Exposed Meets Slow Club.
Hailing from Sheffield, home-grown duo Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor make up harmonising, scruffy pop duo Slow Club. Since forming the band almost ten years ago as teenagers, Slow Club have gone from strength to strength – performing all over the world and supporting globally recognised artists (Florence and the Machine, Mumford and Sons and KT Tunstall to name a few). The pair will be returning to our fine Sheffield shores for what’s set to be an epic sold-out gig at Queens Club Social February 28. We had a natter with Charles to find out all about it.
Thanks for talking to Exposed, Charles. You’ll be joining us in Sheffield February 28 at Queens Social Club – looking forward to returning home?
Absolutely! It’s always lovely coming back to Sheffield. Not only is it always a good gig but it gives us the opportunity to catch up with family and friends after being away. Plus, the gig has sold out, which is always a good feeling.
It’s near approaching the 10 year anniversary of the formation of Slow Club. How’s that feel?
It’s certainly a weird one. It really feels like it’s gone so quickly, definitely doesn’t feel like almost ten years, I mean we started when we were only 17. We can’t remember the specific date we started – so can’t have a specific celebration – but we’re just really happy to still be here making music.
As you mentioned, you started Slow Club when you and Rebecca were just teenagers. How did you manage to stay motivated?
Well, we were having so much fun making our music. We were just totally in love with what we were doing – without that there wouldn’t be any motivation or drive. It was just what we did as teenagers. In Sheffield and, I suppose in a lot of other cities too, there’s a big youth music scene – so it’s not something too abnormal. It’s just how we passed the time.
How has your relationship changed over the years?
I suppose it’s changed like any relationship. As you get older, you get a bit wiser, and your perspective of the world changes. Our working relationship is quite different to your typical working relationship. We’re friends – and obviously with ten years of working together our friendship has gotten stronger. We have the same friendship group and have been through a lot together. I find it quite hard to imagine life without her.
Very lovely! So has yours and Rebecca’s writing process changed since you started?
I think it’s been changing constantly throughout time; we don’t have any particular formula. It’s hard to describe how our writing process works – we still can’t explain how we do it! We both just encourage each other creatively and share the vision… it’s difficult imagining trying to write without the other. I think, when it comes to writing, the harder you try coming up with something the more difficult it becomes… so we just like to go with the flow.
So what’s been your career highlight?
Ooh, that’s difficult. There was one moment which particularly stood out to me a few years ago. We were touring in America and driving up the highway from San Francisco. Anyway, we ended up stopping and watched the sunset on top of a mountain above the clouds. It was summer and the views were amazing. That’s a memory that certainly stands out to me looking back. In terms of gigs, our last gig in London was probably one of our highlights. It was a really big and wicked show. We played the new record start to finish – which was great. For the last few years, when we’ve toured, we’ve toured with a whole band behind us – but for this show we went back to basics with it being just me and Rebecca.
You’ve toured over the UK, Europe, the US, Australia and Japan. Where’s your favourite place to play?
We always love playing Glasgow. Driving up to Scotland always gives me that holiday feeling – it’s a lovely drive with some amazing views. Japan, on the other hand, is just absolutely crazy – a completely different culture to what we’re used to. While we were over there, we were playing about three gigs a day for a week, which was really intense! The US is always good to tour, the crowds are always very responsive and enthusiastic, which I think is quite different to Europe who tend to be a little more reserved. When you tour you find that every city has its own different personality.
Are you hitting up the UK festival scene at all this year?
Oh yeah, definitely – full whack!
Maybe Glasto again..?
Ha, maybe, I’d love to play Glastonbury again!
You’ve been described by a lot of the music media as being ‘anti-folk’. Thoughts?
Not a fan! It’s something that was mentioned by a music magazine when we were in our earlier years – and from then it just stuck. But we don’t consider ourselves as being ‘anti-folk’. We like pop, music from the 60’s and 70’s. We just like to make the music we make and don’t like having labels applied to it. Labels like that aren’t very helpful!
Your latest and third album, Complete Surrender, did sound very different to its predecessors. Did you go into this album with the intention of making a different type of record?
I think at that point we just wanted to make simpler records. We started using fewer layers and making the music more stripped-back. We also incorporated some brass and string which is something we hadn’t done before – which did give it a different sound to our previous work. We also concentrated a lot more on the lyrics for Complete Surrender; previously it’s something we’ve been a bit distracted from as we were focusing more on the sound but, for this album, it was definitely a focal point.
Finally then, I know it’s a couple of years ago now, but a certain Daniel Radcliffe starred in the video for your single ‘Beginners’. How did that come about?
Yeah, he’s a fan! At the time he was guest editing for Timeout magazine, and he was asked who he’d like to interview – so he chose us. We did the interview – and things just went from there!
For more information about Slow Club head to www.slowclubband.com. For tickets to the Queens Social Club show on February 28, see www.leadmill.co.uk.
Slow Club: The Facts
The band released two 7″ singles in 2007, ‘Because We’re Dead’ and ‘Me and You’, on Moshi Moshi Records. On September 1, 2008, their first extended play, ‘Let’s Fall Back in Love’, was released.
They released a Christmas single, titled ‘Christmas TV’, in December 2008.
Their debut album, ‘Yeah So’, was recorded by Mike Timm at Axis Studio in Sheffield and released in July 2009 – followed by the release of their second EP ‘Christmas, Thanks For Nothing’ in December 2009.
The band’s second album, ‘Paradise’, produced by Luke Smith (Clor), was released on September 12, 2011. In 2012 ‘Beginners’, the final single from the album, was released.
In spring 2013, the band went back into the studio with Colin Elliot (who has worked with Richard Hawley) and started recording their third album. The album Complete Surrender was released on July 14, 2014.