Image: Slow Ships by Thea Elder.
Author: Melody Menu
Through the medium of dreamy electro-pop and soulful, poetic storytelling, Sydney artist Slow Ships – AKA Rubaiyat Howlader – explores perceptions of culture and identity. Writing of his parents’ first-generation migrant experience, ‘I Just Want You To Know’ is a song that reaches out to loved ones, acknowledging the shared pressure and reassurance of family life; thanking them for their input along the way.
Howlader says of the track: “In a broad sense, this song is about my need to deconstruct my cultural identity as a person with simultaneously Bangladeshi heritage and being Australian. It is a song about how my siblings and I have needed to traverse the path of re-defining our identity in order to live as Bangla-westerners. ‘And there never was a singer in the family / So how can you think it living in this country / with that colour all over your skin.’ This is how I think we may begin to close the post-colonial wound – through understanding where we come from and forging a new trans-cultural-identity for ourselves.”
This is captured within jittery drum-machine beats and compassionate synth lines, while maintaining the gentle folk stylings of his earlier work, culminating in heartwarming verse. ‘Yeah singing like that in front of everybody / I felt new, ma.’
To Howlader, the song is best summed up in the words of Salman Rushdie; “‘writing is an act of love’, and this piece of writing is an act of expressing love for myself, my family, and my people.”
‘I Just Want You To Know’ by Slow Ships is the first of four consecutive singles to be released this year.