Slow Club's journey from a ramshackle twee-pop outfit into a wonderfully creative outfit of remarkable depth has proved to be one of British music's more under-stated passages over the past 10 years.
The band's live show has built and evolved, with Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor honing and refining their songwriting, unafraid to tackle poignantly personal topics with a rare degree of frankness and humour.
New album 'One Day All Of This Won’t Matter Anymore' is out now, and it could well rank as the pair's more mature, rounded, and intriguing full length to date.
In celebration, Clash invited Slow Club's Charles Watson's to cast a critical eye over the band's output...
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'Yeah So' (2009)
There was probably a part of me that never wanted to finish making this record, because it was all the songs we had up until that point. The thought of loosing them all and starting again was kind of terrifying, but then you do it, and you realise its the best thing in the world because it frees you to go somewhere totally different. Our approach to making 'Yeah So' was innocent and probably naive. I think we were trying to write something that sounded exotic and as far away from Rotherham as possible, but in doing that we ended up with something pretty unique.
We started recording around January 2007 in-between tour dates and worked on it for about a year when we were back home. We would write a bunch of songs go out and tour them and then go back to to the studio and record, this cycle really helped to shape the record. We worked with Mike Timm and David Glover in Axis studios in Sheffield, its still the sweetest live room we’ve ever been in.
A couple of months after 'Yeah So' was released we started making the 'Christmas Thanks For Nothing' EP in the same studio with David Glover. It was the middle of August but we just wanted an excuse to get back in the studio, that's really the reason making the EP. 'Baby Please Come Home' is still one of my favourite Slow Club recordings.
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We toured so much just after 'Yeah So' and leading into writing 'Paradise' so we were always dropping new songs in the set but it go to the point where we couldn’t really do what we wanted to do live with just the two of us. We started to demo stuff at home, and although it was pretty primitive it gave us a chance to try and paint a picture of where we wanted the next record to go. There was a lot of time sat spent with loops and pedals leading up to this album, maybe you can tell, I don’t know. I still really love the mood of this record. It was something that we all tried really hard to get, and there was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing as Rebecca and myself were starting to listen to different music, and wanted to take it in different directions but I think that's always been how our band has worked. There's a creative tension there that might not be the most comfortable thing in the world but it ensures you do something that would be impossible to do alone.
We worked with Luke Smith in London and still two records on I feel like he imprinted something of his own outlook on us that I don't think we'll ever shake. There were fundamental things that I'm not sure I understood about music before this session. Luke used the word groove a lot, and at first I thought he was just using it in the way that maybe a geography teacher might use the word 'rad' or 'dude' but then I realised there was this huge part of music that I just had no understanding of, slightly disheartening but hugely informative.
It was a like a kung fu film where you go and stay with a master at the top of a mountain. I think we both came back down a little different.
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'Complete Surrender' (2014)
Normally there's a couple of tunes on a record that feel really magical when your making it, but with Colin most of them had that feeling. It was was a really quick process and I think we learnt a lot on Paradise that made making this record easier. Knowing when you're wrong and knowing when you're right. That kinda stuff. Colin really understood where it needed to go. 'Tears Of Joy' best sums up this record, there's a super laid-back vibe that all started with a brush-stroke my house mate did for me one afternoon.
We’ve tried to be prepared going into sessions but I honestly think the best moments are when you haven’t got a clue what you’re doing. 'Dependable People' was a really amazing track to see come alive. Stephen Black and Avvon Chambers who were our touring band did a really sweet job. That song is ace and considering how huge we had attempted to make other songs sound it was really nice to have a couple that were back to basics.
Working at Yellow Arch Studios was something that we had wanted to do for years, we used to rehearse there and would hear Richard Hawley’s guitar sometimes coming from the live room down that hall (because it's the loudest fucking thing ever). We were half way through the session and there was a knock at the door and Jarvis Cocker came in to use the minidisc writer - yes, that's the real reason. That was a weird moment. He was sat on the edge of the sofa asking us what band we were in and in my head I had one of those moment where I was like 'ermm Jarv mate what you talking about we’ve been mates for years' and then I remembered that was all in my head.
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'I Swam Out To Greet You' (2015)
This was our 12 inch covers album, released for Record Store Day in 2015. We recorded most of it at home so its fairly lo-fi but there's a couple of tracks on there we made with David Glover at Tesla and a version of 'Killing Moon' we recorded with Annie Hart in New York about 2008. There’s covers of Neil Young, Bob Dylan, The Eagles, Pulp, The Mae Shi, Arthur Russell. The title is taken from a lyric in The Wave Pictures song 'Blue Harbour'.
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'One Day All This Won't Matter Anymore' (2016)
This is the most traditional way we've made a record and we did it in eight days. Playing with the Spacebomb band was a massive honour. They all have such strong identities with their instruments and that comes across so clearly on the record. Matthew E. White produced the record but watching how he works, he was more like a conductor, his instrument a massive pad of paper. After each practise he'd make a page full of notes, run it again, page full of notes, run it again.
I would love to make another record like this. Having other people playing allows so much more depth as the boys were drawing on their own musical backgrounds, this allowed for a much more spontaneous sounding album. What you hear was pretty much all played live. The first song we recorded was 'Where The Light Gets Lost' and it kind of set the tone for the whole week. I was really impressed by how much Matthew E. White wanted to make it slow, we’ve wanted to make a slow night time record for such a long time and working with Matthew and the Spacebomb band was the perfect environment for that.
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'One Day All This Won't Matter Anymore' is out now on Moshi Moshi.
Catch Slow Club live at the following shows:
1 Margate By The Sea Festival
20 Brighton The Haunt
21 Bath Moles
22 Leicester O2 Academy
25 Liverpool The Magnet
26 Newcastle The Cluny
27 Glasgow Oran Mor
28 Manchester Band On The Wall
30 Leeds Brudenell Social Club
31 London Village Underground
1 Cardiff The Globe
3 Sheffield Yellow Arch Studios
4 Sheffield Yellow Arch Studios
5 Sheffield Yellow Arch Studios