In September 2017, 2 Slices burst onto Charleston's music scene with their debut album Best Believe. In no time, they were something of a star in the city's independent music community thanks to their polished, club-ready electronic pop sound, and frontman/songwriter Danny Martin's emphatic live performances. It was like they had been here for years. But, after a successful run of shows and praise from around the city and the state, 2 Slices seemingly vanished from the local music circuit almost as quickly as they had arrived.
Now, almost two and a half years after the release of Best Believe, 2 Slices are back with Vision of 2, a full-length album available now for stream and download. Believe it or not, the whole time 2 Slices was out of Charleston's public eye, they were writing and building this new album.
The songwriting process for Vision of 2 began in August 2018, according to Martin, while the album's recording and production process occurred throughout 2019. "We stopped playing shows for a while so that I could write," Martin says, "then in the studio it was almost like layering a cake. Some days we would run through all of the songs and then run through them again."
Martin cites mainstream pop music, specifically artists like Frank Ocean, Madonna, and Robyn, as influences for the album and 2 Slices in general. While it may not sonically emulate the slow-burn dreamscape of Frank Ocean, the thematic elements and creative thought process behind Vision of 2 has a clear parallel to his albums.
"This is very much a heartbreak record," says Martin. "I was trying to take my songwriting more seriously and focus more on lyrics and vocal melodies. My last record was more playful. We had songs like 'Big Girl' and 'Fuck the Haters,' songs about having a good time. [Vision of 2] was more lyrics about what I'm going through. I want to go for heartbreak on the dance floor. I wanted to make an epic club album."
After all, what could be better for a near-Valentine's Day release? It's a holiday of love and celebration while also being filled with heartbreak and regret.
"I want people to enjoy this and relate it to their own lives and their own personal heartbreak and how they can bring it into how they're growing as people. I consciously wrote it in the first-person so that people can sort of put themselves into it," Martin says. "I like it when music allows people to feel like it's about them. And it was therapeutic for me, personally. Music will do that. I was very isolated for this record. It's the most personal album I've ever written and I had a clear idea of what I wanted to write about and get out."
The album was produced by Wolfgang Zimmerman at Rialto Row Studios and boasts an all-star band of local musicians including Brett Nash of Secret Guest on bass, Nic Jenkins of Infinitikiss on drums, and solo artist Grace Joyner on keys. As always, DJ Lazercat is a major player in the band, especially at live performances. "I really appreciate the energy that everyone gave to have this thing keep going. It makes me write more knowing that people are behind it and support it," Martin says.
But even with that phenomenal backing band and production assistance, Vision of 2 is very clearly Martin's album. It's brave for an artist who prides himself on making dancefloor pop music to make an album that stays true to his roots while also bearing an open wound for the listener to see and hear. For fans of 2 Slices, everything they've come to love is all here, but Martin has a little more to say directly to you this time.
Music that combines the energy of a club with the dolor of heartbreak is not necessarily a new concept, but Danny Martin has put his own twist on it. While you're dancing to this album at a 2 Slices show, just know that it's an album born of sadness, but it wasn't all gloom that created these songs. In Martin's own words, "I'm going through these times now but things will soon get better."