Manchester four-piece The Slow Readers Club are about to embark on a UK which kicks off in Cardiff next Thursday and Southampton’s Engine Rooms the following day. The tour coincides with the release of their new album, Build A Tower, which is released on May 4th.
The Slow Readers Club are Aaron Starkie (vocals), Kurtis Starkie (guitar and vocals), James Ryan (bass) and David Whitworth (drums). The foursome has received acclaim from the likes of Steve Lamacq, Peter Hook and Eddy Temple Morris, as well as having supported James on their arena tour, and performed at festivals including Isle Of Wight, Festival No.6 and Kendall Calling. I’ve been fortunate to catch up with the boys to find out more about the band, their new album and the upcoming tour.
Could you tell me about how you initially got involved with music and who influenced you most?
(Aaron) Our Dad played the guitar at home and thought us the basics, he was massively into music and introduced us to everything from Elvis to The Smiths. I also had a music teacher at school who invested a great deal of time in me, I would go and practice the piano every lunchtime, not that you can tell haha, She was also my singing teacher and was trying to steer me toward opera, but that was never going to happen when you are a kid from Wythenhawe.
(Jim) – Personally my older brother. He got an old guitar when we were kids and I always wanted to do whatever he was doing so I used to mess about with it whenever he wasn’t playing. He taught himself and then taught me.
For those who are new to your music which three tracks would you encourage them to check out first and why?
(Aaron) ‘Forever In Your Debt‘ is a fan favourite, great melodic hooks and lyrics. ‘I Saw A Ghost‘ is about mental health and self-medicating with alcohol that’s great to sing along to. It also landed us the James support slots so must be good. ‘You Opened Up My Heart‘ because it’s our latest single and our best song yet.
(Jim) Anything. It’s all good. Just press play and if you don’t like it keep skipping until you’re happy 🙂
Your new album Build A Tower is due out in May, can you tell me about the album and what listeners can expect?
Well essentially its electro indie pop with descent melodies and lyrics. Musically it’s a step up from previous offerings, writing it was a properly collaborative process. Working up from the basics of jamming stuff out on drums, bass, guitar, keys and vocals to taking them in the studio and doing all the cool stuff with sytnths and playing with arrangements. Fundamentally though the tracks would work well stripped down to just vocals and acoustic guitar. There are a few tracks already available actually so people can get a preview on Spotify etc.
You can probably tell from our music that we listen to a lot of 80s stuff, Depeche Mode, Echo and The Bunnymen, The Cure, The Smiths and the like.
What bands and artists are you currently listening to and how are they inspiring you to explore and implement new ideas with your music?
(Aaron) You can probably tell from our music that we listen to a lot of 80s stuff, Depeche Mode, Echo and The Bunnymen, The Cure, The Smiths and the like. But in terms of more recent music… stuff like Everything Everything, The Horrors, Arcade Fire, The XX, War On Drugs, LCD Sound System, The National. Personally speaking, I might look to those bands for stuff like arrangements and synth sounds and more abstract top line vocal melodies, although I don’t think any of us consciously sit down and crib anything. It’s more that you absorb stuff passively while listening to 6Music or whatever. I’m sure it’s the same for most bands. People will say we sound like Joy Division regardless, ha ha!
While on tour do you get very much time to explore the towns and cities that you are playing?
(Jim) Not really though. We’re all still in work unfortunately so we’re literally going to work, leaving work, getting on trains, playing the gigs and going back home to do it all over again. Eat:Sleep:Rave:Repeat
(Aaron) I think me and Kurt are staying over on a few of the dates on this tour so may get to see some bars on the night and what ever we run into on the way to the train station the following morning. We do get the odd time where we can take stuff in a bit, had a good night in Glasgow last year after playing King Tuts.
What can those fortunate enough to have tickets expect from your live show?
(Jim) We have some of the best fans out there. Those who have tickets will be welcomed to the club and they can expect a lot of big tunes that will allow them to dance and stomp until their heart’s content.
(Aaron) Yeah, the atmosphere at shows has been ramping up over the past couple of years now, we have had people proper bouncing and I’ve got right in peoples faces. It’s amazing seeing everyone singing back at you, can’t wait to get back out.
What does the rest of 2018 have in store for you?
(Jim) We start our UK tour towards the end of April and that takes us up to the middle of May. We have Kendall Calling, Liverpool Sound City and other festivals in the pipeline so hopefully we will get a few more festivals to add to the list. We’re also always writing so who knows what that will produce.
(Aaron) We should be getting overseas too and will have a winter tour. Got some big stuff in the diary that we can’t share yet but it’s going to be a great year I’m sure.
If you would like to be there at the Engine Rooms then you can buy tickets at www.engineroomssouthampton.com/event/slow-readers-club.