The Multi-Talented Musician CHRIS SLUKA Opens Up About His Forthcoming Album, ‘Colorful Radiation’ and Much More!
Posted On 04 Oct 2017
Multi-faceted performer, songwriter and aesthetic visionary CHRIS SLUKA is set to release a ten-song visual album, Colorful Radiation, on November 3. It will be available on Amazon in a combination of 3D, 4K and Bluray. The first single is called “Rise.” Colorful Radiation is SLUKA’s 11th studio album to date, and he has a fan base that spans across continents.
To categorize SLUKA’s music as “rock” is an oversimplification. Its often lush, ethereal sounds are a juxtaposition of elements found in classic, pop, gothic, progressive and alternative rock, which has resulted in a very difficult-to-define genre all its own. “Enigmatic rock,” perhaps…?
Multi-talented Christopher Sluka is the embodiment of the term “Renaissance Man,” and is as genre-defying as his music. He’s a songwriter, producer, performer, and multi-instrumentalist (guitar, piano, drums, bass, violin, trumpet, trombone, french horn, ukelele, and synthesizer). He is also a world-renowned visual artist, whose surreal oil paintings have been displayed in galleries all over the US, Europe and Asia. All art aside, Chris also happens to be an aircraft pilot, who owns and operates a flight school in San Diego, CA, and is chief flight instructor. And he’s as a long-distance runner as well.
Knowing all of that about Sluka, it makes perfect sense that he would create a visual album on three formats. “I appreciate when artists really immerse themselves in creating the best work they can,” he explains. “From the initial inspiration, the performance, and the quality of recording. The same holds true for the visuals. 4K, 3D, and Bluray are the best quality for home viewing/listening, and I really wanted to push the envelope. It all just appeared in my head… the songs, the arrangements of instruments, and the visual ideas as well, all at the same time.”
The audio-only version of Colorful Radiation (which is SLUKA’s 11th studio album) was released early this summer and garnered rave reviews:
“Bucking on the zaniness of Stardust-era Bowie mixed with psych folk influence, the accompanying music video for ‘Number One’ is full of erratic, declarative visual stylings that do well paired with the spacey, synth-laden rock-and-roll of the San Diego performer.” For Folk’s Sake (http://www.forfolkssake.com/reviews/35902/video-sluka-number-one)
“if you’re into Bowie, Lennon, and the Talking Heads this will be right up your alley.” – Johnny Taylor, the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/59415538e4b04c03fa26173e)
“Throughout the latest release from San Diego Rocker, Sluka, you can vividly hear a mixture of sounds and vocal stirrings akin to a combination of Kings of Leons, Arctic Monkeys and Freddie Mercury over a musical dose of the sun’s rays that will stamp its mark on your head and heart for days.” – Jessica Golich, Tattoo.com(http://www.tattoo.com/blog/san-diego-rocker-sluka-releases-colorful-radiation)
“Stylistically, Sluka should be tagged as rock, or as rock and pop, since there are pop elements in his music. Sluka is really hard to brand simply because he doesn’t fit conveniently or satisfactorily into any of the pigeonholes that reviewers like to utilize. He’s been likened to Radiohead, David Bowie, Cold Play and Imagine Dragons. To me, those are all legitimate comparisons; however, the one I prefer is The Kinks, with Bowie as front man.” – Randy Radic, Huffington Post
Sluka’s multi-genre musicality and visionary style is poised to appeal to a wide and varied audience. “It’s my hope that this visual release will resonate with people and draw them in; that it may challenge their thinking, and that they can turn to it for sustenance. I also hope they will relate it to their own life experiences when listening, as well as to what they see in the visuals. And I hope it can help them find beauty within the horrors of their own wonderful lives.”
Connect With Chris Here:
IG: @ SlukaMusic
Learn more about Chris Sluka in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you today? Is there music playing in the background?
The pleasure is mine! I am about to hop in my plane and fly over the desert. How lucky is that? No music, just a lot of aircraft buzzing… but that’s a kind of music, in a way.
What music gets you instantly out of a bad mood?
I would say the song that almost always gets me out of a bad mood is “Play that Funky Music White Boy.”
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
I never thought of it that way, I was just always fascinated by the magic of music and how it affects us. Humming the tune “Puff the Magic Dragon” and wondering how it came to be. I was probably four years old.
I always like to ask artists about where they came from and how that city or town has influenced them as an artist now. So how do you think your hometown has affected who you are as a musician and the art that you create?
I grew up an Army brat, moving all the time. I loved it, and I feel quite fortunate to have had such an upbringing all over the world. Well, I have pretty much now settled in sunny and pleasant San Diego, as an adopted hometown. It does affect me in terms of the stark contrast with the darker sounds and styles that I’m drawn to.
Musically, did you approach this year any differently then you did last year? How has 2017 been treating you and your career?
Yes! I had absolutely no idea that an entire new album would just come to me so ferociously. I never take anything for granted. I’m amazed I still have a career. And I’m grateful that anyone would ever take any interest in anything I do.
Later this fall, you will be releasing your ten-song visual album called “Colorful Radiation.” What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you at all about the whole process?
It was enjoyable because it was so specific and yet challenging as to what we were trying to achieve, especially shooting in 3D. That it actually all works even better than imagined.
Can you talk specifically about all the visuals that go along with the songs?
When the album popped into my head, I had a meeting with Eric Bishop, the director of last year’s “Introversions,” to discuss the possibilities of creating the many visual ideas I felt would be imperative for this new visual album. I was encouraged that he was open to shooting in 3D…especially with all the locations I had in mind, including the desert, the ocean, downtown San Diego, and the utilization of my airplanes.
One step at a time, and expecting to run into obstacles that would derail the project, but fortunately never did. Out of nowhere, all the songs appeared in my head, music, arrangements, lyrics… everything… in the order they are… each like a chapter in a book.
What are a couple standout songs on it that you are particularly proud of?
I like them all because they are so interrelated with each other. I think “Rise” is quite timely in today’s polarized environment. “Virga” takes me away. “Number One” is such fun. And I’m still deeply affected when I hear “Metaphor.”
With ten studio albums under your belt, how do you think you have really grown on this newest collection?
I was surprised that I was able to learn some new instruments and play the parts as I heard them. I also did almost all the tracks for each (instrument and vocal) in one take, and without punch-ins or autotune to “fix” anything. That approach really felt authentic to me.
What has remained the same about your style?
I would say, other than the limitations of my voice and musical abilities, there is a consistent exploration of various genres and styles within an overall rock sensibility.
I’m curious to know how your experience as a visual artist has helped you be a better musician? Do you find that you enjoy doing one over the other?
They are one in the same, a creative expression of emotion. No, and it’s not so much enjoyment but rather silencing the demons.
How do you balance owning and operating your own flight school in San Diego as well as a music career?
There is no balance… it is sheer exuberance!
How often do you get to just work at the flight school?
I wouldn’t call it work. I get to fly…. seriously, I get to fly!… in the sky… all over the world!
Not drowning or getting eaten by sharks while filming for the visual album. It was also pretty cool being escorted by a police detail throughout the streets of downtown San Diego while waving a sharp medieval sword at bewildered San Diegans..
Do you have plans to tour at all this fall in support of the album? Where can people see you perform live next?
Currently there are no confirmed plans; I’ve been so involved in finalizing the Bluray and 3D versions of the album. But I would love to tour to raise awareness of this music and the overall message of finding beauty within the horrors of our wonderful lives. Stay tuned.
We are living in a crazy and at times rough world right now so I am curious how you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today?
I wouldn’t call it joy. It’s more like something that needs to be done, such as exercise, recycling, voting… but it is very fulfilling when it all comes together after an emotional frenzy of creativity.
Do you think that new music being created today is going to reflect these hard times?
As in every era, there will be some music that reflects, some music that allows for escape, and some music that is nothing more than soon-to-be forgotten trivial drivel nonsense.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
It’s impossible not to be influenced by every artist we’ve been exposed to, for good or bad.
I have been fortunate to have met some very well known artists throughout my life but I have never wanted to work with them only because we each have our own ideas and inspirations to develop in our own way… however, if Paul McCartney asked me to help him out with a song, it would be difficult to turn him down.
What do you hope fans take away from your music?
A beautiful connection to the emotional reverberations of what it means to be a human being on this planet…. or maybe if they just muse, “Oh, that sounds nice.”
Do you think that your music has a singular overall message at all?
Yes, that we must continue to ask ourselves “Who are we? Why are we here? Why do I feel this way? And isn’t it all so incredibly wonderful in spite of the horrors?”
What advice would you give to a young person who is thinking about becoming a musician one day?
Understand that there is music, and then there is the music business. You immerse yourself in this because you have no choice. You must realize you may never become commercially successful, but it makes no difference, because the real reason you make music is simply that you must. You have no choice, and you are lucky to be so.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your forthcoming music?
Yes,…it’s never been about me. It’s about sharing feelings and ideas that others may relate to in their own lives and help them find sustenance and emotional release, from time to time