[Interview] With ... Slaves

Photo Credit: Juergen Teller

This evening - 24th November - Slaves (Laurie Vincent and Isaac Holman) will deliver their raw, energetic punk rock to devoted fans at London's Alexandra Palace. It's All Indie caught the duo earlier this year at Reading Festival, just before their set at the BBC Radio 1 Stage. An explosive frenzy of a show projecting enough chaos, rebellion and attitude to last them a lifetime. Their acclaimed third album has been out since mid-August.  

Titled Acts Of Fear And Love this record is not what you have come to expect from the duo and yet it also feels like an amalgamation of everywhere they have been to date. They blast some of the songs out of their rented white Jeep, while cruising along the desert highway. Sure, there are moments of punk – fast, shout-y, containing all the energy of a shaken can of lager ready to erupt. But for once their songs are not dictated by rhythmic guitar licks and drum thwacks,“We were thinking about the craft of songwriting for the first time,” explains Laurie. The songs are dictated by melody.  

Isaac For me personally, it is the festival that I came to when I was a teenager and the same counts for Laurie.

Laurie I think what makes it different as well is that it is the one where all our friends and family come to, I don’t know if it changes your performance but it changes your run up to the gig, having all your mates around, it is nice. We used to be stuck in the middle of nowhere in weird fields with not very many friends around us, apart from each other of course.

Isaac apart from each other of course. It looks like a nightie. I am serious now.

What can fans expect from your set today?

Laurie old school Slaves.

Isaac Lots of sweat. It is going to be loud.

Laurie Some old bangers, and new bangers. Energy, that is what we have got, loads of energy.

How are things at your label Fonthill Records? How far are you planning to take things on that front?

Laurie We have always wanted to do it and the timing in the band has never been right, this was our third attempt at it with Lady Bird who played earlier today. So at the moment we are just focusing everything on them, we want to make sure that we nourish and nurture them. We are always talking about what will be next, who will  be next but it is going to happen organically, there is no real plan, it is all about happiness and enjoyment.

Is there a plan to invest more of your creativity, time and energy onto the label or will Slaves still be doing as much as before?

Isaac We don’t want to change bands or like put too much input into the creative process or production.  

Laurie We help produce that’s all. Our main thing is to help bring back guitar music a bit, I think a lot of guitar bands are getting missed out by labels and not invested in, we want to help guitar bands primarily.

Why do you feel guitar music is being missed out and not getting the attention it deserves?

Laurie Things happen in trends and I think a lot of people are in a group of friends where a couple of them might be like into real musos and then you have the other friends who just go along with what their friends are into, so when dance music is so popular in mainstream I think that just permeates everything.

Laurie When we were kids, guitar music was big and indie bands were like that was mainstream, The Kooks were like headlining festivals with the likes of The Wombats and The Arctic Monkeys. Some of them are still there but it is not like Reading 2007 which would just have been all those bands all day and since then. We have seen all the dance tents start up, the scene has shifted a bit.

Slaves are very inspired by punk, why do you think punk still matters today?

Isaac There is just an air of unrest in everyone’s lives now again, it is not like it ever really stopped. Now politically it is just like everyone is kind of angry again.

Laurie It is just that outlet as well, people are always going to want to listen to aggressive music, there are some great bands out there at the moment, like Shame who are playing today as well, but yes punk is less of a sound and more of an attitude. It is the attitude of doing whatever you want and the idea of DIY.

What other bands do you admire?

Laurie We always loved The Cribs, their work ethic, how they are placed in the world of music, they stay true to themselves. we like loads of stuff like The Streets and Eminem. Everything, loads of good bands at the moment Shame, Life, Ladybird and Idles are amazing.

Your videos are special, what sort of approach do you take to making them?

Isaac We just talk about stuff and it gets turned into like an idea.

Laurie We are really open to like just split three or four ideas. Sometimes they just come really quickly, like for this song this is what we should do. We really enjoy making the videos. In the past it has been a bit stressful but since we have like got a bit more confident, we have a director who just totally gets us and he helps us with our vision so we just trust him and we work well together.

Looking into the future, do intend to remain a two piece?

Laurie Yes (laughs) yes even just get our strides. We both feel really confident about our third album and we are very happy with it so we have definitely got a few more albums in us.

What other countries do you want to reach and play to?

Laurie Australia and New Zealand because we hear we have got quite a few fans over there, we just have not been able to make it work yet. I hope we make it work in the future.