Slow Readers Club to make their Portsmouth headline debut at The Wedgewood Rooms
They’ve played Victorious Festival twice, sold out a 3,500 capacity venue in their home city of Manchester, and their third album, Build a Tower, went into the top 20.
But amazingly, this spring has seen Slow Readers Club taking to the road for their first ever headline UK tour.
The indie-rockers have been playing the long game to success, as frontman Aaron Starkie tells The Guide: ‘Up until this point we’ve done everything alongside our day jobs. We waited until we sold out The Apollo with 3,500 people in our hometown before we thought: “Maybe this is working”,’ he laughs.
‘We had to get in a position where we thought it was viable, so now we’re giving it a proper go – we’re doing 47 dates across the UK and Europe. It’s pretty intense. We want to try and get out to places we’ve never played before and spread the word.’
The band are keen to push themselves in 2019 – they’ve already played the Eurosonic Festival in the Netherlands in January and been laying down new material in the studio, with six new tracks already demoed.
But as Aaron says, it was financial caution that had held the band back.
‘We got a publishing deal and a record deal last year, that helped a bit, and the album sold well. We released a live album at the end of last year and that too did well.
‘It’s about building up a bit of a war chest really to be able to go at it because we’re all at an age where we’ve got mortgages and families and all that boring stuff – so you can’t risk it all on a rider and stuff like that, but it’s good, it’s going in the right direction.’
Their first two albums were self-released, but Build a Tower came out on Modern Sky records.
‘With the first two albums, we didn’t have proper distribution and we didn’t register for the charts. I think the second album in particular has sold pretty well in its lifetime. We were fortunate enough to get a support slot with James in 2016, and that really gave us an audience around the UK, so that album although it had been a little bit before then - it got quite a few people into it, and then on top of that playing festivals like Victorious, Kendal Calling and Isle of Wight, they’ve all played a part in exposing people to our music.
‘We’ve been played on the radio a bit, but it’s not like we’re on it every day, so it’s been more about the live side and people going out and telling their mates.
‘Having the proper distribution and the marketing side this time though, doing it DIY, we wouldn’t pay for a big billboard or posters in the record shop, it’s too much of a risk. When that album got to number 18, it was brilliant.’
The four-piece have built a sizeable audience in the north-east, and selling out The Apollo in December was a highlight.
‘We’ve played at Brixton Academy and places like that, so the numbers themselves weren’t overwhelming, but knowing that it was actually our music that put them is quite a humbling thing. The Apollo is one of those venues that everyone in Manchester dreams of playing, so it was an amazing moment, not one we’ll forget.’
Manchester obviously has an impressive musical lineage. Has this helped the band at all?
‘In some ways. It’s helped with the national press. They’ll draw comparisons with New Order or Joy Division, or whatever, though – they’ll instantly look for someone you sound like, and you’re also very much in the shadow of Oasis. But it’s getting there now and there are bands making waves for themselves and it’s moving on. I think it’s important for the city’s music scene to evolve and for other bands to come through and share some of that limelight.’
The guys from SRC are veterans of the scene – they formed from the ashes of cult act Omerta – but it seems their time is now.
‘We’ve been grafting a long time!’ adds Aaron.
The band is rounded out by Kurtis Starkie on guitars, James Ryan on bass, and David Whitworth on drums. And yes, like Oasis – that’s Aaron’s brother.
‘We have the occasional heart-to-heart,’ jokes Aaron, ‘but it’s good.
‘We were always harmonising to Beatles songs and The Smiths and Bowie and Nirvana growing up. He wasn’t in Omerta, but he came in on guitar when we started Slow Reads Club. He’s a great guitarist, sings great harmonies and lead on one song – there might be more in future.
‘It’s positive, it’s all harmonious so far.
‘That might change when we’ve done 32 dates in the UK and 15 in Europe though...’
SLOW READERS CLUB
The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea
Saturday, March 30