With 13 albums up his sleeves, singer/songwriter/composer Christopher Sluka dropped his latest single Christmas Tamales under his artist name Sluka via his own label Steel Flower Music. Sending season’s positive vibes everywhere, Sluka is bringing epic rock tunes back with Christmas Tamales, and today we’re gonna have a chat with him about it.

Welcome to Rock Era Magazine, really looking forward to talking with you!

  • As a multi-instrumentalist besides being a singer and a songwriter, what was your first instrument? and which do you consider your main or favorite one?

My first instrument was a trombone when I was 7, but then I really took to the guitar at the age of 8. After that I kept exploring other instruments like the violin, piano, drums, bass, and many more. But I’m not exceptional with any of them. It really comes down to me trying to express the sounds in my head. For guitars and keyboards my playing is usually right for the song while for other parts I prefer a better musician, to hear how they respond to the song.


  • What were your early influences? and which ones are still shaping your writing? 

Like many musicians, The Beatles, mainly in that they demonstrated that just about anything is possible, that there really is no “formula” to writing songs, at least the ones that I like to listen to. I’m also often influenced by music I don’t like, in that what the artist is doing doesn’t take me to a place I want to be. I don’t want to name such artists. They are much more popular than Sluka. So there are many people who like their music, just not me. But they still influence me in guiding my mind in what not to do.


  •   What are the challenges that came with launching your label Steel Flower Music?  

My first three albums were with a major label and I was fortunate to have achieved enough success after I fulfilled that contract to set up my own label and publishing company with the help of many wonderful people. I went from receiving a 1% royalty to 100%, which allowed me a lot of independence without having to sell a lot of recordings. And I benefit from having a relatively small but signicant world wide audience.

  • How usually does your writing process go? 

They appear in my head when I’m doing something else, like going on a long run. Then I try to reproduce and play the instruments I hear in my mind. And then when I can play the instruments well enough, I make demos for other musicians to then take it a level further for when we go into the studio. For the past 3 albums I’ve been working with producer/engineer Alan Sanderson at his Pacific Beat Recording Studio here in San Diego. He’s great and really helps us get the best performances.

It was Christmas two years ago and Richard Eppink, the brother of Anna Eppink, our bass player, and I were together. Richard was preparing Christmas dinner and he chose to make vegan Christmas Tamales, which I had never heard of. We were in a festive mood and the song just popped in my head. I sat down to the piano and there it was, so I recorded a simple “live version” on my phone. We were still busy with promoting the album “Figure It Out” so we didn’t have time to record it until this year. When we did record it, the main tracks (my lead vocal, drums, and bass) were done in one take. We have an in-studio video of that coming out on Christmas Eve.

  • How would you describe your sound? 

I would agree with many others that it falls into the Alternative Progressive Rock with orchestral elements. What that really means it that just about anything goes. And there are certainly elements of reflection, emotional expression, and a desire for understanding of being human at this time in history.

  • Which song off your catalogue would you recommend for someone who wants to get into Sluka? 

I would recommend “Happy in Your World.” It has all the elements of what I think many would say is that Sluka sound. I like all the songs, which is why they were recorded. But I understand not everyone has the time and interest to listen to more than a few, and would like a place to start.

  • What are your plans for 2024? 

We are finishing the next album and hope to release the first single in January or February followed by the album release in the Spring. If it resonates with the world we will consider a festival tour.

  • Thanks so much for your time, I wish you the best of luck. 

Thank you for your interest. It is very much appreciated.