'We believe there’s always something around the corner to excite us'
Malvika Padin
17:33 27th March 2020

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Manchester four-piece The Slow Readers Club remind people to look after one another and be hopeful that the dark times will pass. Their new album The Joy Of The Return - which artfully puts forth uplifting message with serious undertones - is the perfect representation of the quartet’s hope for the world. 

Speaking to vocalist Aaron Starkie on the afternoon after the album dropped (March 21), we hear about its background and the work that went into it. "This was our first album as a full-time band. We were able to write with a clear head and had time on our hands to finesse the sound" he begins.

“The recording process was different because we had a budget and time to experiment and draft a journey with each track. Our first album was synth and strings, but now we’re leaning towards a pop sound that can sway between heavy and light.“ 

Delving a bit deeper into that pop sound and Starkie clarifies that it’s never an intentional choice. Rather, the band are happy to let the music - and any collaborators - guide them. Giving an example, he says “Tracks like ‘Problem Child’ and ‘Killing Me’, started very raw but we found it got more polished with impact and influence of the producers we collaborated with.”

Moving on from their new sound to The Joy Of The Return's central message, Starkie says: “a lot of it was written during the Brexit campaign, centred on the rise of right-wing populism. One track in particular ‘No Surprise’ was based on the Netflix documentary The Great Hack. This track is my personal favourite, because there’s some poetry to its lyrics, but it isn’t preachy.”

The quartet are never too keen to preach with their messages. In fact, Starkie confirms that their main goal is “to write whatever we want, because that’s the most important thing - and also see if we can make music that resonates with people as quickly as possible.” 

The Slow Readers Club have managed to strike this delicate balance on The Joy Of The Return. Reflecting on instrospective influences versus outside forces, Starkie comments that “the title of the album is drawn from different perspectives of my own life, particular my teenage years. But from a political side I’m just writing from the view of social media, looking outward into the world’s stories rather than at my story..."

On the topic of stories, we ask after the moment the band is most proud of - "playing the sold-out Apollo at Manchester, with the crowds singing back to us at the end of our set" Starkie answers.

As a foursome who enjoy being on the road, the down-time courtesy of self-isolation stemming from the global coronavirus pandemic is unexpected, though they are making sure to make good use of it. What’s next for the band in such bizarre times? The frontman doesn’t hesitate in expressing his desire to tour this album as soon as he can, but until then “our plan is to keep people engaged with livestreams, and to start writing more in this free time.” 

To wrap up, Starkie signs off with a piece of advice that most people in the creative industry – and maybe even outside of it - could do with right now. Talking about motivation to work during free time, he says “we don’t have the same structure we did at our 9-5 jobs. As a full-time band now we definitely need to think of ways to make money and stay on top of things, but we believe there’s always something around the corner to excite us - and that’s more than enough motivation."

The Joy Of The Return is out now.

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Photo: Press