Myles Sloniker is an American bassist and composer who lives in New York City.
During the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent quarantine, Myles spent his time on a wide variety of creative endeavors. Below are the pandemic chronicles of that time.
Briefly, a little about me:
The Jacob Joliff Band
In July 2018, I began touring with the Jacob Jolliff band—a phenomenal progressive bluegrass quartet featuring what I believe are some of the finest and most creative young instrumentalists you’ll find anywhere. This group not only forced me to dig more deeply into American folk music’s history and repertoire, but pushed me to strengthen my singing ability and playing in that style. Every tour with this group of outstanding musicians has left me inspired and motivated for weeks afterward.
In August 2019, I traveled to the Dominican Republic with my good friend the pianist Marcio Garcia for the 5th annual Restauracion jazz festival where we met the legendary conga master Giovanni Hidalgo, who asked us to join a new trio with him that same night. In December of 2019, we began the process of recording an album with this trio. Tour dates and further recording were in the works, but were postponed due to the pandemic. Though certainly not as rewarding as playing with this band in person, we’ve begun to get the necessary recording equipment in place to continue to collaborate over long distances. Be on the lookout for music from this trio soon!
A New Normal
Although I’ve experienced my fair share of depressive practice slumps on the bass during this pandemic, I’m happy to report at the time of this writing, I’ve found a pretty good balance and sense of motivation to keep improving. Like a lot of artists during this time, I’ve dipped my toes into recording music from home and collaborating with other musicians doing the same. Even when done perfectly, long-distance recording can’t perfectly replicate the ‘feel’ of playing in the same room with someone, but if nothing else, these collaborations and projects have kept me practicing and allowed for new and beautiful music to be made despite the challenging times that we’re collectively living through.
“Bass Solo for Yoonmi Choi”
“On the deck in Divide, Colorado”
A Return to Guitar
Sometime in the last year or so, I got back into playing guitar, which has been a really rewarding thing to spend time on. The simple joy of playing an instrument solely for oneself without being wrapped up in the ego that sometimes unfortunately can be associated with the instrument that one plays for a living has been a really soothing pastime for me. I’m unpolished and still not able to reliably nail everything I’m going after, but it’s fun and humbling and a nice reset.
“Failing to Get the Perfect Take”
Episodes 1 and 2 of Myles Sloniker working through Bach on a guitar available now only on the OtHArts’ Alcove:
I also wrote an original guitar instrumental called “Arthur’s Rock” named for a favorite overlook in Lory State Park.
“Car Alarm Serenade”
I’ve been pretty serious about cooking for a while now, with the collection of new cuisines, recipes, and methods being a treasured aspect of the traveling that I do for music. But the quarantine has definitely fueled my creativity in that area in ways I would never have thought would happen without all of the non-negotiable free time.
What began as an interest in cooking and baking quickly gave way to a host of foods, particularly fermented and “living” projects like sourdough, kombucha, ginger beer, ricotta, mozzarella, yogurt, kimchi, and home-brewed beer and wine. Beyond the gratification that comes from learning and pursuing these projects, the most rewarding result has been sharing all of these creations with loved ones as a way to contribute and spread some happiness.
Ravioli from scratch including homemade ricotta, pasta dough, and tomato sauce.