In The Middle with Slaves

Having heard the arrogant and brash charms of their earlier records, I would never have expected Slaves to be made up of two smartly dressed, knowledgeable artists. This two-piece ‘punk’ (or what people like to categorize as punk) band have become synonymous across the country, for down dressing during gigs, throwing around their instruments and producing raw and vivid performances that have resulted in their rise throughout the year. Isaac Holman, on drums and vocals, and Laurie Vincent, on guitar, have become one of the most exciting alternative live acts to come out of Britain in 2014 and are taking the country by storm. Remarkably in just two short years they have gone from touring the country in Laurie’s Clio playing in front of merely fifty people, onto playing at numerous festivals over the summer and now having the honour of touring with their “modern day hero” in the form of Jamie T.

The inauguration of Slaves occurred just three years ago when both members of the band met following the collapse of Isaac’s previous band. However music has played a large role in both the musicians’ lives, as they agreed that they had always wanted to be musicians from an early age. During the interview Laurie explained that his love and knowledge of music grew over time since he bought his first drum set and guitar at the age of 12, and that having the opportunity to play the music he’s written in a band has always been a longstanding dream.

“We rarely even listen to punk anymore”

Slaves are often misinterpreted, and pigeonholed as a ‘punk’ band simply because of their style of play. Both Isaac and Laurie agree that punk played a large influence in some of their earlier productions and is possibly the reason why the media wanted to categorize them as a punk band. However, they’re aiming to move away from their punkish stereotype, as they feel that Punk has become more of a fashion rather than a musical genre. It could be said that Punk was their starting point, but Slaves now state that “we rarely even listen to Punk anymore, it’s much more leftfield stuff where Punk wouldn’t even be considered Punk”. The band like to view themselves as similar to the Talking Heads, where primarily their attitude could essentially be derived as punk, but not the music they produce. Slaves don’t have any musical limits, and sticking to one genre – like punk – would be something completely contradictory, as they love all styles of music and there are no musical boundaries that may restrict their productions in the near future. Possibly after the release of the new album, there will be a new genre to define Slaves, but the couple want to confirm that they are indefinitely not a Punk band.

2014 has definitely been Slaves’ year; ever since their new record deal with Virgin EMI Records and their legendary Latitude performance it’s been non-stop for Laurie and Isaac. The pair were described as the most prolific touring band their agent has worked with; they have also managed to secure an upcoming tour in America and even played on the Jools Holland show in the midst of the Jamie T tour, which just shows the magnitude of the band’s success this year. Slaves have been in and out of NME for two years now, first appearing in July 2012, so it’s not as if they have suddenly appeared out of nowhere, however they can’t deny that this year has been ‘their’ year, as all their hard work touring the country during DIY tours has finally paid off. Laurie explains that Latitude Festival this past summer was the turning point and that their careers snowballed since obtaining that 2000 member crowd in the Suffolk fields. Ideally the pair aspire to play at their favourite festivals Bestival and Glastonbury next year, which may happen following the release of their upcoming album.

‘Hey’ was the hit of the night in the O2 as the crowd was immersed by Slaves’ alternative playing style, eager to hear more. Luckily enough, the Slaves’ fans will be able to hear more soon as the duo announced in the interview that they’re currently planning on releasing another single to accompany ‘Hey’ before Christmas, and then start work on the new records following their current tour.

James Bate


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