Hailing from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, Slaves have woken up 2015 by weaving themselves into our consciousness through their grimy punk sound. Their debut album Are You Satisfied? refreshes punk and questions the need to fit into society in order to be happy. Having played at Glastonbury and Reading and Leeds this summer, as well as being nominated for BBC Sound of Music 2015, it’s safe to say they’re having quite an impact.
Isaac Holman and Laurie Vincent persevered with their music before signing with Virgin EMI records and appearing on this year’s NME Awards Tour. They want to encourage others to stick with what they love, even if success doesn’t happen straight away.
In an interview with NME, the band recount anecdotes about fans who have been inspired by Slaves to go after their dreams, their music having given them that feeling of hope. And it’s hard not to see why, with the angry energy of their music and the lyrics stating:
‘If you’re not moving, do something. No-one’s gonna help you, gotta do it for yourself.’
These lyrics from ‘Do Something,’ resonate with anyone who feels stuck where they are, which coupled with raw energy and punk attitude, is uplifting to listen to. When discussing the track, Laurie told Mancunian Matters:
“Our generation are introverted. It’s a very broad comment, but we can all be culprits because of the way the modern world is as well.”
The duo want to incite listeners to, well, do something, rather than be passive and just accept their fate.
Their distaste for boring, conventional jobs is made clear through the lyrics of ‘Cheer Up London’, singing:
‘Put another hole in your pay check, are you done digging your grave yet?’
Then going on to yell ‘You’re dead already’ in the chorus. It hints that life in the 21st century is empty and money-driven, with people being enslaved by their limited means or simply following what they think they’re supposed to do.[video:https://youtu.be/sCU9ZKgfwlc]
While the band are often hailed as being a resurgence of punk, Slaves are wary of being referred to as a punk band as they feel the genre is often defined by a fashion statement now, often centred around the image rather than what it meant in the emergence of punk back in the 1970s. The band seem to gravitate towards the grime genre but maybe settling for a neat definition just isn’t what they’re all about.
It hasn’t all been smooth sailing given the understandable outrage at a white, all-male group going by the name of Slaves. The name is intended to refer to society being enslaved by modern life, but it has caused controversy given the historical context of the word and the band’s seemingly casual use of it.
So, back to the music. I’ve compiled a list of my favourite Slaves songs, including the slightly nonsensical hit ‘Feed the Mantaray,’ followed by ‘The Hunter,’ ‘Cheer Up London,’ ‘Sockets,’ ‘It’s An Epidemic’ and ‘Do Something’.
The band are on tour from October, hitting locations in the States and Europe, as well as the UK. Some of the dates are already sold out so make sure to check the schedule and get your tickets now to avoid disappointment! You can also follow the band on Facebook and Twitter.
Are you a fan of Slaves? Let us know in the comments below!