The last couple of years have seen Manchester band The Slow Readers Club perform sell-out shows up and down the country.
So far this year they have played the main stage at the Isle of Wight Festival as well as huge outdoor arenas with bands like The Charlatans.
“…The Slow Readers Club is a celebration of the underdog…”
And last week’s gig supporting headliners James at The Castlefield Bowl – part of this year’s Sounds Of The City Festival – won them many more new fans. Their performance received one of the loudest receptions ever heard at The Bowl for a support act.
The band formed back in 2011, but the current line-up of frontman Aaron Starkie, Kurtis Starkie on guitar, Jim Ryan on bass and David Whitworth on drums, wasn’t finalised until 2013 when the single Forever In Your Debt set out their sound of catchy guitar-led electro pop.
A string of singles followed – Start Again, Don’t Mind and fan favourite I Saw A Ghost.
Whilst they were still working things out, they performed wherever they could – including a field on the outskirts of Burnley.
But where better for a band called The Slow Readers Club to make their mark than a library? They were one of the first to perform at Central Library when it reopened.
And it was another acoustic session at the library which led to them being tweeted by Jim Glennie of James who later invited to support them on their Girl At The End Of The World tour.
Since then, the band have played a spring tour at the start of this year with sold out shows in London (Borderline) Nottingham (Bodega) Sheffield (Plug) and Leeds (Belgrave).
In October they begin their Through The Shadows tour with the promise of new material. Venues include the legendary Manchester Albert Hall, Nottingham Rescue Rooms and King Tuts in Glasgow.
You recently supported James at The Castlefield Bowl. How did it feel to be part of this experience?
It was pretty mind blowing! In 2016 we were fortunate enough to be invited on tour with James over 15 dates and played some amazing venues including Brixton Academy, Manchester Arena and Echo Arena. But to be honest Castlefield beat them all. I guess because a lot of the James fans there had got to know us over the course of last year. The reaction after the first song in our set properly blew us away, so many people singing along, it’s a night we will never forget.
How has Manchester influenced you and your music?
Manchester has obviously produced a long line of brilliant artists to the extent that it’s something that new artists have to fight through, as people already have a lot of preconceptions.
That said, I do think modern day Manchester is a fantastically vibrant place with lots of creative communities, and lots of opportunities for creative people. The transformation of the Northern Quarter in particular over the last 10 years has been incredible. And we also have Media City which means we don’t have to go to London to get on national radio.
Alongside that you still have the bleaker, greyer forgotten parts of Manchester that sit in contrast to that vibrancy. Our music often flips from despair to hope so perhaps it mirrors that in some way. You can be in a shithole but there is always the glimmer of opportunity on the horizon that drives you on.
What about the name The Slow Readers Club?
When I was transitioning from junior school to senior school (Newall Green High School, Wythenshawe), I was taken on a tour of the school with my parents. We were shown the English Room, Science Labs, History Room and all that. Then we came to a room called Special Needs. I found it a frightening concept that you could be removed from the mainstream of education like that from a young age. The Slow Readers Club is meant as a rejection of that really, as a celebration of the underdog.
What advice would you would give to aspiring creatives and musicians?
Get out and tour as soon as you can and have a proper plan for your releases. If a song gets picked up by radio you want to have your next two singles and album in place along with a tour. That’s something we haven’t been so good at in the past.
What can we expect from things you are working on?
We hope to release a record that’s better than our last. We write guitar electro-pop songs with great melodies and lyrics that connect with people. There are a few new sounds and we are experimenting a little in terms of structure but fundamentally we aim to write memorable, timeless pop.”