Named after a frenetic, 15-second early track and scrawled on the back of their debut mini EP (“We self-released it and had to make up a name; ever since, it seemed like a good one that we wanted to do something with,” notes guitarist Laurie Vincent), you can understand why Slaves would want to call their new label Girl Fight Records. In reality though, their chosen moniker couldn’t be further away from the ethos at the centre of the venture.
Signing fellow Kent dwellers Lady Bird up for their debut release, Girl Fight Records’ first foray into the game is basically one big bromance. “Me and Isaac both knew [Lady Bird singer Don Lennols] before we knew each other,” Laurie continues. “We’ve all been interwoven in the scene in Kent for a long time. Because we’ve got a past with them, it felt even more relevant to do something with people from where we’re from and that we feel passionate about.”
Formed 18 months ago, the members of Lady Bird (completed by guitarist Alex Deadman and drummer Joe Walker) had played in bands with and around the Slaves boys since their youth. “I used to go round Isaac’s and his mum would give him a tenner if he did the ironing and the washing up, then we’d go and buy a couple of beers and sit in the local park,” recalls Don – currently on vocal rest after a throat operation and writing down a series of bon mots on his trusty notepad. The friends continued to follow each others’ career paths, and today we join them as they seal the deal with a ceremonial signing in, erm… Camden Wetherspoons. “These places have become our drinking grounds,” notes Laurie. “Yates and ‘Spoons – that’s the title of our next album.”
“We’ve all been interwoven in the scene in Kent for a long time.”
But there’s a more notable reason for heading to the bargain boozer than merely the chance to get tipsy on a new beverage the pals have dubbed ‘Turbo Woo Woos’ (half a glass of Woo Woo cocktail and half a glass of pink prosecco FYI). Lady Bird’s first track - the lead single from forthcoming EP ‘Social Potions’ aka Girl Fight’s first proper release - is a two-and-a-half minute playful punk blast dedicated to the Curry Club-touting chain entitled ‘Spoons’ (sorry Laurie, too late). “It’s an encapsulation of a confused young man in a world he doesn’t really understand and he’s found himself in ‘Spoons,” begins Alex. “The wider narrative of the EP is of escaping vicious life cycles in general, but told through a three-day bender with this vulnerable geezer,” continues Don. “Telling stories is the thing I adore most about music, from Jamie T to Isaac and things before like Ian Dury,” picks up Laurie. “That’s what was so special about when I first listened to Lady Bird and I think that’s what this EP has; they’ve got the ability to paint a picture in my head.”
Currently, Lady Bird are Girl Fight Records’ only project, and Laurie and Isaac are keen to stress the industry-swerving nature of the label as a whole. “We’re not gonna force stuff out, it’s gonna be music we feel really passionate about that we’ve got some connection to. We’re not trying to meet quotas or anything,” Laurie continues. “Me and Isaac, I like to think we’re purists. We didn’t form a band to copy anyone else and we’ve never done anything to be like anyone else. [The label is] just an extension of what we do as a band – no rules.” Citing their previous split 7” with punk quartet Wonk Unit as an example of what could emerge from the collaborative nature of Girl Fight, Slaves are using their increasing musical platform to give a leg up to their peers who might have fallen slightly wide of London’s spotlight.
But for now, Slaves and Lady Bird have got more immediate matters to deal with: namely, the 10 glasses of milk, four bowls of ice cream, 10 packs of nuts and various other miscellaneous goods that have been sent to their table following a fleeting Twitter post informing fans of their whereabouts. The life of a group of hard-working label execs, eh?
Lady Bird’s ‘Social Potions EP’ is out via Girl Fight Records on 23rd February.
Taken from the February 2018 issue of DIY, out now. Read online or subscribe below.
Photos: Emma Swann