“I never wanna be thought of as uncool.” This is the hazy hook of “Flight Chief,” the first song on Slugss' forthcoming debut full-length, APPEAL. But with its psychedelic-tinged indie rock sound, a heavy emphasis on guitars and a feeling of musical ease in spite of tricky grooves, it’s impossible for Slugss to not seem cool.
Lukas, the primary songwriter, vocalist and guitarist of the band, began writing the songs for the album in 2015, while he was still living in Austin. He moved back to Pittsburgh late that summer and formed Slugss with his brother and some friends he’d known since attending North Hills High School. In January of 2017, the group took 10 songs to the studio that would become APPEAL.
Lukas had moved from Pittsburgh to Austin for a change of scenery.
“I was craving wider horizons, and I thought Austin would be where I ‘made it.’ Then I realized they don’t need any more guitar players down there,” he says, smiling.
Lukas’ time in Austin wasn’t entirely a bust. He learned from the industry presence, writing for a music blog, seeing and meeting bands.
“It helped inform what I was looking for in a music scene,” explains Lukas. “Moving back to Pittsburgh, I felt more comfortable about where I was and who I was creatively and what kind of opportunities I could take here, rather than there.”
In his songwriting approach, Lukas leans into a lot of feelings evoked by growing up in a house near the forest, spending most of his time in the that natural setting both alone and with groups of friends.
“I’m drawn to very descriptive writing, nature-based writing, with the spirit of existentialist writers," says Lukas. "But kind of tilted with a psychedelic edge to get that cosmic feel to it."
This cosmic feel is present on APPEAL and keeps it from falling into the generic trappings of guitar rock. Instead, the songs feel spacey and fluid, building movements and grooves that are easy to get swept into.
Given that this record is three years in the making, Lukas urges listeners to approach it with a certain mindset.
“This is just the beginning,” says Lukas. “This record is us having fun, but we’re always continuing to evolve, so listen to it as a place in time of where we were at that point.”