Friday Firsts: Slow Jail by Max Swan

Headshot Credit: @LukeOBrienCreative | Album Cover Credit: Mike Ryan

A native of the Philadelphia area, Max Swan’s earliest forays into music revolved around jazz. Max’s unique skill set – coupled with his innate ability to break genre boundaries – has resulted in a distinctive “electrosoul” sound that blends the musicality and improvisational spirit of jazz with elements of 21st Century soul, harmony-rich R&B, and contemporary hip hop.

Max’s latest single Slow Jail signals an ambitious leap forward. Born out of a tumultuous period marked by unexpected loss and newfound strength, Slow Jail addresses themes of escapism, grief, self-discovery, and the consequences of the decisions we make. This song and album marks a transformation for Swan, both on a personal level and musically. Adding to the celestial nature of the Slow Jail sound is the Omnisphere. This hybrid synth makes its presence felt throughout the song and album, adding dynamic textures designed to “blow everything out into the stratosphere and suck the listener into a new space, like a black hole,” explains Swan.”I spent days upon days listening to these tracks in as many orders as possible — finding the color and feeling each represents, so that from top to bottom, there is a journey and a message.”

Despite the phrase’s unclear meaning, it was transformative for a grieving Swan. “It was just my mind, but it was powerful. The message didn’t confuse me as much as it impressed me with its beauty — heaven is a slow jail,” says Swan. “I wrote this album as a testament and a thank you to them.”Understanding the significance of the phrase “slow jail,” it seems fitting, then, that this album is introduced by a choir of near-heavenly harmonies singing just that:

Heaven is a slow jail
in my dreams you said to me
Heaven is a slow jail
this don’t make no sense to me

Max Swan will be performing live at Milkboy, Saturday 12/11 @ 7:30pm Click Here for tickets. 



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