Slum Sociable refine their core sound in their latest EP, ‘L.I.F.’

Slum Sociable refine their core sound in their latest EP, ‘L.I.F.’

Slum Sociable
Words by Tammy Walters

The National Gallery of Victoria returns with its NGV Friday Nights series and it’s bigger than ever. From now until October 12, the series blends arts, culture, history, food and music.

Alongside extended access to the highly acclaimed dual exhibition Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality & Cai Guo-Qiang: The Transient Landscape, NGV Fridays also boasts a stellar lineup of Australian bands and artists.

Melbourne duo, and the minds which brought us ‘All Night’, Slum Sociable may experience some déjà vu among their biggest national tour to date as they return to NGV’s Great Hall on Friday August 30 to be part of the event series again.

“I think the NGV, for us, is a really great resource in Melbourne that we don’t really take for granted. Especially when we’ve been overseas, people have associated Melbourne’s music scene with the NGV because of these shows that they put on, which is really cool for us to hear that,” says one half of Slum Sociable, Ed Quinn.

“We live really close and we’ve played the NGV before. We’re always treated really well and very much looking forward to being a part of the exhibition on a Friday night in August.”

Following their self-titled sophomore album in 2017, Slum Sociable released a five-track EP at the start of this month which they will be presenting at NGV. Titled L.I.F, the duo exercise a level of restraint on this project, returning to the core of their sound for optimal live effect.

“I think that’s what we learnt, just really getting into the bones of songwriting and what is necessary and how much people really have the space for in a song. It’s weird, I sometimes listen back to our album and think sometimes there’s maybe too much there and I feel like as I’ve gotten older, what I’ve really tried to learn to respect and listen out for is concise songwriting with minimal elements in there. So I guess that, hopefully, comes across in the more restrained nature of the songs,” Quinn explains.

“Even when we’re playing them live now, it’s much easier to translate them from studio to live because it’s more refined parts that hold their own and service the song, as opposed to servicing themselves – if that makes sense.”

The clear, concise narrative of the self-produced EP will further complement the atmosphere of NGV Friday Nights, both visually and sonically. Shot by Lisa Businovski and designed by Joey Clough from Two People, the EP artwork highlights the maturity of the piece through soft silhouettes, white space and bold colours. This aesthetic will come into effect in their lighting display, while the simplistic nature of the musical arrangements allow for space and thought.

“We’ve got a really cool team of artists that help us, because we’ve got a lot of loose ideas that don’t really make sense, and they’re good at refining that and then presenting something that we can go out with.”

“Sonically, it’s all kind of dark and brooding but also upbeat and I think we were more into dancey tracks, I suppose – that might not come across, but I guess it has a really nice blend of stuff on this EP,” Quinn says.

“I think this batch of songs really lends itself to the backdrop that the NGV will be doing and we’re very excited to play them live.”

Slum Sociable will perform as part of the NGV Friday Nights series on Friday August 30. For tickets and the full program, head to the NGV website.