It’s my secret agenda in every interview to befriend my subject. And Langhorne Slim certainly made the list. His real name is Sean Scolnick, and he might be the most normal, down-to-earth guy I’ve ever interviewed. In doing my research for his new record, The Way We Move, I realized that we have a lot in common, which is a data-point that will surely help in our future friendship. We’re both Jewish, and we both exited five-year relationships that were subject to long distances apart. Because I’m egocentric, I made sure to ask about these commonalities, along with questions about his joyful, dance-worthy style of music that I’ve fallen in love with. Read below.
Do you refer to yourself as Langhorne, or do your friends call you Sean?
It’s different. Some call me Sean, some call me Langhorne, some call me Seany Boy, some call me Slim. I’ve got lots of names. It just depends on who’s talking to me.
Is it true you wrote this album while mourning a breakup?
I wrote a few of the songs after my wonderful ex and I broke up, but a lot of the songs were [previously] written. [When] we went into the studio to record the record, we had already broken up.
Is it difficult to record in such an emotional place?
It was a difficult period, but it was amazing to have that kind of release, and to feel it in such a raw, immediate way. Instead of leaping off a cliff, I had this creative outlet.
I assume “Someday” is directly about the breakup, right?
The funny thing is . . . we were still together. Maybe you’re breaking-up before you realize it.
Do you ever get a call from an ex who is combing through your songs and wants to know if it’s about her?
They know that it is. I’m a man that hasn’t been with very many women. The last fifteen years of my life I’ve been in relationships. My ex knows exactly what songs are about her, because she heard me writing them.
Is it hard to sing songs that remind you of the time when you wrote them?
When I listen to [this record], it takes me very much back to that time and place, and I think that it always will. But it’s freeing. Even if you’re singing about pain, it’s a blessing to be able to create something that gets me through it. I don’t feel the heartbreak, I feel the release.
You raised the money for this album through PledgeMusic, which requires you to fulfill some very random promises to fans you’ve never met. I know you’re Jewish, and if I told my over-protective Jewish mother about the promises I’d have to fulfill, she’d kill me. Was your mother concerned?
I’m ten years into [my career], and my mother embraces it. [But] I remember the first time we ever got booked in Europe, she said, “Okay, wait a second. You’re going to Italy to play for some random people? How do you know they’re not going to kill you?” [laughs]. Now [my family] gets it. They knew I wasn’t cut out for a conventional job. Thankfully, they supported [me]. [They’re] still neurotic though.
You’ve toured with some heavy-hitters. Before you go on tour, do you think about whether you’ll get along on a personal level?
At this point it’s a little different. We’re in a position of picking who we tour with. [But] when we were going out with other bands, it wasn’t random. It already comes with a bit of a connection. There’s already a respect.
What about in your own band? Is it tough to be in close quarters for an extended period of time?
You learn each other’s eccentricities. It’s very much like a romantic relationship, but the romance is creative and musical.
How do you sustain a romantic relationship when you tour for 8 months out of the year?
I don’t know. People have told me it’s not feasible. But I did it the entire time I was a touring musician. It’s difficult to connect on a day-to-day basis, but I believe in it still. I’m a big, sappy believer in love. I feel like it’s just as difficult in different ways to have a 9to5 job and come home to each other every day. It’s a different set of challenges.
Do you have a favorite song on your new record?
The song that’s really meaningful to me is “A Song for Sid.” I wrote it for my grandfather. I’m very happy with it. You were asking if I’m brought back to the heartbreak or pain of a song that I wrote, and I am brought back [with that song], but in a beautiful way. It’s a tribute to him that he would probably feel proud of me for writing.
Watch below to see the video for Langhorne Slim & The Law’s single, “The Way We Move.” And thanks to Sean for proving that you can be talented and normal at the same time.