The Verse’s Luca Van Dresh interviews Laurie Vincent from punk band Slaves to discuss touring, the UK music scene and Donald Trump
Is this the first time you’ve played in Bexhill-on-Sea?
Yeah first time I’ve ever been here, I grew up in Kent and I used to visit Hastings a lot but I’ve not been to Bexhill before. We have played loads of places in Brighton over the years, The Prince Albert, Green Door Store, Concorde 2 but we have never done The Haunt which is quite a shame, I would love to play there.
Do you ever notice a difference between crowds depending where you play?
Yeah – when you do it on a global scale there are obviously differences, the way people are in different countries, people are brought up differently. Last night we were in Belgium and some guy’s way of affection was telling me to fuck off in between every song, so you notice a difference (laughs).
Is the UK music scene in a good place right now?
Yeah, I think there is some great talent coming through. You’ve got Life and Shame who are both supporting us, it’s getting better and there is still a lot of hope. You’ve still got The Cribs, Jamie T and The Libertines leading the way but the fresh blood is quite exciting like Spring King. When you write down the list it might not be as iconic as ’77 but there is a lot of good stuff happening.
Do you think it’s difficult for bands to get started nowadays?
There are two sides to everything, in some ways it’s easier to get started cos you can just record stuff on your laptop and put it online straight away but in some ways, it’s harder. It’s difficult to get confidence because things like that are so easy it’s hard to work out if it’s good or not because I remember when we first started you got £100 together to record something and you had to make it good and you had to like it because you only had one shot. So, for some people it’s easier and for some it will put them off even starting.
You’re often described as a punk act, Is that something your happy with?
At first it was something we didn’t like for a long time but we have accepted it because we are. When I first started, I wanted to make punk music but there a lot of other influences in there. We are not just a straight up punk band; we have some songs that might surprise people. I’m comfortable with it now and it’s nice to be one of the only punk acts around (laughs).
You have just released your second album, was there a difference in mindset when making that album?
Yeah, it had the feeling of our first EP Sugar Coated Bitter Truth in terms of just making what we wanted to make. When we made our first album Are You Satisfied? there were some nerves and trying to make everyone happy, at the time I didn’t realise it but I feel like we listened to more people than we did in making this album. We didn’t compromise but we had A&R’s coming in and out of the studio, they didn’t ever get the better of us we stood up to them but this time we just shut ourselves off and said here’s the album we’ve done it. Which was cool because that took a leap of faith for them to let us do it and so far, it seems to have worked.
Are you bothered about breaking America?
No, especially because of the current climate there. I really want to make it in Europe and I care more about the places we could just drive to especially after Brexit I feel more passionately about these places we could just roam about freely and hopefully we will once again. America is so far away; it seems like going there would be like running before you can walk. I would love to do America but at the moment it’s not at the forefront of my mind I want to maintain what we have got here. If it happens it happens, Oasis didn’t make it in America and their all right aren’t they (laughs).
While we are on America, thoughts on Donald Trump being the most powerful man in the world?
I said it would happen. A week before Brexit I said we are going to go out of Europe and Trump will be president and it was just a sick twisted feeling. Its disgusting and I’ve lost so much faith in humanity but it’s going to be great for music and art. If you look at the Reagan/Thatcher era it was great for art, so in a sick way maybe it will inspire people to be creative and that is the only positive you can draw from it.
There seems to be a resurgence in vinyl sales, is this something you’re happy about?
I’ve got a bigger love of vinyl since making our own records and putting the artwork together, we make proper vinyl still we don’t just do the CD and then replicate it it’s a whole different process. Making our vinyl we print on the inlay, put stuff in it, we emboss it, we do it matt there is a load of stuff that goes into it that people don’t even realise. With a CD, its very much that you get a CD case and you get an inlay and its usually flat with gloss paper but as an artist when you pick up Are You Satisfied? and you run your hands over it and then look at the back and its mirrored then all of a sudden you are having this huge interaction with a record. In Belgium, a fan brought the two records with them to get them signed and it was incredible I hadn’t put the two of them together before and it was like wow I’ve done that. It’s just a beautiful thing there is nothing like taking them out and putting them on and hearing that sound, it builds an intimate relationship. Spotify is brilliant but it’s not the same, if you get rid of vinyl then there is less and less for artists to do (laughs).
And finally, what is the best piece of advice anyone has given you?
Just be nice to everyone and that was Isaac that told me that (Isaac Holman, Slaves vocalist), because if you’re a dick to people on the way up they will remember you on the way down. Be nice to the people that work in these venues, the people on the bar, the people who sweep up, the person who sorts out your rider, the promoter, there are so many people that make a gig happen and it’s just nice to be nice. What’s the point in being a dick?