[sic] Magazine

Interview: The Slow Readers Club

The Slow Readers Club

Aaron Starkie – vocals, keys
Kurtis Starkie – guitar, vocals
James Ryan – bass
David Whitworth – drums

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The Slow Readers Club on…

…New record, Build A Tower

Aaron: “The last track on the album is the last track we recorded. There’s stuff that will probably be more surprising to people than what they’ve heard currently. Vocally, there’s a different energy, I’m working in a different part of my range. A bit more adventurous than the last album. We’re better musicians and also, as much as we’d wanna please people by giving them something similar as before, you’ve also got to move on for yourself, and for them.”

Kurt: “I’m not a better musician, there’s just more of me! More guitars!”

Aaron: “It’s not like Be Here Now tho!”

…Getting in the charts:

Aaron: “If we keep going with the pre-orders, and have a good week of sales, we might chart…”

Dave: “We should hit that. As long as you’re not coming up against 40 other Ed Sheerans then you’ll be alright.”

…Build A Tower lyrics:

Aaron: “The last album, and the first album, was a bit retrospective and existential, trying to express stuff that everybody feels but doesn’t let out. This was probably more… When there’s all the politics and polarisation because of Brexit and Trump and so on, I thought ‘you can’t do something without referencing the world a little more’.”

…the pressure of writing with a bigger fanbase?

Aaron: “We launched Cavalcade at (Manchester) Academy 3, and that was our first big sold-out show. But by the time the James support happened, and we got an audience all over the country, I suppose there was more pressure on this album for that reason. You know there’s thousands of people wanting to know if you can be as good as last time.”

Aaron: “We’ve not had loads of national radio play, we’ve not had loads of TV or anything. The main way we’ve got the word out is people going and telling other people, and bringing mates to the next gig.”

…Songwriting:

Kurt: “We do a lot in the practice room. We’ll start an idea and record it. We have a Whatsapp group of ‘new stuff’ and then ‘favourite new stuff’ from the practice room. David goes through it all and finds some of the old stuff, if you’re getting downhearted.”

Dave: “I don’t recall anything, other than maybe ‘Ghost’, where we’ve gone straightaway to the full song. We’ve always done like little snippets, and it’s developed over time.”

Kurt: “A lot of the ideas we are jamming it out and if we don’t get to a chorus… we might come back to it.”

Dave: “On this album, you could reference songs that come from Aaron starting on the keys, from Kurt starting something on guitar, from Jim’s bass, or come from my drums. There’s songs you could reference have started from that and then just jammed it out and see where it went. It could come out completely different, but that’s the evolution of it all, isn’t it?”

Aaron: “There was a little bit of pressure because we had labels around wanting to know what we were doing.”

Dave: “We started last year with ‘Lunatic’ and ‘Shadows’. The other bits we’ve done after the Spring tour.”

Kurt: “That (‘Lunatic’) coming out last year, it got the same standard reception as Cavalcade, and we knew we’ve got more as good, if not better. There was a bit of time pressure, but it worked.”

…On where the ‘Readers’ chant started:

Unanimous: “Sheffield”

Aaron: “It was a Tramlines fringe gig. We’ve played it three times. There’s a guy called Tony Martin, and Darren his mate. They’d been to see us a few times. We live stream a lot of gigs, so people saw it. Now it’s everywhere we go! It’s not something we planted the seed for, it just happened organically, It’s like a football thing. At the Albert Hall the Readers chants were on another level.”

Dave: “There’s something of an 80s football crowd about our gigs. They might meet up afterwards somewhere and have a scrap!”

James: “In the car park, wearing colours!”

Aaron: “We’ll have to do merch knuckledusters and stuff!”

…Plans for later in 2018:

Aaron: “There’s gonna be another single or maybe two, and there’s gonna be a big gig at the end of the year in Manchester, there’s a big gig in December. There’ll be a tour around it as well. We’ll keep writing, and we really want to get out to Europe.”

Kurt: “Any millionaires out there want to book us for a wedding!?”

…Rise of the band:

Aaron: “There’s still some way to go, even though we’ve sold out the Albert Hall. Someone posted on Youtube, commented on ‘Open Up Your Heart’ – I don’t understand why this band aren’t played on every national radio station.”

Kurt: “Obviously that’s how you feel deep down, but it’s easier when people say that for you.”

Dave: “It’s the industry; we’re still very much down the pecking order.”

Aaron: “Guitar music is as well.”

Dave: “Radio 1 have been told to play more new music, by Offcom”

…Being annoyed at lack of airplay:

Dave: “Of course it annoys us.”

James: “Your annoyedness, times it by a million. If they don’t play us, then we’ll just do it without them.”

Aaron: “Exactly, as we have been doing already.”

…Thinking the obstacles could be too great for the band to survive?

Aaron: “Lots of times…”

Kurt: “Sometimes you write a tune that’s more radio-friendly, and it doesn’t get picked up.”

…any record label pressure:

Unanimous: “No.”

Dave: “We’ve not signed to a major label where you might get that pressure. We’ve got total control.”

Aaron: “We had some interest of other labels, but our manager negotiated a deal that worked. There’s things they’ve brought to the table, getting us on Spotify playlists, TV, Football Focus, things like that, stuff that we hadn’t previously. We were very D.I.Y. We have in the past done everything ourselves. It’s hard in a way to transition, to having people doing this for you.”

Build A Tower artwork:

Aaron: “That came from the title sequence to Psycho, it’s an abstract representation of towers. The colour pallete is an evolution of some of the T-shirts I’ve done. There’s a website version which is yellow and black, which I prefer actually.”

…iconic Tshirts:

Aaron: “It was a bit of a moment of…”

Dave: “Genius!”

Aaron: “…so they say. Making your logo so they read slowly….”

…The next record:

James: “We’ve got ideas. There’s tracks knocking about, yeh. ‘Through the Shadows’ on this record was kicking around in the Cavalcade days.

…Manchester Cathedral sold-out show:

James: Build A Tower is out the day of the Manchester date. Hopefully, people will play it to death all day!”

Kurt: “It’ll be a bit of a weird feeling because I’ve watched plenty of bands and thought ‘play the ones I know!'”

Dave: “We’ve played four of them already, and the others are just as good if not better.”

…live recording with Joe Duddell:

Aaron: “We played Festival no6 with Joe Duddell and the Duddell Ensemble; Joe chose the set. It was an amazing experience. That sounds pretty cool. We’re selling a limited white vinyl.”

Kurt: “the weird thing is they don’t know it (the song), and we’re more nervous than they are!”

James: “I’m just thinking ‘don’t play a wrong note’ because these probably never play wrong notes. That was more my panic. And keeping in time is difficult. There’s a bloke on a xylophone, which helps you keep in time, but if it’s really stripped back there’s nothing keeping you in time.”

…Keeping fit:

Kurt: (looking at his watch): “I need to do my steps!”

James: “And stop drinking beer!”

[sic] magazine would like to thank The Slow Readers Club for their time and interviewer Neil Meehan for sitting them down to chat about the new album released today.

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