In The Middle with Slow Club
Walking backstage to Slow Club’s dressing room, I hear booming laughter and suppressed giggles. Charles Watson, the bearded multi-instrumentalist, and Rebecca Taylor, energetic lead-singer, are sat on the floor attempting to toast some pitta, a homely and inviting sight. Rebecca immediately offers the concoction around with to a homemade guacamole accompaniment, putting any nerves before the coming interview completely to rest. After politely refusing and finding somewhere to sit in the small box room, we begin to talk music, Samba and Hollywood glamour.
Slow Club have been pretty much touring since they first formed a band, only stopping occasionally to record. They are therefore, as far as bands go, experts at live performance. “Smaller towns are great because people come out even if they’ve not really heard you,” Rebecca tells me. “But of course you have to do the main cities like Sheffield, Manchester and Leeds too.” So what makes each tour different? “They all have their own flavor mostly because of van jokes or personality,” Charles reflects. “But this one’s definitely been a lot more sober.” Approaching nearly 10 years since the band was first formed, Slow Club know how to get the most out of a touring experience, the music and audience being the primary focus of the moment: “Drinking isn’t good for your music or you,” Rebecca draws on previous tour experiences to make the most out of their touring so far. “I’ve stopped and it’s been amazing, I just feel bad for the boys.”
Rebecca and Charles first met at a Samba workshop, set up by their schools to merge music departments. From a young age, the pair have been into music, relying and leaning on it to “cower away from the bullies”. Keeping in touch over MSN, Rebecca and Charles exchanged music, but didn’t form a band until much later. After that however, “it really never stopped. I don’t know what happened but we’ve carried on being in this band and will continue to do so until we’re older”. Rebecca seems sure and certain in saying this, the bond and friendship between the pair undeniable.
“Imagine if you got everything straight away, you probably wouldn’t make music anymore”
From my few moments spent with the duo, it’s quite easy to see why they work so well together, their opposite outlooks on life and music meeting to form a kind of harmony. Yet they are also reluctant to question why they work so well together: “I think because we haven’t really figured out how it works, that’s why it still works.” Working together for such a long time, learning each others strengths and weaknesses, has added a definite humbleness to the group, especially on Rebecca’s part: “Imagine if you got everything straight away, you probably wouldn’t make music anymore, but for us there’s a real saddo’s approach to stardom. I’m happy for it to take ages.” Leaving behind the glitz and glamour of the Hollywood dream, Rebecca seems to have adopted Charles’ more laid back approach to music, “I’m dreaming of having a fresh pair of jeans and a guitar that stays in tune”, to be content and thankful for their success thus far. Rebecca adds, “unfortunately I am only happy if Charles likes it so I’m stuck in this for life, and vice versa.”
Their different approaches to life and music is further evident through their approaches to songwriting: “I make sure I’m in horrible relationships with awful people and allow them to break my spirit until I write songs about it.” Rebecca says sinisterly. Charles on the other hand, remarks to make music you have “to stay aware of your surroundings and interpret it really.”
After nearly 10 years without a break, the pair seem more than happy to see where life takes them as opposed to planning ahead: “We’re at the stage where we don’t know if we’re gonna do a load of festivals or just stop and have a break and start writing. I guess we’ll see what happens.” Reflecting on my meeting with the duo, it is evident that the music world is lucky to have such a dedicated and hardworking band. Slow Club are witty, thankful and perhaps most importantly, the best of friends. So why should you give them a listen? “We’re the only duo after the Chuckle Brothers, so we’re basically the second greatest duo to come out of Rotherham.” If that’s not an incentive to listen to a band, I don’t know what is.