By Trevor Bolliger | September 3rd, 2011
I recently drove a 1,464 mile round-trip to Salt Lake City. My beagle copilot still hasn’t mastered the art of conversation, so I loaded my iPod with a bunch of new music. I found myself listening to one band repeatedly and by the end of the trip I had most of their lyrics memorized.
The band – Slow Club – is a charming folk duo from Sheffield, England. We featured their single “Two Cousins,” earlier this summer, and they’re releasing their second album, Paradise, on September 12.
Indie Shuffle had the opportunity to chat with Charles and talk about where they came from, their new album, and where they’re going.
How did you and Rebecca meet and start Slow Club?
We met through a music program in Sheffield that the schools were involved with. We were both in bands and we ended up just playing each other’s stuff when we were younger. We ended up starting writing together — it was quite a slow process. We started playing loads of gigs in Sheffield in 2006 and then started traveling.
So where did the name Slow Club come from?
It’s a reference to a club in Blue Velvet — the David Lynch film. There’s a place called “Slow Club” in that. I haven’t seen it. [laughs] Becky thought of it. I’ve gotten to the point where I haven’t seen it so I might as well just not watch it now.
Let’s talk about your second album, Paradise. It’s coming out on September 12. Were you afraid of hitting a sophomore slump?
There’s always going to be a certain amount of pressure from yourself, really. Because, once you’ve already made one album, I think that you want to make the next one better. We didn’t really feel like we needed to make something to impress people. We both had a lot more desires to do different things rather than just through an acoustic guitar, so I think it was just to try and not disappoint ourselves, mostly. So we just worked really hard at not doing that.
Paradise takes the good parts of Yeah, So but takes it a step further.
Yea, we didn’t want people to buy the second album and think “God, they’ve done something that’s totally irrelevant and doesn’t make any sense from their last record.” We just wanted to move it slowly somewhere else and the next album will hopefully be a similar progression in a different direction.
The video of “Two Cousins” is kind of mesmerizing.
Yea, Lucy Needs directed it. It was all her idea, really. We just went out to the shoot to watch it for a little bit. They were really incredible dancers. Most of it is slowed down, so when you see them doing it at full speed, it’s really quite amazing seeing full grown men throwing each other into the air.
I have to ask about my favorite song – “When I Go.” It’s such a sweet, but at the same time, sad song. Is there a story behind it?
That’s song’s chorus is about a friend of mine, who lost his brother about 2-3 years ago. I had a conversation with him while he was at the hospital and that was what his family were feeling at the time. It was a sad time. Yeah, but the verses are slightly different as well. I think that’s the case with a lot of our songs, we don’t have one thing that runs through the song, and often they’re about different people in the same song.
Well it always puts a smile on my face. It is sad, but in a hopeful kind of way.
Funny, it always makes me sad. That’s what’s music’s about — having your own take on it.
Well, which songs always make you smile?
There’s a Bob Dylan song called “All I Really Want to Do” — always makes me happy when he goes quite high.
Bob Dylan’s great. Who else inspires you?
Neil Young had a big influence on us. Bright Eyes. I guess is one of the main reasons we started the band, really. We spent a lot of time listening to Bright Eyes in the early days, and Daniel Johnston. We’ve really taken lots of influences from songs rather than artists on this record, and they have been a lot more varied than the last one. A lot of dance stuff. We played with a band called Casio Kids and we understood the importance of a nice groove.
So, who else should we be listening to?
We met a band in New York called Air Waves that I really like. Stephen from Sweet Baboo is our bassist. I listen to a lot of Arthur Russell. A band from Oakland called Shannon and the Clams.
Your new album comes out in 2 weeks, and you have a tour in the UK, right?
A full UK tour. We’ve got a drummer and a bass player so we’re a four piece now. We’re getting used to playing with two more people. And it’s going to be nice to be getting back out on the road. Shephard’s Bush Empire in London – we’re playing on the 26th of September. It’s a really beautiful theatre, and hopefully we’ll have some string players and a trumpet or a trombone.
And when are you coming to the States?
November. We’re playing New York and Spaceland and the Troubadour in L.A. , and we might come up to San Francisco.