Geelong’s Stefan West speaks with us about self-help and his transformative new single ‘Slow Down World’

  • 5 min read

Australia's very own indie sensation from the coastal city of Geelong, Stefan West has shared the third single from the forthcoming album, 'Cambridge'. Titled 'Slow Down World', the new single promises listeners a boundary-pushing and sensory-stimulating adventure through the realms of indie rock, punk rock, and folk.

Produced and mixed by Chris Gatz at GM Sound Studios and mastered by Joe Carra at Crystal Mastering, 'Slow Down World' is a moving exploration of the human experience when the pursuit of self-improvement collides with the overwhelming chaos of life. To help celebrate the release of the new single, Stefan sat down with us to talk about the new single, his musical journey, and his recent experiences with self-help tricks.

It’s so great to be able to catch up with you, thanks for taking the time to answer some of our questions. Let’s dig right into things, when did you first start making music?

Thank you so much for having me! Yeah, so I started making music as a teenager in my parent's garage, we had a band at around 14 it was a pop punk band called Table 29 (we loved all the bands with numbers in it so we went for that hahaha).”

What inspired you to start your journey into music?

“My dad played so much music growing up, he played trumpet in a band with his older brother and loved throwing parties for just about anything, so I was always surrounded by music. Once I started getting into the pop-punk bands of the late 90’s and early 00’s it was all over it, it was the only thing I wanted to think about or do.”

What influences most define your music?

“Definitely those late 90s/early 00s with bans like Blink-182, Sum 41, my chemical romance, good Charlotte, but as I've continued to get older and widen my own pallet, I love folk and country, the storytelling aspect of those genres really captivates me, and then I love pop to just be able to hear a melody and lyric that makes you want to dance or cry or sing at the top of your lungs in really special. I think they are all meeting somewhere in my own writing process and I think they swing a little heavier in different directions depending on the song and the day.”

Can you tell us a bit about your latest single?

“Yes, This latest single Slow Down World is really just me feeling like I am trying every self-help trick in the book and getting nowhere, you know everyone has the magic “Cure” and everyone seems to know what's best for everyone else, I got to this point where I just felt like everything was so dramatic and I would try absolutely everything and that seemed ridiculous to me.”

“All I really wanted was everything to slow down a little, and the truth I know now is for me to find a little more acceptance of who I was at that point. I love this song because this subject seems so serious and everyone takes their own “healing” so seriously, but the truth is, life is supposed to be both, it should be serious, but it should be light and fun and funny too, we will be ok. Always. And I think it could maybe have a little of that cosmic giggle in the challenge, maybe we could find that acceptance and understanding regardless of all the things we could be doing, we’re trying our best and that's plenty.”

How would you describe your sound on the single?

“A funny line I came up with for the first single was “If Blink-182 and The Killers had a child that was then raised by Keith Richards” hahaha. I'm not sure if that still hits but, definitely a mix between indie, folk, and punk.”

What was your songwriting process? How did it all come together?

“I was sitting in my home studio and wanted to write the most dramatic idea I could around the lengths I would go to, to feel better. I came up with the line, ‘I'd sip on bleach if I knew it would make me a little more pure than yesterday’. And it all just kind of snowballed from there, I was super present in thinking and feeling what it meant to be me searching for more peace in my life at that point and what parts felt dramatic, and what parts felt aligned, and I just ran with it and tried to tell as much truth as I could.”

“Once the structure and lyrics were finished, I got together with Aaron Schembri and he wrote those extra guitar parts, and bass parts and harmonies, my god he makes this song sound good. My girlfriend at the time actually didn’t like the song until he worked on it hahahaha.”

“Then in the recording process, my dad came in and played the trumpet in the chorus’ and bridge/outro which was super special, he is playing on a bunch of tracks on this album and this is definitely a favourite.”

What’s the most important thing for you when you’re writing a song?

“Telling the truth, whatever that may be in whatever way that may be.”

What’s next for you?

“Prep for a big year of releases. I have a huge amount of music coming out in the second half of the year so I'm currently just trying to get prepped and ready for that. And then writing and gigging as much as I can, I've felt super inspired lately and can't wait for all the music I've been writing to go through the same processes that these songs went through, it’s a very exciting part of the process when you can feel the essence of the song, but the collaboration and production haven’t occurred so you have no idea where they’ll end up.”

Do you have anything you would like to say to our audience?

“Thank you for all the love you continue to give me, I can't wait to continue to share as much of myself as I can, and to allow our worlds to continue to intertwine.”

Stefan West takes listeners on an emotional ride, discussing the challenges of managing his mental, physical and emotional health, experiencing highs that touch the sky and lows that sink into the deepest of depths. The song's creation process included a realisation of personal hardships, which were then conveyed with dramatic lyrical and musical collaboration that added levels of dimension.

His upcoming album, 'Cambridge,' delves into his personal journey of resilience and redemption that has led him to this point. As he battles addiction and finds solace in music, Stefan's story unfolds through his authentic and vulnerable songwriting. The album promises to be an intimate look at his journey to recovery and self-discovery.

Aside from his musical endeavours, Stefan West is a passionate advocate of mental health awareness and addiction recovery. He hopes to use his platform to inspire and uplift others who are going through similar struggles, transforming his journey into an embodiment of hope.

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