From The Boss to Baz Luhrmann: Five surprise influences behind Slowly Slowly’s new album

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From The Boss to Baz Luhrmann: Five surprise influences behind Slowly Slowly’s new album

Photo by Kyle Caulfield

Behind every record is a web of intricacies, surprising inspirations and little-known twists. 

Leaping headfirst into 2021, Slowly Slowly’s fourth record, Race Car Blues – Chapter 2 is hitting shelves today. The Aussie pop-punks’ 2020 release, Race Car Blues (RCB), was received with wide acclaim, securing the triple j Feature Album spot and hitting number eight on the ARIA Australian Albums Chart. 

Chapter Two was seeded in the makings of RCB and has since taken on a life of its own, evolving into a deeper-focused, pop-infused record. The album’s release comes ahead of the band’s RCB Australian tour which, after being pandemic-postponed last year, is finally set to kick off in June.

Hailing from Melbourne, Slowly Slowly’s ‘anthemic, heart-on-sleeve songwriting’ has struck a strong chord with old and new fans alike.

We caught up with frontman and songwriter Ben Stewart, who let us in on a few surprises behind the making of Chapter 2.


I played the guitar solo for ‘The Level’ on the recording – it’s my first recorded guitar solo. I literally played it until my fingers were bleeding so I could get it perfect. I could never have performed the solo in the video clip like Albert did though, he had us all in stitches.

The best of the last

‘The Best Bits’ was written in 2012, in the same house as I wrote our album St. Leonards. It missed the cut off by two weeks and has been kicking around waiting to get the call up ever since. It’s probably the only song on the record that came from that era, everything else was written in that initial RCB window. I think that’s why this track sounds almost reminiscent of our older songs.

A bit of Baz

‘Small Talk’ was inspired by Baz Luhrmann film ’Romeo + Juliet’ – I knew I wanted to write something that would have fit on the soundtrack. I sat on the music for this song for ages and waited for the right moment to pen something. Then, I had just finished watching the movie and the track came pouring out.

Unrequited jams

We’ve never had the chance to jam ‘First Love’ with Mikaila from Yours Truly on vocals. The track was all finished off via correspondence, so we’re still awaiting the day where we can perform this for the first time together. Maybe at Full Tilt Festival? Mikaila was incredible to work with, I hadn’t even planned a harmony line and she came up with so many great options. The hardest part was choosing what we wanted to go with in the end.

A nod to The Boss

There are two nods at Bruce Springsteen in ‘The Level’ – I mention velvet ribs, which was a line taken from ‘Born To Run’, and a hungry heart from, of course, ‘Hungry Heart’. I went through a massive Bruce binge in the weeks before writing it and the concepts weaved themselves into my subconscious. The track was so fun to write and was the first time Slowly had experimented with some Latin-inspired rhythms. 

Race Car Blues – Chapter 2 is out today via UNFD. Grab your copy here