Die UK Band Slowcoaches spielt am 14. November um 21:30 (Einlass 20:30) im schon schön in Mainz. Ihr Album “Nothing Gives” verspricht eine gehörige Portion Energie und entgegnet depressiven Phasen mit Stärke und Entschlossenheit.
On Dec 2nd, 2016 you released your album “Nothing Gives”. On your label’s homepage you say that you went through a pretty dark phase by the time of working on the album. How is your phase visible/hearable in that album and what effect did your work on it had on your dark phase?
The phrase ‘dark phase’ makes me laugh a bit. I’m not sure where that came from! But yes I think that certain negative experiences I went through (and still go through) contributed to the record in so many ways. Everything from the lyrics, the way it was recorded so quickly, the way the songs are put together, the way the vocals are delivered – I think it would be very hard to separate mood and experience from the writing and recording process.
I think that the effect the writing and recording process had (and still has) for me is this: It’s amazing is that you can take something you wrote maybe 12 months ago when you were having a bad time and play it to a bunch of people who take some kind of enjoyment, or comfort from it. It turns it in to something positive and that’s essentially therapy – taking something negative and turning it in to something good. I mean I’ve had people say that they really identify with the lyrics on that record which just feels weird in a really good way. That’s really constructive and gives me a lot of hope.
Music was the thing that really helped me to find a place.
Somewhat related to that first question: To what extent did the place you grew up and spend your childhood had an influence on your music?
That’s a great question. I’ve never been asked this before. I’m not sure whether the places I spent in my early childhood influenced my music very much, although there was always music in the house. My dad plays guitar and we would often dance to Madness or the Beatles at home. It was when I went to secondary school that I think my personality and the trajectory of my life started to shift quite dramatically. I had a really teally tough time at school. I was a really skinny, boyish, pale and shy kid and I was bullied pretty badly at school until I was about 17. That coupled with my crippling anxiety and panic attacks meant a lot of my youth was spent feeling pretty terrified of everything and everyone. I still find a lot of comfort in a bathroom stall! But when I turned maybe 16 and I got in to metal, I found some friends that finally seemed more like me. Things started looking up then! Music was the thing that really helped me to find a place.
Then when I moved to Leeds at 18 I was swept up in a city that for various reasons, quite soon felt very dark, lonely and alienating. The time I spent in that city, the people I met and things I experienced definitely had a huge impact on me musically and personally. I think it was maybe a combination of my emotional landscape plus the physical landscape of the city – Leeds is a big, grey, industrial city in West Yorkshire – they kind of fed in to each other and my world became very dark and oppressive. It was at that time that I started writing music.
“Living Out” in some way introduces us to the album’s theme: How it feels like to be an outsider in society. What is your recommendation for people who have trouble to fit in or who are being alienated by the masses?
This is a tough one to answer because everyone’s experiences are so different. I would say from my personal experience that things do get better – being young is so hard and it feels like it lasts forever – especially when you’re having a hard time. I wish I could go back to school now, with the friends I have now. I’d have the best time!
The best thing you can do is talk to someone about how you feel. It’s hard to reach out but once you do, you realise that a lot of people feel just like you do. Also I’d say don’t be afraid to be who you are. Ultimately that’s how you’ll find friends who truly love your company.
Finally, find a hobby or something you enjoy, where you can meet new people. Being in a band has changed my life. I’ve made more friends than I ever imagined I would.
You say that your music is very raw. The cities you go to in the U.K. – Manchester or Sheffield- also remind me of rawness, specially related to the music scene. Is there a difference between playing in those cities to lets say, a German city?
We’ve only played in Germany a couple of times. I’d say there are comparisons and differences, depending where you go. I think maybe if you’re thinking of a Joy Division-era Manchester then yes, there was and still is a rawness to these places – like Leeds, which I was talking about earlier. But ultimately any place is made by the people who live there and we’re lucky that in both the UK and Germany, people are so warm and kind to us when we play! That can change your whole perception of a place.
Somewhat related to the last question: What is it like to be a band in the UK. There are so many amazing bands in the now and in the past. Is it hard for you to get heard, or rather easier to find an audience because so many people are into music?
I think it’s easier in some ways and harder in others. You could look at other bands as competition or as allies. I prefer the latter but a lot of bands see it as a race. As long as we’re travelling and meeting people and playing shows, the three of us are happy. And as long as I feel that I’m writing something that has meaning and substance and isn’t just an attempt to enter a popularity contest, then I’m happy. If people wanna come see that, then that’s a bonus.
Thank you so much for the interview and see you on Tuesday!
/Photos: Press Slowcoaches