Support slots with James, rave reviews in the press and a growing fanbase across the country are all propelling THE SLOW READERS CLUB along a path to success. Along with fellow Mancunians Blossoms and Cabbage, the quartet are capturing the imagination of music fans who place prominence on hooks, melody and talent of lyricism. Ahead of the Liverpool show which kicks off a nationwide tour, Matt Hogarth caught up with vocalist Aaron Starkie from the band to talk civic rivalry, influences and what Liverpool gig-goers can expect from the doom popsters.
You are doing extremely well at the moment but still hold your day jobs. How hard is it for an independent band to survive in the modern age and how have you managed to do so?
Thanks, yeah things are starting to move for us. I won’t lie, it has been difficult for all of us to balance the band, work and home life especially in the last year or so. At times it has been physically and mentally draining. Aside from the logistical challenges of managing to write, rehearse and tour around work, we also do a lot of admin/business stuff as we have no manager, agent or label. That said, we have been rewarded for our hard work with amazing experiences. We ended last year with sold out headline shows in Manchester, London and Dublin. The Ritz in particular felt like a real celebration for us and the fans that have followed us over the years and helped spread the word.
We also supported James on tour playing venues like Brixton Academy, Manchester Arena and Liverpool Echo Arena. That was massive for us, they very generously championed us on radio and social media too. We learned a lot from them and will be forever grateful for the help they gave us.
You have been compared to the likes of Joy Division in the past. Do you find it difficult to escape Manchester’s strong musical heritage or do you feel it’s not an issue?
Manchester has a great musical history and it is challenging for all bands to emerge from that. The same applies to Liverpool bands I guess. We have felt frustrated by that in the past but it feels like less of an issue now we are carving our own path.
What can we expect from The Slow Reader’s Club in the next 12 months? Is an album on the way and what has influenced it if so?
We have our spring tour where we are playing some pretty cool venues, really looking forward to that. We are also really looking forward to supporting The Jesus and Mary Chain in Birmingham at the end of March. We have some festivals too, we were recently announced for Isle Of Wight and there will be more to follow.
In terms of new material, we are writing at the moment and may share some of the new songs on this tour. We should be releasing something, be it singles or an EP toward the end of the year. We are looking at the start of 2018 for the next album. In terms of what is influencing what we are writing, that feels pretty hard to pin down. Personally, I consume music mainly through listening to 6Music with the occasional bit of Absolute 80s ha ha. I also like Apples ‘For You’ recommendations feature as that has lead me to discover a lot of stuff that I wouldn’t normally listen too – I think their playlists are really well curated. Lyrically, much of what I written so far has been quite personal, existential. I will try and broaden things out a little I think. Obviously the political environment, in a post-Brexit, Trump world will have an impact in some way. I think it will be interesting to see how all art forms respond to the political climate in the coming years.
In the past you have reeled off a number of Liverpool bands as influences on you. What do you think to the perceived rivalry between the two cities and what do you think of Liverpool?
Yeah, The Beatles and Echo and The Bunnymen would be the first that spring to mind. To be honest, the city bands come from doesn’t figure too much in my mind most of the time. I think the rivalry between our cities has more to do with industrial history and football. Liverpool is a cool city though, we have enjoyed it when we have played there in the past.
You’ve also talked about the influence of literature and your love of The Smiths. In songwriting terms how important are lyrics and is it the melody or words that come first ?
Melody always comes first, I will usually just sing nonsense at first for the main vocal melody line with the odd word or hook coming early on if I’m lucky. I will always take care over lyrics, but usually leave it ’til the last minute to finish them in the studio. It’s for others to decide how successful that approach is of course but it seems to be connecting with people.
What do you think to the recent takeover of the indie world by fellow Mancunians such as Blossoms and Cabbage ?
Despite them sharing management those bands are polar opposites really aren’t they. I’ve admiration for them both in different ways, Blossoms have some great riffs and melodies and have an unashamed pop approach. Cabbage are overtly political and really entertaining in interviews and on social media. [They’re] great musicians too with pretty mental live shows by the looks of it, fair play to them.
Why is it, do you feel you have cultivated such a big fan base across the country
It comes down to the songs connecting with people, and those people sharing our music with their friends. It was the music that got us on the James tour, Jim Glennie tweeted about one of our tracks and we followed that up. We also managed to draw decent crowds at festivals in 2016 and have used Facebook to livestream gigs which has been great to reach fans where we can’t get to play at the moment.
What can we expect from your Arts Club show ?
Great songs and a passionate performance.
The Slow Readers Club play Arts Club on Saturday 25th March – tickets are available here.