CHATTERBOX: Slopes talks his debut single, melancholia & the benefits of reading

Newcomer artist Dag Holtan-Hartwig, better known as Slopes, sits down with the folks at Purple Melon to have a chat, following the release of his debut single, ‘Prove Them Wrong’.

– First things first, how are you feeling at this very moment?

I feel happy and dog-tired after an extremely intense release day! 

– For readers who may not have heard of Slopes before, could you tell us a bit about you and your sound? 

My sound is raw, naked, honest, melancholic and uplifting. I like to think that the defining thing about Slopes is the contrast between the happy and the sad. That the music is drenched in melancholia, but also feels uplifting and motivating somehow.

– We love to know the origin stories of artist/band names… what was the thought process behind Slopes?

I’m really fascinated by the things in life that take you on a ride: music, falling in love, alcohol, money, bad relationships, good relationships – anything, really. When you just fall into something and you start going downhill without being able to stop. It could be a bad downhill ride or a good one, but either way, there is something magical about letting go of control and diving into something headfirst. Slopes is all about exploring those emotions.

– You’ve recently released your latest track, ‘Prove Them Wrong’ based on personal experiences, is your own life your main source of musical inspiration?

All my songs are inspired by my life in some way or another, but not every song is biographical. For me it’s not really about the things that have happened, but the emotions or moods that I’ve experienced. I try to express how I’ve felt, rather than why I felt those things. 

 “It’s about a couple in a small town being told by everyone they’re not right for each other. Nobody believes in the relationship, but they’re determined to prove everyone wrong. Things don’t work out, but in spite of it all they arrive at a place of acceptance. There’s a spark of hope in the song: it was a ride, it was intense, but things are fine now.”

– What’s been a highlight of creating this track for you, tell us a bit about your creation process? 

Prove Them Wrong was written with my friend Halvor Folstad and writing a song with him is always a highlight. Partly because he’s a hilarious guy, but mostly because he’s a super talented songwriter. 

My process usually starts on a piano or a guitar. Once I have a little spark of something that sounds intriguing to me, I start recording, producing and writing it out little by little, almost as if I’m painting a picture. I know a lot of people prefer to write the song before they start recording, but I’m a big fan of mixing the writing and recording process. A song is a lot more than just melody and chords, and therefore it makes sense to me to do everything at the same time.

– What inspired you to try out the solo music route? 

I had been working as a songwriter in Oslo for a few years when I decided to try my luck in the US. I thought I had done pretty well for myself – I had worked with pretty much all the big artists in Norway and had gained millions of streams as a songwriter/producer. So, I went to LA hoping to get shit hot meetings and awesome sessions. But instead, I found myself sitting in my apartment writing songs on my own. After doing that for quite some time I started to realize that the songs I was writing couldn’t really be performed by anybody else. If anything, I would have to do them myself. It took a little while for me to really see it, but little by little it became clear to me that I really wanted to go for it – and so, Slopes was born.

– Do you have any tips for fellow musicians when it comes to staying creative during these trying times? 

I think that’s been the biggest challenge over the last year. To keep that creative spark with so little social stimulus. One thing that’s helped me is diving into fictive universes by reading books. It gets my imagination going in a much more active way than watching movies does.

– Last but not least, what can fans and listeners look forward to from Slopes next? 

There are several more songs in the pipeline, but the thing I’m really excited about right now is to show everyone the “Prove Them Wrong” music video, which will come out in a couple of weeks’ time. Spoiler: I’m falling into a hole in the ice, right into freezing water.

Listen to Slopes – ‘Prove Them Wrong’


Follow Slopes on: Instagram

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