Jesse Harrison Lowe spent some time talking with Aaron from Slow Readers Club.
Off the back of their recently released single ‘Lunatic’. I sat down with Aaron from Slow Readers Club to find out a little more about the band, who the Manchester Evening News described as ‘currently one of the most exciting sounds coming out of our fair city’
“Slow Readers Club is a rejection of that really, and a championing of the underdog and two fingers up to that idea.”
Jesse Harrison Lowe: Where did the name of the band come from?
Aaron Starkie: Well, it came from when I was graduating from junior school to senior school. I went to an open evening with my parents and we got taken round the different rooms. We came to a room called ‘special needs’ which looked like a room for the kids who had fallen behind, or needed extra help. I thought it was quite a scary concept really. I thought the idea that you could be plucked out the mainstream of education and labelled in that way was a bit odd. I guess the Slow Readers Club is a rejection of that really, and a championing of the underdog and two fingers up to that idea.
JHL: Speaking of the scarier side of things, I thought that theme ran through the video for your new single ‘Lunatic’, would you say this is something we can expect throughout the band?
AS: Yeah, Lunatic is probably one of our darker tunes, it’s kinda melancholy a lot of the time yet melodically it’s pretty uplifting. Lunatic in particular is full of paranoia and is a response thematically to the political environment. With the Trump and Brexit stuff happening, it’s seemed to kinda throw off the sense of where we’re at. Especially with the rise of nationalism and how everyone seems to hate each other, it’s a bit like the idea that everyone is going mad. It’s also this kinda feeling of being trapped in your social circumstance. What we wanted to do with the video was to have it in an abandoned asylum, but we ended up using a fire station due to time issues. The response has been really good so far though so we’re happy with it.
JHL: I was going to mention that! It seems like the response to the video, and the gigs which you’ve got lined up has been pretty positive.
AS: We’ve sold out Albert Hall in Manchester, Garage in London, King Tut’s in Glasgow, Rescue Rooms in Nottingham and Bristol is close, so yeah, we’ve started out as an unsigned band, until very recently, and we’ve just been plugging away. James got onto us after they tweeted one of our songs called I Saw A Ghost after we did an acoustic version of it in Manchester Central Library. We just sorta did it as a guerrilla thing, like we just turned up and did it. They [James] tweeted it and it and we were like ‘wow’. We got on to them and offered to support them and lucky for us they had a new album coming up and were touring. We got a CD to them and a couple of weeks later we supported them all over the country in venues like Brixton Academy and Manchester Arena and eventually Echo Arena, which gave us a real national audience. After that we got more festivals like Isle of Wight main stage, Festival Number 6 as well as supporting The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Charlatans. This was all before we got signed as well. Now we’re signed, hopefully it’ll be another step up again next year. Our fans have been amazing in supporting us while we were unsigned. Lots of our support has come from social media and gigging away and doing what we can live, but a lot of it has been our fans getting out there and spreading the word.
JHL: Am I right in thinking that your brother is also in the band with you?
AS: That’s right, Kurtis is on Lead Guitar, and plays drums on some tracks.
JHL: So how does that play out day to day? Are you more like best friends than brothers?
AS: That’s a very politically charged question! We always used to jam in the house as kids, we grew up with music as our dad played himself and DJ’d a bit. I’d sung and played keyboards from quite a young age and my brother started singing and playing guitar.
JHL: It almost sounds like you’ve got a readymade band there!
AS: Yeah well, I went to uni then and got into film and stuff and went off the band idea, but my brother got in a band himself, and I thought to myself that I’d quite like to get in a band as well. I joined the band with Jim then, and we had to separate bands for a while but it came to a point where my original band ended, and Kurt came to an end with his band. It made sense for us to do something together. David, the drummer, came along with Kurt. Most of the time its fine, we don’t have too many issues. Occasionally we have a few cross words or a heated WhatsApp debate but for the most part we get along just fine.
JHL: Yeah, it’s always bad when you get a few angry emojis or the double blue tick! What would you say your main influences are?
AS: My dad was a great Elvis fan, but also would play stuff from the 80s like Depeche Mode, Erasure, New Order, Joy Division, The Smiths, The Stone Roses. Obviously the Manchester bands were inescapable for us growing up. Our drummer is more into the rock end of stuff and Jim is more into R&B stuff and the poppier stuff. I quite like ABBA and The Bee Gees myself!
“We got a CD to them and a couple of weeks later we supported them all over the country in venues like Brixton Academy and Manchester Arena and eventually Echo Arena, which gave us a real national audience”
JHL: Do you have anything like a pre-gig routine? Anything you can’t go on stage without doing?
AS: Err, not really! We don’t tend to get so nervous these days. We’re quite DIY, so we’re often sorting out merch and making sure that everything is shipshape. Me and Kurt will have a beer just to take the edge off. We’ll work out last minute what kinda set we’re gonna play.
JHL: Have you got any tracks you love to play? Something which never gets old?
AS: Forever In Your Debt is probably my favourite song of ours, I don’t think it would ever leave the set. It’s difficult live to translate the slower ones sometimes. It might be when someone goes to get a drink. But yeah we’re pretty happy with most of it.
You can catch Slow Readers Club across the country as they embark on their headline tour this Autumn. Thanks to Aaron for his time!