Article submitted to the Polaroid Originals Magazine by Nicola Phillips.
DIY punk duo Slaves, Laurie Vincent and Isaac Holman, aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. After earning their stripes through years of playing gigs at dive bars and booking their own tours, the raucous two-piece can now be found performing their high-energy and refreshingly unconventional live sets worldwide: from headlining the Boardmasters Festival in the UK to supporting Kasabian in Russia. We chatted to the boys about life on the road, and the passion behind their music.
How are you finding the music scene in Britain at the moment, compared to when you first started your careers?
I’m finding it very exciting. Guitar bands seem to be on the rise, and that’s what I like. Idles, Life, Shame, Dream Wife, Willie J Healey, and Ladybird — to mention a few — are all very very exciting.
Do you see a certain genre flourishing?
It’s not necessarily a genre but I think everyone who straps on a guitar or hits a drum kit are akin. That passion to deliver music live and raw and real is what “guitar music” is, and that’s what i hope is flourishing.
What topics do you prefer to focus on when producing your music?
Everyday life seems to be our natural port of call. I think it stems from belonging to a very mundane town where not a lot happens. You have to write what you know and everyday situations are what we have plenty of.
Would you say that it’s politically charged to a certain extent?
Definitely. Not necessarily telling people what to believe or who to vote for, but to inspire people to have opinions and live their own lives.
As musicians, do you think it’s more important now than ever to take a role in voicing these opinions?
I think as musicians it’s important to portray that you can do or be whatever you want. Art is art, and if you want to voice your opinions I think that is brilliant in inspiring young people. Equally if you choose not, to I think that should be respected also.
How do you form the connection between your sound and your music videos?
Art encompasses music, visuals, fashion and more. It has always been important to us to take care in all elements of our band, far beyond the music. The visuals should enhance your music as much as possible. Whether that’s playing live and having great production, and an intense light show, or having music videos that make people laugh and intensify the listening experience. Use any visuals that can help you to make that intensity happen.
As one of a select few artists who still partake in pressing vinyl, why do you think it is important to keep this analog process alive?
Largely, vinyl is a way to have your artwork printed out in a big format. I think we enjoy vinyl so much because we can fit in way more detail to the inner sleeve and the label stickers. It’s an opportunity for your band to have a big impact in a space and on a person. There still isn’t a better format in which to enjoy music. The physicality connects people to your music in a way that streaming will never be able to achieve.
You’ve had a huge tour since March, with Slaves TV keeping us up-to-date along the way. What have been some of the highlights?
Festivals are always amazing. Headlining a stage at Boardmasters Festival in Newquay was a huge moment. Benicassim in Spain was also a huge show for us. Travelling to Russia with our pals Kasabian was also incredible. There are too many highlights to list. It has truly been a monumental year.
Your live sets are renowned for being full of energy and passion. What do you find fuels this?
The music. Music like ours just ignites a fire in our bellies when we play it. I don’t think it would be possible for us to stand still while performing. There’s a power that possesses both of us as soon as we hit the first note.
How have your overseas fans greeted you?
It’s a little slower than over here in the UK, but generally, we get a great reaction.
Do you find there’s a hugely different reaction in Britain?
Britain is our biggest fan base so usually it’s just the scale that changes. It’s nice still being able to play smaller shows in other countries, as those smaller shows are where the intensity can be at its height.
What’s next on the to-do list?
Record a new album and do it all again!
Get your ears on Slaves’ music, tour dates and news via youareallslaves.com
The Cultural Impact of Polaroid ➜
20 Original Instant Portraits ➜
Backstage With Vivienne Westwood ➜