In a world where the guitarist from 5 Seconds of Summer is regularly seen wearing a Bad Brains t-shirt, where Iggy Pop appears alongside a puppet version of himself in insurance ads and where the artist formerly known as Johnny Rotten is now more recognised for flogging butter and a jungle-based reality TV show, it becomes easier and easier to become disillusioned with the idea of punk.
However, regardless of what the music sounds like, punk will remain a vitally important attitude. This belief is firmly held by Laurie Vincent, guitarist in snotty two piece Slaves.
“Just being a band that does what they want [makes them punk],” he says. “It’s got nothing to do with your style, or what you play, it’s just your attitude. Being true to yourself, not dressing a certain way because someone tells you to, doing what you want and having fun. I think Robbie Williams is punk, he just does whatever he wants.”
With Vincent accompanied by drummer and singer Isaac Holman, this attitude has spread through every facet of Slaves, from their enigmatic sound and set up - with Isaac taking lead vocals while standing up and thrashing a minimal drum kit set up, while Laurie turns out dirty riffs drenched in distortion. There’s also something inherently British about the two piece, harking back to classic UK punk. Even the way the Kent duo present themselves, sitting somewhere between the ‘60s style of Mods and the cast of Shane Meadows This Is England, owes a great deal to old Blighty.
“I think we drew off a lot of different subcultures and the way we dress is a part of that,” explains Laurie.
Along with drawing influence from Britain’s rich history of subcultures, the duo draw upon a whole host of musical influences, including garage rock, reggae, and obscure bands from Isaac’s dad’s record collection. It’s resulted in Slaves having a sound that bares its teeth and spits bile. However their aggressive songs are juxtaposed with a sense of fun and ludicrous that equally encapsulates the UK’s unique sense of humour, in the vein of Monty Python and Bottom. For as chaotic as songs like Debbie, Where’s Your Car? and Girl Fight are, they also revel in being delightfully silly, something the band credit to every day life.
“They’re all just real things that happened,” stresses Laurie. “Where’s Your Car, Debbie? is tongue in cheek, but there were rumours of a sighting of Big Foot near the Forum in Tunbridge Wells, and we were walking a girl called Debbie back to her car, and Isaac just went ‘Debbie, where’s you car?’ I was like ‘That would be a sick lyric.’ Her car was never lost or anything.”
Slaves’ accomplishments are already piling up, with the duo securing radio air play, a string of festival appearances and most recently a slot on Later… with Jools Holland alongside global megastars/iPhone invaders U2. When asked to pick a highlight, Laurie struggles to pick just one, noting that it’s all been a something of a whirlwind for a band determined to make music on their own terms.
“I’m making the music I want to make,” the guitarist states. “Slaves is the band I’ve always wanted to be in.”
Slaves are currently on tour in the UK supporting Jamie T, as well as playing the following headline shows:
November 05 Derby The Hairy Dog
November 06 Milton Keynes Crauford Arms
November 09 York Fibbers: Live Music Venue
November 12 Liverpool The Shipping Forecast
November 16 Wolverhampton Slade Rooms
November 20 London, Dalston The Victoria
Laurie Vincent recently spoke with TeamRock Radio’s Matt Stocks on The Punk Show. Check out the show here.
For more info on Slaves, check out their website.