INTERVIEW: Slaves | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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A garage-punk duo heralding from Kent that boasts a drummer who stands up and sings alongside a guitarist who thrashes so violently that blood is left proudly staining his guitar, Slaves are one of the most thrilling British bands to have emerged in the past year. Boasting lyrics such as “You don’t like what we do/Because we say what we are thinking/And that shocks and frightens you” and “SOMEBODY PLEASE GET ME THE FUCK OFF OF THIS RODEO!” Slaves are anything but dull.

Following on from an appearance on Jools Holland, a winter support slot for Jamie T and a sprinkling of singles getting healthy airplay on Radio 1 (odd for a punk duo no?), Slaves are the band to watch in 2015. Now opening this year’s NME Awards Tour alongside the likes of The Amazing Snakeheads, Fat White Family and Palma Violets, it’s clear to see that Slaves are very much at the forefront of the howling and visceral spectrum of emerging British music. Or, to put it simply, they are the very antithesis to Ed Sheeran. I caught up with the pair and had a quick chat about their inspirations, the upcoming NME tour and their visions of the future.

First up, please do tell us a bit about the band; what’s your vision for the group?

We are called Slaves. Our vision is to make our music reach the masses and fill them with happiness and vigour.

Can you tell us about your inspirations?

Our inspirations come from the everyday. The way people work, the way things get done, encounters and observations. We love music too but music isn’t what we reference when making our own music.

You must be pretty excited to be setting out on the road next month for the NME Awards Tour (I’ll see you there) alongside the likes of The Amazing Snakeheads, Fat White Family and Palma Violets?

Yes we are very excited. Playing shows is what we love doing. To do it alongside all those great bands every night for a couple weeks is the dream come true.

What do you think it will be like going on tour with them?

I think the venues won’t buy enough Monster Munch and we will all be squabbling over who ate the last of the pickled onion.

You’re first on the bill, so how are you planning to warm up the crowd?

Just by feeding the mantaray and that.

What can we expect from a Slaves gig? I imagine noisy carnage…

Hopefully if all goes to plan, everyone leaving with a stupid fat grin on their face saying “I don’t even like this music but that was alright.”

You’ve got so much raw energy both in your music and in the way you perform. How do you keep yourself so filled with energy all the time?

I don’t think we do. When we get in a room or on a stage together something just sparks between us. Usually you’ll find us asleep in the van or in silence. Saving energy is the key I guess.

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I think the venues won’t buy enough Monster Munch and we will all be squabbling over who ate the last of the pickled onion

It’s a pretty ballsy gig line-up; do you think it shows that punk and garage rock is rising in popularity?

I think music that doesn’t stick to a genre is rising. People are making music again that inspires them. “Punk” isn’t inspiring anymore. The ideal of what it was when it happened in 1977, is what I think could be bubbling up now.

There seems to be considerable momentum behind you guys now, especially via word of mouth regarding your live shows (loved your sets at Leeds and supporting Jamie T in Newcastle by the way). What excites you most about the year ahead?

Going to Japan with our mates and seeing the world. Putting our first ever album out. Hopefully just hearing everyone sing our lyrics back to us. I will never get over the buzz that gives me.

How did it feel to get nominated for the BBC Sound Of 2015 Award?

Surreal. Never sunk in. Does that make us “mainstream”?

You’re both quite eccentric on social media. Is everything you say on there true?

Definitely not. My testicles never got injured in a kayaking accident. I’ve never been in a kayak.

When will the debut album be out?

June 1st.

What can we expect from it?

More balanced songs. In our formative two years I think we really learnt how to play together, these new songs show that and are a lot more intense and structured. We made an album and I’m proud of that. A landscape of songs that take you on a journey. We didn’t write three singles and rush the rest. I stand by every single track on the album and I can’t wait to see what people’s reactions are.

Slaves play at the NME Awards Tour Show with Palma Violets, Fat White Family and The Amazing Snakeheads at Newcastle’s O2 Academy on Saturday 21st February.

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