Slow Readers Club talk to Steven Loftin in this exclusive GIGsoup interview. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse.
Manchester has a wealth of talent, both new and old. Occasionally there are bands that come through the cracks who aren’t of the classic Oasis stereotype and step out of the shadows of acts such as The Stone Roses and The Smiths. Slow Readers Club are one of those. Forming from the remnants of their previous band Omertà, they’re finding themselves becoming key players in the smorgasbord of talent that is Manchester.
Frontman Aaron Sarkie informed us of the recent successes the band have had “earlier this year we played The Academy 3 and sold that out and then this seemed like the next logical step”, referring to the show they played at Gorilla, a hidden gem of a venue opposite the more widely known Ritz.
On being asked if being a Manchester band brought any connotations, “People kind of pigeon hole you…I think it’d be easier if we were a carbon copy…when you say you’re from Manchester…it’s hard to convince that person that hasn’t heard of you that you aren’t!” For bands like Slow Readers Club, there were always going to be inevitable comparisons to their peers, including Joy Division, but this only fuels them to separate themselves from this umbrella.
There are also other bands in the same predicament, “I think a lot of bands, like Blossoms, are doing really well out of Stockport, as they call it, to me they’re a Manchester band but whenever you hear them referred to in the press…I imagine it was conscious decision, when putting themselves out there to not say Manchester band, just because there is a lot of baggage there.”
Going back to Omertà, when you compare the two names they are vastly different, with one meaning a mafia’s code of silence, and the other, well, as explained: “when I was in junior school to senior, we had a tour round all the different class rooms… my parents had been told by my teacher that I’d need a rocket up my arse basically.
“I was nervous that period anyway and looking round I saw all the signs ‘English Room’ etc, there was this one ‘Special Needs’ and I thought that was a curious thing that you could be labelled and stream lined into in education..it’s an underdog statement, a rebellious underdog statement.”
Songwriting is very much – mostly – a group effort, though, jokingly “David does it all really!” was the first answer when asked, “we just kind of mess around and if something sounds good in practice, then we kind of just make up some sort of melody… we’ll play it and if one of us doesn’t like it then we’ll stop… we might do one practice and come back to something else…the best songs just come naturally.”
“There’s one track called “Don’t Mind’, which that was on Lamacq, it just came from start to finish in a moment. It’s amazing when that happens, but most of them aren’t, you have to beat them round the head.”
Being a band that are still in the youthful stages of a career, and with the industry changing much more rapidly than for previous generations, the band still continue to have day jobs and will do for the foreseeable future: “A lot of bands that are a higher level than us still have day jobs…we speak to them and they’re all on a decent label and having success but they still work.”
“You just think, it would help (not having a job) because you could do like 20 date tours and go around Europe, we have got fans overseas and stuff, but for the moment it’s not on the horizon”.
With the change in the industry, it’s no longer feasible, as just stated, to drop everything and concentrate everything on becoming a major act; you have to give a lot to get a lot back so to speak. “You get a lot of trust fund kids basically in music these days and I think that’s why the accent seems to have been exclusively middle to upper class.”
“It seems from the outside it looks easier to ‘make it’…it seems you just throw a video on Youtube, get 3 million views or whatever, and that’s it but you know there’s a lot more that goes on behind that, the time, the effort”.
Bands like Slow Readers Club are still keeping the hard working ethic alive in the industry, which is something most “trust fund” bands don’t really see the right side of. The recent success for the band are all the more encouraging when you consider this, they’re swiftly becoming hometown heroes, and it shouldn’t be long before they can quit the day jobs, focus fully and create their own shadow for future bands to follow in.