After their headline set at Liverpool Sound City and with their new album “Build a Tower” riding high on the mid-week charts, I had the opportunity to put some questions to the fabulous Slow Readers Club.
BREAKING NEWS – the album went straight in at Number 18 in the end of week chart, officially Top 20!
JK: Congratulations on entering the mid-week chart at Number 12 with Build a Tower – a fabulous album! How does it feel to be in the charts?
Slow Readers Club: As we write this we don’t know where we are int he official ‘end of the week’ charts so we’re a bit hesitant about celebrating anything. The fact that we were at 12 in the mid-weeks is ridiculous though and it’s all down to our fans buying the albums. They’ve been buying them to support us but also buying copies for their friends, to help spread the word. For us that means everything. The charts are just happening in the background but right at the front are the fans spreading the word and we can’t thank them enough.
JK: What was the inspiration behind the name “The Slow Readers Club”.
Slow Readers Club: It’s a name that champions the underdog. We feel that it applies to us now more than at anytime. We didn’t think of the name with the vision that we would be a bit of an underdog band. It actually comes from the fact that back in the day, school had ‘Special Needs’ departments and the thought of branding a kid with such a thing struck a chord with us and that’s how our name came about. Anyone can be in the Slow Readers Club.
JK: Your audience kept growing through word of mouth before you had backing from a major label, do you feel you benefited from that period of finding your own feet on your own terms, or if you had the chance to go back, would you have signed to a major from the start if it were an option?
Slow Readers Club: We definitely benefited from finding our own feet and refining our craft. We feel that we are better musicians/writers/performers now compared to maybe 2 years ago that’s for sure. The fact that our fan base increased due to word of mouth is amazing and it’s probably the thing we’re most proud of. Our fans genuinely want us to do well. We signed to Modern Sky last Autumn and they’re not a major player in the UK like some of the big known labels but the one thing that’s been great about them is that they haven’t pushed us down a certain route or tried to tell us how to play. The people at the label are great and they understand out work/life situation. We’re all trying to make it work so we can do the band full time and that’s the main thing for everybody involved.
JK: How did the deal with Modern Sky UK come about? Do you feel it is opening doors for you that were perhaps shut as an Independent artist?
Slow Readers Club: Modern Sky had heard our stuff and came to a few shows and they wanted to be involved with us. Dave Pichilingi came to see us in his home town of Liverpool last year and his enthusiasm and understanding of what we were about just shone through and most importantly, we trust that he’s got our best interests at heart. We signed to them not long after that. Having a label behind you helps get your music distributed to shops all over the country and it also helps when organising a campaign such as an album release. It just lets us concentrate on writing and performing.
JK: Growing up in Edinburgh in the late 80s/early 90s, I thought Manchester was the centre of the musical universe – New Order/Joy Division, The Smiths, The Fall, Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets, James, Charlatans and so on, it seemed like 90% of my favourite bands were from there. Do you think Manchester still has that rich seam of talent, or do you think perhaps a lot of today’s Manc bands try too hard to recreate that period rather than looking fwd?
Slow Readers Club: Manchester definitely has loads of talent. We see that all the time when we’re out watching bands or playing ourselves and seeing support acts. As rich as the musical history is, we do feel that it can sometimes be a bit of a cloud above the heads of upcoming bands as other people compare them to the golden age of Manchester music and it’s not always easy to live up to. Bands should just do their thing and hopefully people will like them without comparing them to what’s happened before.
JK: What was it like supporting James, were you a fan before the tour?
Slow Readers Club: The James support was huge for us as it got us in front of new fans all over the UK. The guys in the band and behind the scenes were brilliant and they couldn’t have done more for us. We loved it. The one thing that we all took from the tour is that it turned us in to a better live act. Our stage craft massively improved and developed due to playing to bigger crowds on bigger stages and every night we got to see how James did this. We took loads from that tour and we owe them big time.
JK: If you could play at any festival in the world, which one would you play and why?
Slow Readers Club: Benicassim. Guaranteed decent weather 😉
JK: How do you feel about people taking photos/videos on mobile phones at gigs? Unnecessary distraction or harmless fun as long as they don’t disturb anybody else?
Slow Readers Club: They’ve paid for their tickets so they can do what they want. It’s wrong to tell people how to behave at shows. We will play on regardless.
JK: I often stream albums that I own on CD as it’s quicker than finding the disc in the cupboard, so I don’t tend to buy many CDs these days, but Vinyl has that special tactile quality that you can’t get from streaming services. Has the resurgence of vinyl been good for bands like yours before you were signed? Or is it only really the big label bands that benefit?
Slow Readers Club: We love vinyl and it has always been good to us, even before we signed to MS. Fans love having things as keepsakes and a vinyl feels more premium than a CD.
JK: Lastly, we like exclusives here at Urbanista, tell us something our readers won’t know about the band!
Slow Readers Club: We’ve never played a cover.
JK: Thank you!