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Interview – The Slow readers Club’s Kurtis Starkie

Hiya Kurt, thanks for your time today, the last time I interviewed the band it was with Aaron and Jim driving around Manchester in my car on the build-up to your last studio album build a tower. It feels like 5 mins ago, how much do you enjoy the build up to a new release? 

The build-up is a weird time because we’ve finished recording and mixing the album and Aaron has done all the artwork etc and we’re just waiting for people to hear it. 

How has the transition from working jobs to now being a full-time musician been? 

It took some getting used to at first, it was amazing to be able to focus on music more though and have a good period of time in the practice room together working on new music and it obviously allowed us to do a proper tour.

 How do you feel like you are progressing through the music industry? 

We still feel like we’re very much looking up and need to make a lot of progress but I think that is healthy for making music. Keeps us on our toes.

 I love to see that your engagement with the readers fans has continued as you grow, you don’t see that much with a lot of bands they seem to distance themselves a tad leaving pr / managers to deal with socials, why do you do that? 

We built the community up by engaging and our fans are amazing at helping build us through word of mouth so it’d be weird to just leave all communication to someone external but our management team do help with this stuff too with announcements and answering queries etc. 

I went to see you play at The Apollo, looking back to that night how do you reflect on that experience? 

That was a special moment for us all. Personally I wish I’d been able to live in the moment and enjoy it a bit more than I did but I was pretty nervous about it going well. It’s certainly good to look back on though because it was a top gig.

The new album is here “the joy of the return” How easy/difficult was this one to write? 

It came together quite naturally, we actually had a decent number of tunes or ideas ready in advance for a change. We have had to rehearse, write and record bit by bit in the past around jobs. This time we got to a stage where we had maybe 13 or 14 almost complete tunes, I think we were always going to narrow it down to a final 10 or maximum 12. We wanted to focus enough time on each track in the studio so we went with 11 in the end. 

 So the album, its got plenty in there that the current fans will love and plenty of darker moments with more political commentary in there, talk me through 1. If you agree with my observation and 2. Where does that stem from? 

Yeah I’d agree with your observation, while I don’t write the lyrics, I know that we’ve all been influenced by the current state of things in the world. We’ve been going through some pretty dark times as a nation and that is bound to impact on the music and the subject matter in places. 

 The artwork is very striking, talk us through the process of designing the artwork? 

It’s all down to Aaron, his day job used to be as a designer and he’s always done our artwork which is very handy cos he’s great at it! 

 Tell us something about each band member that you think people would be surprised about?  Ha that’s a tricky one! I suppose our previous jobs, David was in insurance, I was a manager of a GP surgery and Jim was a teacher. Aaron was a designer so perhaps less surprising. 

 Sorry about hearing about the tour, its strange times in the industry for sure at the minute, one thing I always think of is how does a singer with that many gigs ahead of you how do you prepare for all the shows? 

Aaron seems to cope very well with that, I don’t sing that much so it’s less of an issue for me. I think it helps that Aaron has decided to cut out the booze. I think night after night plus hangovers wouldn’t really work on a long tour.

Tell me about a funny story from your time on the road? 

A memory that springs to mind is an early one, we had a gig at The Castle in Oldham around the time of the first album. We arrived and did our soundcheck and then had the usual gap of a few hours to kill before the gig so we went to the pub across the road…a few pints later we were up doing karaoke, needless to say by the time we did the gig me and Aaron were not on top form and it wasn’t the greatest performance of all time. Mid-set we had some technical issues and Aaron decided to fill the silence with an acapella rendition of an Elvis tune. I think it was The Wonder Of You but not surprisingly my memory is a bit foggy.

To all your fans in this difficult time, what message do you have for them? 

Obviously I’d like to thank our fans for supporting the band as they continue to do. It genuinely means the world to us, we wouldn’t still be doing this now if it wasn’t for you.I hope everyone manages to stay safe, physically and mentally throughout this. All we can do is support those who need it where possible. It’s certainly a time to come together as a community and not go crazy. It’s hard for people to keep a level head and remain altruistic but if people do the right thing we’ll come through the other side of this soon enough. Big love X

Thanks for your time Kurtis we really appreciate it.

Check out the RGM Review of the album 👇