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November 2, 2015Feature

Take a look at the new faces of British Punk

From the polite and well-spoken voice on the other end of the phone you wouldn’t know you were speaking to half of one of the most rip-roaring groups to come out of Britain in a long time.

In the past 12 months Slaves have played to huge festival crowds, made numerous television appearances and when Bono congratulated them on a good performance on the Jools Holland show they replied, “Cheers mate U2.”

Not a bad start to their sure to be long-lived career in music.

Slaves make the noise of a quartet, however their raw yet incredibly well-written songs are the product of just guitarist and occasional vocalist Laurie Vincent along with stand-up-drummer and lead singer Isaac Holman.

Laurie Vincent, Photo Credit: Tom Flynn

“If you count previous bands we’d been performing together for about five years before it all really kicked off,” explains Laurie. “We were in a band, but we were just writing tunes and not really going anywhere. That’s no way for a band to operate, that’s why we started Slaves.”

That was a decision that neither Laurie or Isaac will surely ever regret, because it’s now culminated in one of the most respected nominations British music has to offer.

“The Mercury Prize nomination doesn’t feel real. It’s not the only prize that matters, but for me it’s the most important accolade in British songwriting. We feel really honoured to be on the shortlist.

“There is some strong talent on the list with us. Wolf Alice are good friends of ours, and Florence is the queen of British music. They always throw some nominations from left field as well as big names, that’s what makes it special.”

Isaac Holman, Photo Credit: Tom Flynn

From playing to local punks in Tunbridge Wells, Kent to touring with Jamie T, there has been quite a transition for the lads. I ask Laurie how they’ve coped and if he has any anxieties about their ascent.

“You learn a lot going on tour with someone like Jamie. We relish the challenge of taking it further and playing in bigger and bigger venues.

“In terms of worries, I never want to not be able to walk down the street. But in regards to music I want to take it as far as possible. The other stuff is a bit of a by-product.”

When asked what the most difficult thing Slaves have had to do to get where they are today was, Laurie replies without hesitation.

“Sacking a manager that we just didn’t work well with. It was really hard to tell a grown man that he was out of a job. Sometimes you just have to take control of your own future though.”

With purposely limited resources and such a fast-paced and intricate sound, I’m curious as to whether they take performing live into account when recording. For Laurie, it seems the two are somewhat separate entities.

“We used to consider both when recording, but we made the decision to make the record as good as possible, and separately make the live show as good as it can be too.

“Sometimes we add layers and they might not be there live, but the intensity and energy is there so it doesn’t really matter.

“We’re always just going to have just two elements going on live, we don’t want to lose that realness by having backing tracks.”

Like many bands who come bursting out of the woodwork and into the ears of the musical savvy, people soak up their album so much that it leaves them wanting more. Slaves fans will be happy to know that the group have already written seven new songs.

“We’re up for going straight back at it. I don’t think we like to dwell on the past too much.”

Their sophomore album may be closer than you think.

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