Interview: Slow Club
We chat to Charles Watson and read his tarot cards.
Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor are Slow Club, one of those boy/girl duos that churn out saccharine folk-pop which makes you want to sway side-to-side and be fancy free. Maybe it's got something to do with their roots growing up in Sheffield, England – known for its distinctively DIY music scene – but these guys aren't shy of an unconventional approach. Slow Club have been known to use glass bottles, chairs and other non-instruments in their songs but, above all, they're just a down-to-earth bunch who stumbled into making a band together. We caught up with one of the band's founders, Charles Watson ahead of their Australian tour.
Rosie Dalton: Hey Charles, how are you going?
Charles Watson: I'm great, how are you?
I'm good, thank you. Can you hear me ok?
Yeah, loud and clear.
Ok cool. So you guys are on tour at the moment, is that right?
Yeah, kind of, we've been playing some shows in America and England. We've actually got two new people in the band now, a guy who plays bass and a drummer so now we've got two drum kits, bass and guitar.
And how's that going?
Yeah, it's been amazing. It's like this kind of different experience to what we're used to.
Are you looking forward to your Australian tour?
Yeah, I can't wait. I love Australia.
What's your favourite place to visit?
I actually liked Perth. I know Melbourne's supposed to be the really fun place but I thought Perth was beautiful and I really liked it there. The beaches are amazing, the waves are massive and I thought we had a really good gig there as well.
I hear that from a lot of musicians. I've never been to Perth but lots of foreigners who visit there – musicians in particular – seem to love it.
It's just so beautiful. But, you know, something that really struck me about Australia was the breakfasts. I thought that Australian breakfasts were much better than anywhere else. I tried to recreate it at home one time actually, but it didn't really work. So I'm looking forward to the breakfasts.
Yeah, that's something I really missed when I was overseas as well. So, can you tell me a bit about what the music scene is like back at home in Sheffield?
Well we live in London now and I haven't been to a gig back home for a while now but it seems like there's a great DIY scene going on there at the moment. It's like that in a lot of places in Northern England, actually; a lot of DIY labels and nights and a real community sense about music, which is really cool. Every time I go back to Sheffield, it seems to get more exciting and there's a lot of really cool art stuff going on there at the moment as well.
Speaking of DIY, you guys have been known to make music using chairs and other non-traditional instruments. What would you say is the most unusual non-instrument you've ever included in one of your songs?
Well we don't tend to do that so much anymore, but I guess the chair was one of the more unusual ones. We really started using those sort of objects in our music because we couldn't afford to buy a whole lot of other instruments [laughs].
If you were road-tripping to a festival, what's one song you'd love to have in the car for the trip?
Hmmm, I'd probably have 'I'll keep it with Mine', the Bob Dylan song but the Nico cover.
Do you have a best or a worst festival moment?
Well we were once playing a festival in the East of England and were headlining one of the stages there. I went to the toilet before we went on, when I heard the guy announcing us on stage – while I was having a wee – so it was a bit of a mess getting on stage [laughs]. But that was a one off.
Do you prefer playing gigs or festivals?
They just sound better I think. Festivals are really awesome, but sometimes they're a bit of a gamble. You can have an amazing one or you can have a really shit one. And there's not really much you can do about it, it kind of depends on a lot of things that are out of your control. But when it's right, they're great.
So, this is going to sound really weird, but at the moment I'm trying to learn the art of reading tarot cards. Do you mind if I experiment with you?
All you have to do is ask me a question that you want to know the answer to and I will draw a card and try and give you some insight into the answer.
So I have to ask you a question?
Yeah, whatever you want.
Um, does it have to be a yes or no question?
Ok, will our album go triple platinum in Australia this year?
Ok, let me shuffle the cards a bit. Your card is called 'The Sun', which stands for shining light and happiness. In the intellectual world, it means truth and in the physical world, it means happiness. So I suppose that could be interpreted as a big fat yes.
Or at least that you will realise a state of happiness with the album's Australian reception and learn truths about its musical elements which could help you in the future ... I'm babbling.
So how did you and Rebecca meet?
We've been friends for a long time, from when we were kind of school age. We went to different schools but we had a lot of mutual friends so we just started making music together one day.
Did you ever think you'd end up in a band together?
Not really, but we've been playing together for about six years now.
And who or what are some of your main inspirations?
I guess a lot of sixties and seventies pop has quite a lot of influence on us, like Beach Boys and Neil Young and stuff like that. But we both have separate influences as well. Rebecca's really into R&B and pop, and I like a lot of sixties bands, so it's a mixture of a lot of things.
Cool, well thanks Charles. I look forward to seeing you when you head out to Australia.
Yeah definitely, thank you. It was nice to speak to you.
Slow Club Australian tour dates:
Perth – Sunday 26 February, Perth International Arts Festival (Tickets)
Sydney – Thursday 1 March, Good God Small Club (Tickets)
Melbourne – Friday 2 March, The Workers Club (Tickets)
Adelaide – Saturday 3 March, Ed Castle (Tickets)