Napa-based musician Pete Davies is best known in the North Bay for his indie-rock and pop projects The Buttercream Gang and Kowa. Now, Davies is taking his conceptual music in a new direction under the name Slippery People.
On Friday, April 23, Slippery People releases its debut record, Fandango, which boasts both danceable electronic textures and laid-back, contemplative acoustic moments.
“I wanted to write about something good and make it not absolute saccharine cheese,” Davies says in a statement. “This album was inspired by one transformative day spent enjoying nature in Northern California about three years ago.”
Fandango is full of themes of rebirth, redemption, and communing with nature and the people you love, but it’s far from the sunshine and smiles that define bubblegum pop. Amid the dance beats, there’s plenty of introspection and depth in Davies’ songwriting.
Even on the album’s exuberant lead single, “Sweat,” Davies sings about existential crisis with lyrics like, “I’m not giving up / I’m not going to give it up / To the voices in my head / That tell me that I’m better off dead.”
Davies chose the name Slippery People as more than just a nod to one of his favorite Talking Heads songs.
“I feel like that word in particular, ‘slippery,’ gave me license to be more fluid as a musical artist, to not be pigeonholed into one genre or style,” he says.
The result is a genre-bending blend of music that calls to mind influences ranging from LCD Sound System to Fela Kuti.
Though he has been writing the album for the better part of the past three years, Davies–who works as a middle school teacher in San Francisco–really kicked production of Fandango into high gear this past year while isolating due to the pandemic.
Davies also tapped into his multi-instrumental musicianship to record vocals, bass, keys, drums and guitar himself in addition to horn sections and marimba parts that were recorded remotely.
“It’s not about people seeing how great of a musician I am,” Davies says. “It’s about serving the song.”
The album is being released through Davies’ own label, Pitted Records, and Fandango goes live on Friday, April 23, with a virtual album release show via Zoom at 7:30pm.
Viewers will experience the album in its entirety with performances and special guest appearances, as well as visual art made specifically for the event and projected live onto the stage.
The event will also include interactive activities for those in attendance. For those who aren’t able to attend the show, the recording will be uploaded for viewing the following week. Register for the free album release event via Zoom here.
Get more info on Slippery People at linktr.ee/slipperypeople.