Four days into their month-long UK tour, The Verse meets with Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson, multi-instrumentalists and members of the boy-girl duo Slow Club. We briefly discuss narrowly avoided University moves (one almost ending up studying English Lit. at Sussex – probably for the best), and Rebecca’s recurring dream that she’s going out with Brooklyn Beckham, before they invite me down to their dressing room for a beer.
So, inappropriate crushes aside, how’s the tour going?
Charles Watson: Yeah, it’s been going great. Brilliant actually, probably one of the best we’ve ever done; the shows have been really busy. It’s been nice because we’ve had a bit of a break, and so we’ve all come back feeling refreshed. We’ve got a new kind of line up, a new bass player, and it all feels really nice and kind of fresh, so, good.
Back to the beginning – how did you guys meet? How did “Slow Club” come around?
RT: We always try to make the other one answer this (laughs). So, we were at school… He came to my school for a Samba workshop day, and all the girls fancied him (I didn’t, FYI), and so he started going out with one of my friends. Me and Charles used to talk about Jeff Buckley on MSN, then I started drumming in a band in Sheffield with these boys from University, and we needed a frontman, so I said I knew this guy. So, we were in a different band for a while and then we started writing songs together and just performing as a two-piece, and then the other band just kind of stopped, and we just carried on so…
CW: That’s the full version…
What’s the condensed version, Charles? Is that what you tend to tell, if Rebecca calls dibs first?
CW: Yep, basically. “We met in school…” that’s it. (laughs)
So, besides Jeff Buckley, obviously you guys shared an interest in his music… Any other main influences?
CW: I think apart from the classics, obviously like Neil Young, the Beach Boys, all that sort of 60s/70s stuff… We were both really into Bright Eyes when we first started. I’ve recently just started listening to [them] again, and they’re still amazing. I really love The Shins, as well… When we first started, they were probably one of the bands that made me want to do this. But I guess it changes.
RT: Yeah, we’ve got, like, the fundamental foundations that we’ll always share. Bright Eyes, Fleetwood Mac, that kind of thing… The Beatles. And then we’re both into quite varied things as well, that each of us don’t like of each others’, but there are a few things now and again that we’ll agree on.
Do these different tastes ever clash, during the song-writing process?
RT: Oh yeah.
CW: We probably disagree on most things but when there is a sort of crossover, that’s what bites…
RT: If we didn’t clash as much as we did, we’d probably have like twenty albums [by now]. But apparently that’s what makes our band good?
What’s behind the name, “Slow Club”? Tell me a little about where that came from.
CW: It was… I’ve actually never seen the film. It was from Blue Velvet, which was Rebecca’s idea… I did start watching it, but then I fell asleep and thought, actually, I got this far, I might just not watch it.
RT: Yeah, it’s really boring. I never really liked the film.
CW: But I do like Agent Coop. (referring to Kyle Maclachlan’s character in Twin Peaks)
RT: I was a pretentious teenage film knob. And that’s where the name comes from.
You guys are three albums in now… How have different inspirations influenced your sound over this time?
RT: We’ve just toured so much… I think, with the first record you just make what you want to make. The second album, we wanted to experiment a lot, and then we tried to tour with that album, and you sort of realise what works and what doesn’t… Being in a band is mainly touring now – it’s not as equal as it used to be between that and recording – so you just start to find out what you enjoy playing live, what connects quickly… But I’m sure we’ll do another album that’s really experimental and impossible to play live one day, and that’d be really enjoyable. We sort of treat them like little puzzles… But yeah, it’s progressing just because we’re getting older as well. We’re more tasteful.
CW: I think that’s the biggest answer with everything really, the way that you view the world. And there are a lot of records [that you discover]… I’ve just really discovered Michael Jackson last year; I was on the piss and suddenly it all just sort of made sense.
RT: He finally understood Michael!
CW: But you know what I mean? That’s the thing – it’s not all about just finding new bands [to draw inspiration from] – there are songs that you may know really well but they don’t really seem to click into place for me until maybe the 100th time I’ve listened to them.
Are there any songs in particular that you guys prefer to play live?
RT: Yeah, but we just let the ones we don’t particularly like playing drop off the edge… But I like playing all the songs we play, really.
CW: Yeah, me too, definitely. I think some are better in some venues… Like, the quieter ones work better in some environments, and then it’s really nice to play in a dirty club where everyone’s moving, so they’re two different things really.
What about being a two-piece? Do you find the song-writing process can mesh together quite well, or are you more ready to kill each other at the end of a tour?
CW: I think any band’s like that really… If you spend enough time with someone, or with a group of people, in that kind of intense environment, everyone goes a bit stir crazy. I think that it’s just good to then have some time apart, and then come back. But some bands live together and make it work. I don’t know how they do it, just being together all the time, but yeah, I think we’ve found a nice kind of “thing”, a nice way of doing it.
So what’s next for the band – any plans post-tour?
RT: You tell us! Probably taking it as easy as we can, and then keep playing when gigs come up. But we’ve had a really mad and intense year so we just want to pick wisely. Probably some kind of million-pound thing will happen to us, I imagine (laughs).
CW: A million pound thing? You mean the fourth album?
RT: Well, yeah. When we feel like it we’ll write another album together.
CW: By ‘Becky Taylor and the Slowies’.
RT: Slow Slows (laughs).
Any plans for the summer? Any festivals?
RT: I don’t think so… We haven’t had the call yet!
CW: Headlining on Sunday afternoon…
RT: (joking) Oh yeah, we’re headlining Glastonbury, but apart from that… That’s the only one we’re doing, isn’t it? Oh and Reading and Leeds headliner. Our email is ‘MumfordAndSons.com’ (laughs). Yeah, I don’t know. Hopefully. We’d both like to play lots of festivals, make lots of money, and have a year out. But it’s unlikely. I want a guitar shaped swimming pool soon… So we’re just waiting for that.
Have you had any real “pinch yourself” moments in your career so far?
RT: Well, we’re painfully down-to-earth… We wouldn’t pinch ourselves anyway, but we have done some really amazing stuff… [On working with Daniel Radcliffe in their Beginners music video], yeah, that was pretty cool. I dunno, Charles, have you?
CW: I’m just trying to think…
RT: There again, you just get on with it. I mean it’s pretty great that this is our lives… But as great as it is, it’s sometimes horrendous, so… It’s like anything. It’s lovely when we play really big venues, and that feels amazing, and I love it when we’re on telly – I just love all that shit. I think one of the weirdest experiences we’ve had is that we were on P Diddy’s TV show in LA… It was P Diddy wasn’t it?
CW: I can’t remember… I think I might have blocked that bit out.
RT: Charles literally had to have some counselling… (laughs)
CW: It was just this really high octane TV show, and I kind of felt like I was just supporting Jay Z playing ‘Scarborough Fair’ with no mic…
RT: Yeah, it was like this really urban show…
CW: And they were all like (faux American accent) “OKAY, next on SMTV…”
RT: Yeah… Those moments are weird. And everyone looked like a Sim. All the girls had short skirts on and these rock-y belts and spiky hair, like on The Sims. And all the guys had hoodies on… It was just so weird. Still, all press is good press!
Well, you’ve definitely had some experiences! Just lastly, do you have any advice for any young musicians?
RT: Get really good at it. Play lots. Don’t expect anything, ever.
CW: Yeah, just play as much as you can, I think.
RT: Probably… Do something else though? If you want a house, if you want to own property, get a job! But no, really, just get really good – that’s the main thing.
CW: Yeah, just play. Play, play, play. I think that’s the most important thing, because everything just unfolds from that. If you’re a good band live, then people talk about that, the records reflect it. Just listen to as much as you can.
Thanks, it’s been great chatting to you guys; we look forward to seeing the show.
Interview by: Nammie Matthews
The Verse saw Slow Club (supported by comedienne Mae Martin) perform at Brighton Dome Studio on the 9th February 2015.
You can read our review of the show here.