon than she is humble enough to admit. As elusively cool as her nom de plume, Sloan Peterson began 2020 like many of us - on the cusp of indecision. Torn between leaving the music scene and applying to study Psychology at Uni, or continuing to play gigs to earn her rent. Instead she decided to work hard on her sound, moving away from her formative punk rock roots to form a more melodic and nostalgic sounding pop album - a new direction she is growing into. Releasing new work at the end of last year, she is known for blending her introspective lyricism with stylistic elements of 60’s French rock and modern pop, though her official genre seems to be ever-changing. Her home is perhaps the best metaphor for the past year of her life, a calm and organised sanctuary that nourishes her abundant creativity. Spending her days writing, she seeks commonality in her journaling, extracting pestering notions before shaping it in to a song. We spoke with Sloan (aka Joe Jackson) about using music as medicine and the fulfilment of baking from scratch from her light-filled studio by the sea.
Sloan wears the 03 set in mustard.
Location: Cremorne Point
Date: 17/11/20 Time: 10.13pm
Where are you from and where are you now?
I am originally from Brisbane, but since moving from there at 16 I've lived in basically every suburb of Sydney and Byron for a short while.
Can you tell us a little about your home, where is your favourite place to sit?
My current home is a studio apartment, I live by the water, with beautiful pools by the harbour - it’s very calming and quaint. I love to sit by my window, plan my weeks, do yoga, bake and cook yummy food but I'm trying to remember to play my piano and guitar more often, lately I've been a little distracted.
You first released a single under the moniker ‘Sloan Peterson’ in 2017, before this you were the front-woman of punk band ‘The Black Zeros’. How long have you been making music?
I picked up the guitar when I was 16 living in Cronulla, it somehow came fairly easy to me I guess, the first song I taught myself was 'Girl' by the Beatles. Playing music is interesting to me, it's not necessarily how great you are at your instrument to be successful, I mean of course being great at your instrument is incredible, but it's also how you convey emotion or narrative, even in a simple way — I like that.
Merging stylistic nuances of 1960’s French rock and modern electronic pop, what has best informed this sound in your music?
I’m not exactly sure how I would describe my genre or style, but I love to listen to a-lot of instrumental music, and french music. Lately I've been making playlists of pop music so I can learn more about how they write melodies like that, it’s fairly new to me, and fun to experiment with different styles out of my comfort zone.
Sloan Peterson the character was an iconic 1980’s darling. What parallels do you draw between Sloan Peterson of the 80’s and Sloan Peterson the artist?
Haha! Literally nothing except brunette hair, I even accidentally spelt it wrong. I already had the name as my personal instagram while I was in black zeros and a-lot of people call me Sloan so it just stuck.
Was there a significant moment that inspired the trajectory of your musical career?
I was going to stop playing music actually at the start of this year, I had applied for uni to study Psychology, but I was playing some pub gigs at the end of last year to pay rent, and I made a joke, called out my now manager on a tinder date (he was just with a friend) but he thought it was funny and really believed in me. We then worked insanely hard together this year for me to write, record all the new music, the clips and the releases. It's been a wild year... but I'm excited to continue the journey - I'm now just taking each day as it comes.
Your latest single ‘Nightmare’ questions the construct of being the ‘bossy’ woman rather than being the ‘assertive’ or ‘driven’ woman. What message would you like to be taken from this?
I really am so far from perfect, or even in a position to give advice to anyone as I'm still making mistakes, a-lot of them and learning as I go. I think the one thing I want people to take away and learn is to believe in themselves, don't hold back or be afraid to make those mistakes or have those hard conversations. Continue to stand up and show up even when it can be so tough.
Obviously the past year has been hard for everyone, but especially the arts industry. What have the events of this year given to your perspective on what you are trying to achieve as an artist?
The hardships of this year has given me the perspective that when the going gets tough keep striving and growing and wanting to learn. Change is inevitable, we as a society have to learn to adapt with the change, even when it looks useless.
You’ve described songwriting as ‘therapy’ in the past. Can you talk to us a little about your writing process?
It's interesting living through this technology era, living through online filtered lives. What people probably have no idea from observing my socials is the struggles I face every day like everyone, feeling scared, or anxious, or the past I led, which included violence & emotional abuse, drug & alcohol abuse moving around more than any normal person should, guilt shame, mental illness. Like most people I have traumas but music is the only prescription that seems to really work for me. I try to leave it behind but then some thing will just come to me in a dark time or light, and feel like a therapy session. I journal most days, try to daily and that is a massive part of my writing process.
Outside of music, how else do you fill your time?
Music really is my only vice, but I work at a button shop and I love to go on bush walks and be in nature, or being on the road in a van, although my guilty pleasures is trashy reality TV like house wives of NYC or the Kardashians.
We have all been spending more time at home than ever. Have you perfected any recipes of late, and if so could you share it with us?
I like to cook healthy cause I eat a lot, so it doesn't make me feel as bad if I'm making everything from scratch. At the moment i've been making these banana oatmeal pancakes that I love... sometimes I put them in a muffin tray too. So yummy and simple. I also just got an air fryer that I cook EVERYTHING in like EVERYTHING.
What is your favourite podcast?
Joe Rogan interviewing Miley Cyrus, also the dollop is great for history and humour, but I listen to a lot of self-development audiobooks, haha.
Do you uphold any self-care rituals when you are on tour?
It’s kinda hard to when on tour, I would always carry around frankincense oil, cause you can use it as a remover and a moisturiser so I'm not carrying much around with me. Also never leave without dry shampoo.
What is next for Sloan Peterson?
I have a EP ready and waiting for be released, but just taking the roll out as it comes.
Complete this sentence, “A good nights sleep is...”
A sleep without dreams... or nightmares.
Interviewed by Rose Erdelyi for Deiji Studio’s Field Notes