Following on from the success of ‘Cavalcade’, Manchester’s The Slow Readers Club returns with new album ‘Build a Tower’ and supporting live shows so Damian Robinson caught up with lead singer Aaron Starkie to find more about new single, ‘You Opened up my Heart’, and the pressure of living up to a ‘best live act’ reputation.
‘You Opened up my Heart’ sounds amazing and is perhaps the most synth-heavy track to date in the Slow Readers catalogue. How did the track come about? And was there a particular reason for the prominence of the synths in the track?
Thank you. The song was built out of jamming sessions as we usually work that way. We started with synth, drums and vocals and the bass and main guitar riff were built on top. It’s an indie-electro dance tune so synths felt right. The main riff is guitar though really with synths backing it up. It’s the middle eight/breakdown that makes that tune for me though, the ‘Believe enough to lose control’ bit, when we had that, we knew we had something special.
‘Heart’ is supported by an amazing, visually-striking, video. Where did the concept come from?
The video was produced in collaboration with Croftwerk who we have worked with on our previous videos. We wanted something that used lots of colour and graphics, with quick cuts that matched the energy of the tune. Chris at Croftwerk came up with the main concept, built a huge net cube and used four projectors to project a video that wrapped around the whole thing. It would be amazing to do that live some day.
We’re getting excited about the new album ‘Build a Tower’…what can you tell us about the album and how would you say it fits in the Slow Readers catalogue?
It has a different energy to previous records: musically, it’s more adventurous and lyrically, it is more positive. Our previous albums have been quite melancholy and introspective lyrically, but it felt a bit indulgent to sing about existential angst when the world around us is so bleak at the moment. There’s still the same commitment to great melody but hopefully, there are a few surprises.
You’ll be back on tour in a few weeks time with a visit to the North East. Do you prefer being in the studio or out on the road?
That depends as sometimes the studio can be fantastic as there are moments when you create something on the spot that just works instantly and there are times it can be a bit of a grind. I guess nothing beats playing live though; seeing people sing familiar tunes back is always a buzz.
With your reputation now firmly set as one of the best live acts around, do you enjoy the challenge of matching your reputation? Or is it an extra pressure?
We always try and improve what we do so the pressure is good. We have developed our act quite a bit compared to when we started out. I guess we would have a problem if people weren’t talking about us – goes with the territory, doesn’t it? If you get up on stage you have to be prepared for praise and criticism.
Finally, what’s planned for the rest of the year?
We have sold out our hometown show at Manchester Cathedral as well as Leeds Brudenell Social Club and a few of the other shows are close so it should be a cool tour. We are also playing Liverpool Sound City, Stag and Dagger Festival and Kendal Calling Main Stage. We may have some other festivals to announce too so look out.
The Slow Readers Club plays Newcastle’s Riverside on 10th May. Tickets, priced at £16.50, are available from seetickets.com.