The Slow Readers Club are a four-piece indie band from Manchester. Their songs are fuelled with regret and melancholy, but also at the heart of their music is that of hope and change, giving their music an uplifting quality also. Their music swells in luscious orchestral formations and it also is very danceable and anthemic. The Slow Readers Club are currently in the process of writing and recording some new material, some of which will be available very soon and they’ve got a very special gig coming up this week in Manchester on Saturday 31st August at The Factory with Puppet Rebellion and Catfish and the Bottlemen, which promises to be a great night of good music.
I caught up with the band last Friday before their blinder of a headline set at The Royal Oak pub in Chorlton, as part of Scruff of the Neck Record’s weekly live night there. We talked about the new material they are currently working on and everything else in between.
You’ve been in the studio recently working on some new material. When can we be expecting to hear it and has your sound matured since your debut album?
Aaron Starkie (lead vocals): Well, the début album, I’d imagine like most bands that have a début album, was written over a longer period of time than the material we are doing at the moment, so some of the tracks on the album are quite old really, but are valid. But this time, I think it’s been a bit more focused and I guess there’s a maturity to the sound because we’re older [laughs].
But definitely the way we are going is more current. We’re really proud of what we’re doing so far. We’ve got five tracks done so far, because we work in the day, we kind of work around that, we get it done when we can. Hopefully, we’ll have an album’s worth by 2020 [laughs]. I don’t know, but it’s gone pretty well so far and the producer we’re working with is really good. But it is different, but not different totally. Different good.
The next single is going to be, Forever In Your Debt, is this a good introduction to your new material?
Aaron: Yeah, I think so. But I mean it is, like the first album really…
James Ryan (bass): It’s an old track..
Aaron: Yeah, there will be different moods on the album.
Kurtis Starkie (guitar, vocals): We’ve recorded three tracks initially and none of the tracks are particularly the same. I suppose it’s a bit of a progression but there’s nothing dramatic, no big dramatic changes.
Aaron: But we’re really proud of that one though, so if the rest of the album can come up to that standard. I think there’s one or two at the moment that we probably think are there, then we’ll be more than happy. But to me anyway, I can’t speak for everybody, but I think that is kind of a blueprint, like the bar, that we want to meet. It might be that people prefer the other stuff that we’re doing more than that one but we’re proud of Forever In Your Debt and that’s why it’s going to be the first single.
When it comes to writing the songs, is it a collaborative effort and where do you get your inspiration from?
Kurtis: Jim does it all. [laughs] Jim just comes in with them finished, he’s a bit like Paul McCartney. I wrote it last night in my sleep and I woke up with Forever In Your Debt in my head [laughs], something like that.
No. They all come in different ways. Sometimes playing in the rehearsal room, it might just start with a synth part or we might start with a beat and a bass line. Obviously, he’s got to find a melody over it or else it’s not going to see the light of day basically.
Aaron: Most of the time we practise after work, and sometimes I can be a bit fatigued and I have a limited attention span, after like an hour I’m bored and with writing especially. We had a really focussed two day writing session, which we kind of got eight ideas out of that and we’ll probably do the same when we come to do the rest of the album. If it ends up being an album, we might end up doing EP’s, I’m not sure yet. But we’re probably best when we go and take a few days off and really focus on writing.
Kurtis: It just happened really well that time, you can’t force it. You can take a week off and not come up with a decent tune. It’s just sometimes you’ve got a bit of inspiration.
This is your first gig in Manchester this year. Why did you wait so long to play a live show again here?
Aaron: We had a line up change. Say hello, Dave.
David Whitworth (drums): Hello.
Aaron: David, sorry. [laughs] I call him Dave because I’m rude and ignorant. David joined us in…when was it?
David: May time.
Aaron: Basically, Neil Turvin. Who was our drummer on the first album decided to leave like early…When was it?
James: I can’t remember. But David covered for him a couple of times.
Aaron: Yeah, David covered for him a few times at live gigs. Kurt’s worked with him in other bands before, so it was like a natural thing really. So, we got David, then pretty quickly after that we were recording.
Kurtis: We started in May time and we’ve got like three tracks finished and a couple on the way, it’s pretty good going.
Aaron: And we wanted to come back with new stuff.
Kurtis: Because he’s a different musician, different person, that’s going to add a different element to the band as well.
What’s a Slow Readers Club show like?
Aaron: I guess it’s the big, danceable indie tunes with a bit of melancholy.
Kurtis: If you’ve heard the album, you can hear that it’s not just going to be one thing. You’re not going to turn up and go like everything’s a dance floor tune, but at the same time it’s not all full of ballads either. It’s going to have big mood changes and hopefully people think we are better live than on record.
Aaron: There’s a different energy to it, yeah. Especially, with the newer stuff anyway. I remember the first couple of times we did Forever In Your Debt live and my heart was just up in my chest, you know what I mean. Especially, when you’re first introducing it to people, and the reaction for that one has been pretty good live.
Do you have any pre-shows rituals or anything like that to psyche yourselves up for a show?
James: Me and David get all the gear set up. [everyone laughs]
James: But no, we don’t have any sort of pre-show things. We just all sit there, not speaking to each other and on our phones.
Kurtis: Like most normal people [laughs].
You’re next Manchester gig is with Manchester’s very own Puppet Rebellion and the mighty Catfish and the Bottlemen, which is sure to be an amazing gig. What can we be expecting from your set?
Aaron: We might change some things around, if we’re ready with a new song…it’s next week so. We’ve got two new tracks that have just been recorded, if we can get a new one ready, then we will do it.
We’ve got eight we’re doing tonight and eight others. So if Glastonbury call up, then we’ve got a long set.
Kurtis: We’ve got until next year, we might have nine [laughs].
It’s a pretty amazing line up though, don’t you agree?
Aaron: Yeah, I mean Catfish and the Bottlemen have obviously had a lot of radio play and stuff, and what I’ve heard of Puppet Rebellion is pretty good. Kurt and I actually went to school with the lead singer [of Puppet Rebellion] weirdly. But yeah, sounds pretty good, we’re chuffed. It’s good when you’ve got a strong line up like that.
Kurtis: Yeah a lot of people are talking about it on twitter and stuff, and going like “Oh, you’ve picked some bands that will work well together”. I think, if you like one of the bands, then you may like the others.
Growing up in Manchester must have made a great impact on you as people and as musicians, as it has always been a hive for creativity, especially music. Having said that did growing up in Manchester make you want to pursue a career in music even more?
Kurtis: I think it probably makes it’s harder.
James: Yeah, you’re probably right.
Kurtis: It doesn’t make it harder to write, but it does produce a lot of people that have the inkling and have the urge to do it and I’m sure the weather’s got a lot to do with it. But at the end of the day, the reputation is going to hang over you and I think it’s very difficult for people to take you seriously outside of Manchester. But I think there are bands that get to a decent level in Manchester and then they don’t take them very seriously down south.
James: I think you’re more inspired to be in a band and you know, you try to make something of yourself, then it kind of comes back to bite you sort of thing because you just keep getting compared to …
Kurtis: Joy Division.
James: I think you can just play anything and be from Manchester and somebody link you to other Manchester bands.
Aaron: It’s the same with like when Joy Division were around, because when I hear Joy Division, I hear Jim Morrison, anybody with a croony vocal. I think as well as a reviewer, you’re reader wants a point of comparison, so it’s fair enough to compare to it. Manchester is a great place for music. I remember going to 5th Avenue, when I was at Uni and hearing ‘I am the resurrection’ for the first time, because I was probably a bit young to see the roses come through. I was like that’s amazing, that kind of tune inspired me to get in a band.
Kurtis: Plus, seeing a band of those kind of people, that makes you go. Alright, anyone can do it. It’s not a bad thing coming from Manchester, is it?
I saw you last in Warrington at Friars Court festival, seen as the gig tonight is a hometown show. Can we be expecting any surprises?
Kurtis: I’m going to play naked [laughs] because I’m too hot basically [laughs].
Aaron: It’ll probably be the same set because it’s our second gig, we’re just trying to get things bedded in a bit. In the hometown gigs before, we’ve had stage invasions and all sorts of stuff, but that was usually around when we had releases. We’re just coming out there with new material, so it’s quite tentative at the moment, we’re just sort of seeing how people respond to stuff. If anybody boo’s anything, then maybe that won’t make the album, we’ll see.
What’s next for The Slow Readers Club?
Aaron: We’ve got the single. Well, originally we were going to release it in September but we’re not backed by a label or anything and none of us are especially organised [laughs]. So, we think it’s going to come out in October, but we have got nearly five tracks recorded, so there’ll be another couple of singles next year probably and then probably an album. It’s DIY stuff. It’ll happen when it happens, unfortunately. Unless we get signed!
A special thanks to The Slow Readers Club for this interview and for more info on the band, check out the following links below.