Slaves To The Rhythm

SLAVESBBC 6Music is a radio station which occupies our office all day every day, and after hearing a mega catchy tune several times, we were well excited to discover the band responsible were coming to Sheffield. Slaves are a two piece Garage-Rock band from darn sarf (Kent, actually) and ½ of them in the form of Laurie Vincent took his vocals away from singing and focussed them on chatting to us, while his partner in crime/music, Isaac, looked on and provided insight into his record buying habits.

How’s it going?
It’s not so bad, I’m currently wandering round Shadwell trying to find Isaac’s house but I think I’m lost. It’s a bit scary actually, I’m a middle class Kent boy and I think people can smell my fear. I think this is his house, I’ll wait here for a bit. I probably look like a stalker, I’m wearing a really bright orange jacket and hanging about out here. There’s a woman giving me evils.

How was 2014 for you?
2014 was a culmination of all my dreams. We got signed (to Virgin) in March, we did Reading/Leeds, we went on Jools Holland, our album came out and went down really well.
I think if I had a bucket list it’d be completed from this last
year alone.

You guys just had your third birthday, how did you celebrate?
I wrote a Facebook status and that was about it. Isaac and I are really close and we do a lot together within the band, so we stay pretty separate other times. I had a beer but he’s doing dry January so I’m not sure what he did.

How did it all begin?
We were both in bands in Kent, Isaac is a bit older than me and I knew of stuff he was doing and was quite a big fan of his, it turned out we ended up on the same bill with my band supporting his; back then he was more grime and hip-hop, while I was a bit like Slaves but with worse vocals. He watched our entire set and approached me after saying how much he enjoyed it, I was so chuffed he liked what we were doing. Then about a year later we were at the same place and I was a bit pissed and went up to him offering my bassist services; I got a call a few months later saying their bassist had left and he offered me the gig.
Now we’re here.

How would you describe your sound?
We’re really lucky, we’re merging. We’re getting airplay on 6 Music and Radio 1 which is a rare mix. I think if I had to describe it, it’d be the Beastie Boys meets Billy Childish. When we started out, Isaac’s dad made us listen to a lot of his mid-way Garage Rock collection on vinyl. We like anything from Joy Division to Iggy Pop, not just musically ‘cause the attitude is influential too. Being inspired doesn’t have to mean in musicality, it stretches right through into lifestyle. Both of us are really into Robbie Williams, not only because he can’t half write a tune, but because he’s the underdog who did really well. The problem is that people shun success, the UK media highlight things that he does and blow them up. It’s scary being in a position where the media have interest in you, we try not to reply on Twitter and stuff because we don’t want people to misinterpret things, I used the ‘kiss face’ emoticon in a reply once and got called a sexist – you do one thing slightly off and it’s spotlighted.

Being on the bill for the NME Awards with 3 other bands must be fairly nerve-wracking, how are you planning to handle it?
I’m really excited! They’re all musicians that we really respect. I hope we’re all quite likeminded and will get along really well. It’s a weird thing working with people, because someone you hate on the first day turns out to be your best mate by the end of it. I think we’ll be having some early nights – rock n roll.

Where would you like to be in five years?
To go on holiday would be quite nice. It’d be amazing to still be making music that resonates, I want to make music people are inspired by for as long as I can. We have to change and grow as a band to keep alive, it’s such a hard time to be a musician and to stay somewhat mainstream for any amount of time is near impossible, to say we’ll still be releasing guitar heavy albums in years to come is untrue, there’s no way we can stay
the same – we have to keep evolving. If I could fit some oil painting in there too that’d be wonderful.

What was the first record you ever bought?
I think the first CD that I bought myself and was fully aware of what I was doing was Limp Bizkit – ‘Chocolate Starfish and the Hotdog Flavoured Water’. I had to discover music on my own and it was during the era where Kerrang! was massive. I actually think it’s still at my mum’s house somewhere, that’s probably not a cool answer. Isaac is telling me his first album was a Smash Hits compilation with Billie Piper’s ‘Because We Want  To’ on – I think my answer was cooler.

If you could play a gig with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
That’s such a hard question, I have so many and they’re all for different reasons. I think Bob Marley would be a must, just ‘cause I’d like to meet him. But also Biggie, especially
at the famous gig he played in L.A back in the 90’s, just to feel the tension in the room. We often get the comment of; ‘I don’t like your style of music, but your stuff is okay’, so to play to that kind of crowd and feel the reception would be amazing.

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be and why?
I used to work at a milkshake place after I dropped out of Uni, which was not as fun as it sounds. I just cleaned jugs and gained weight. So I’d probably be a tattooist, I love it and I was training to do that for a little while. Or I’d be doing be fine
art, that’d be a dream career, I wanted to do that at Uni but ended up doing illustration ‘cause I was told there are more jobs around in that, which there aren’t. Being a Doctor who saves lives would be good too, but I don’t really like working long hours.

What’s your favourite song of yours and why?
I think I have to say ‘The Hunter’; not because it’s been successful, but because it was one of those – for lack of a better word – divine moments. We just started it and within an hour it was done, we don’t know how we did it.
People have said they’ve heard the riff before which is how I know we’ve written something decent.

Slaves play the Leadmill as part of the NME Awards Tour with Palma Violets, The Fat White Family and The Amazing Snakeheads on the 19th of February. Buckle up and head on down.

Ellie Greenfield

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