There’s no hiding from Slaves. The duo from Kent - Isaac Holman and Laurie Vincent - will either be found chasing strangers down poorly-lit streets in their music videos, or when they’re on stage, provoking batshit reactions. Be it bewilderment or plain frenzy, no Slaves show is the same. Holman’s often found running on the spot, smashing a minimal drum set-up like it’s designed to take off. Vincent cuts a more restrained figure, but he’s the one kickstarting the chaos.
It’s been a slog of sorts to get here. Slaves have been gigging solidly for just under three years, starting off in local pubs before joining Jamie T in arenas. “I always relay this, but there’s a really good Cribs documentary, where Ryan Jarman says, ‘You’ve got to do your two years’ service,’” begins Vincent. “We pretty much did two years and then got signed. Without those two years, people don’t take you as seriously. We did the shit shows… If you can’t do those shit shows and maintain friendship, then you’re not gonna last the long run. We’ve already had our rocky relationship. Now we’re on the home strait. We’re the fully in love married couple with a couple of kids.” The “kids” in this scenario being a couple of albums, he clarifies.
“If you can’t do those shit shows and maintain friendship, then you’re not gonna last the long run.”
Material for their debut - set to land in early 2015 - has been drawn up from the past three months. There’s no vast back catalogue to draw from, but the duo are intent on keeping things fresh instead of riding the same wave. The timing of their ascent seems fitting. Already, though they sound nothing alike, comparisons to Royal Blood are buzzing around simply because both sport two guys capable of breaking out with a vicious sound, one that dwarfs their on-paper size. “I think all that stuff’s rubbish,” says Vincent. “At the end of the day, there are some really good four-pieces and five-pieces that are breaking through as well. You’ve got The Wytches, a three-piece. Peace blew up a while ago. Wolf Alice as well, and all these other bands people forget to mention.” The only real benefit of being a duo, he says, is that neither of them had to purchase a tour van. “It’s a bit frustrating that people try and put it in a genre. But when bands like Royal Blood are paving the way, it shows kids that actually, you don’t need to wait around for loads of members.”
Talk centres around the shows, but on record Slaves are a different prospect. Recent single ‘The Hunter’ is a bare-bones monster, a slick, blues-nodding onslaught disguised as a gentle soul. Fire-starting rock’s rarely sounded so minimal, or coined from such simplicity. Their goal is to “make music that’s different, listenable and skilful,” they state, and from an early stage they knew they were on to something.
“We knew we were doing something quite different,” says Vincent, citing energised early sessions in a mate’s practice room. “I think when we first got on stage, we were trying something different. You don’t have members to hide behind. The more ridiculous we are, the harder it is to be embarrassed about it,” he says. And it’s this attitude that runs from the stage to the studio, right up to Isaac’s “official” tweets from the band account, full of made up fibs, like the time they met Sonia from Eastenders at a BP garage. “Nonsense,” he says, shaking his head. But from the off, Slaves have done their very best to stand out in a crowd. If this equates to being terrifying, best keep those doors locked for the time being.
Taken from the December 14 / January 15 issue of DIY, out now. Photos: Emma Swann.