1883 Magazine

Ready to drop new EP ‘All In The Mind’ London quintet SLOES intricate and effervescent blend of classical indie and orchestral pop is the stuff of harmonic heaven.

Ahead of the release of the five track EP, and performances supporting The Killers and Goldfrapp at Hyde Park and Somerset House respectively, we caught up with Jerome (vocals), Jo (guitar) Paul (bass), Katie (violin) and Luke (drums) at Camden watering hole the Lock Tavern on one of the hottest days of the year to discuss the refreshing nature of their music.

What can you tell us about your new EP?

Paul: We locked ourselves in a studio for a week down in Bath to get a lot of these tunes and they’re an amalgamation of us all writing, coming up with ideas and working through various topics.

Jerome: A couple of the songs are older than the others and we’re pleased with the direction that the material has gone in. It’s quite a large EP – it’s 5 songs – so it’s quite a body of work and it’s a good representation of our music. We worked with two different producers, initially we worked with Jim Lowe who usually produces with Stereophonics. We did a couple of the tracks with him, those are the older two, and then we worked with Hugh Worskett on three songs and decided to get him to rework the other two, so we ended up with five. It’s quite a nice, diverse mix of our sound and I think we worked quite a lot with Hugh on developing the backing tracks and the songs so that the sound is quite full, perhaps with some of our earlier stuff that was a detail we hadn’t spent as much time on.

There’s a lot of intricacies in the songs on the EP, how long does each song usually take to create?

Luke: Five people in a band all have their own opinions so it’s just finding a balance of what works for everyone, and the producer is another entity who trumps everyone because they’re the overall vision of how the song is going to turn out. It takes a bit of getting used to working with that entity, which is always something we’ve wanted to do, but some songs come just like that and you’re there, you know you’ve got a winner and others are a bit more of a slog.

Jerome: I think it takes a while to get all of the different instruments to blend in, so it’s not a case of playing it once or twice and then saying that’s done. You can work on them for months and you can send yourself mad just going over and over something. It’s a real skill knowing when to finish and so it’s helpful when you have someone else there as well because they can say, ‘That sounds done to me.’ We all write together and we’re all responsible for our own parts which means that people often change their parts and if you’re not paying attention all of a sudden you’re like, ‘Is that a different drum beat? Or is that a different guitar part?’ You start to forget where you went from, it’s easy to get lost in the process.

Do you each have a favourite song from the EP?

Paul: I think for me it’s ‘Where To Start’. It changes so much though.

Jo: I’ll second that.

Jerome: Yeah I would as well, I’ll third that.

Luke: For me ‘Say Goodbye’ was one of my favourites and then I switched to ‘Where To Start’ and then ‘All In The Mind’ was a track we wrote that was a little bit older but we brought it into the new platform that it is now and it’s totally different.

Jerome: Hugh [Worskett] took ‘All In The Mind’ in a different direction and we were all really keen on that.

Katie: ‘Once In A While’ is my favourite.

What’s your favourite way someone else has described your music?

Jerome: Someone described it as orchestral pop and we quite liked that. We always called it indie because it falls under that bracket, it’s quite a hard thing to describe your own music.

Jo: Someone once described as a better version of Radiohead, that was the best compliment anyone could ever give.

Katie: That’s not true, he made that up. Jo said that to himself [laughs].

Jerome: It’s nice when you’re compared to bands that you like, not too great when people compare you to bands that you’re not particularly keen on. I don’t know if any band sounds just like any other band unless they really try to, like a pastiche or something.

Katie: And we want to be unique, we don’t really want to sound like something else.

Luke: It’s so easy to go into a rehearsal or a writing session and smash out ten tracks but they all sound the same and have that commercial selling point but it’s not what we’re like as a band.

Are there any critics who have got it completely wrong?

Jerome: People have been pretty nice about our music generally. Have we had any bad reviews or anything that we don’t agree with?

Katie: My mum says I sound like an owl, which I definitely didn’t agree with [laughs] but that’s about it.

Paul: People have said Coldplay but I don’t see it.

Jerome: Yeah Coldplay, I don’t really like that so much. I don’t think we sound like Coldplay but people seem to think that.

Jo: I think the comparison lies more in that fact that it’s accessible, we haven’t tried to shut anyone out with our music. It’s not for a fan of a particular genre, I wouldn’t think anyway.

What do you imagine the perfect environment to listen to your music to be?

Luke: Where we filmed ‘All In The Mind’ was a pretty beautiful setting. It was in a forest in Oxshott, that’s pretty nice for a stroll with your good quality headphones in.

Jerome: I think first thing in the morning as well. A morning stroll listening to music, maybe with enough time so you can actually hear it, so it’s not played on the radio or while you’re chatting with your mates.

Katie: I think a journey to work because for however long it takes you to get there you can just zone out and your headspace is just completely concentrated on the music.

Jerome: Some of the gigs when we’ve played on big stages and main stages, I’ve always felt like our music comes across really well in that environment because it is quite intricate and there is a lot going on, it really comes through on a big stage.

Jo: It’s really loud and rich.

Jerome: That’s why we worked with our samples and on the backing tracks. We’ve really been working on those aspects recently so that when we do play the gigs that we have coming up there will be a real richness to the sound, so I think that environment would be really good as well.

You’ve got some big stages coming up haven’t you?

Jerome: We have a couple of big things coming up yeah.

Are you looking forward to that, are you excited?

Jerome: Of course, absolutely.

Katie: Watch out Killers, Sloes are here.

Jo: Upstage a band that are on nine hours later [laughs]

Jerome: It’s exciting, I can’t wait.

You’re supporting Goldfrapp at Somerset House and The Killers at Hyde Park, if you had to pick between the two to go and see, who would you pick?

Jerome: Goldfrapp.

Katie: The Killers.

Paul: I’d have to say The Killers because the ‘Hot Fuss’ album for me has so many good memories.

I was going to talk to you a little bit about busking and testing out new material that way, how did you find that?

Jerome: When we originally did it, it was great because when people walk past you they have no commitment to watch you. They haven’t come to see you so they can stop if they want to, so it’s quite nice like that. When they do stop they’re really attentive, and we got loads of positive feedback from that and loads of promotion.

Jo: The second time we went down there was actually a couple of people there waiting for us to start because we’d said we were going to be there on Twitter, that was quite sweet.

Jerome: We haven’t done it again recently that much because we’ve been busier, it’s been harder to find the time.

Paul: It’s definitely more lucrative in terms of getting new followers as opposed to having a gig where everyone knows who you are.

Is it something you would recommend to other artists?

Paul: Definitely but you have to pick the time you go wisely.

Katie: And the place...but it’s just a fun day out that we can all have together.

Jerome: It’s really fun as well because you can fuck up and nobody notices, there’s no pressure.

What is your gameplan for the next year?

Jo: Headline the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in one year [laughs]. Jools Holland would be nice.

Jerome: Yeah, it would be nice to get a record deal. We’re leading up to that and publishing would be great. You need one thing to get the other and it’s just a case of trying to attract the right people at the moment, but it’s all going in the right direction.

What’s a question you’ve always wanted to be asked?

Katie: Who’s your least favourite in the band? [laughs]

Jo: It would be quite nice to be asked a question that’s not necessarily about what we do as a band but what we do as people, so whoever’s reading and whoever cares gets to know a bit more about us as people rather than our own selfish ideas, because I think that’s important as a band. I love to know about what my favourite artists are doing in their spare time and what they’re reading about.

Katie: And they are ordinary people at the end of the day and they like doing ordinary things.

Jo: And they tend to be really interesting. So it’s nice to know about other things other than the band...so ask me what my favourite thing to do is on a Saturday morning

What’s your favourite thing to do on a Saturday morning?

Jo: What a good question [laughs]...recover from Friday night.

Katie: Mine is have a big cuddle with my cat.

Paul: Saturday morning is brunch time for me, definitely go out somewhere and have some food.

Luke: I’m really boring, every Saturday I work, if it was my day off though definitely brunch and then hit the beers.

Jerome: On a Saturday morning I would like to go for a walk, go through the park and then drop off at the bakery and do a few little errands, I find that really sets me in the right place.


Sloes EP ‘All In The Mind’ is out now via iTunes and you can catch them at the following dates below:

July 8th 2017 - British Summertime - Hyde Park (The Killers)
July 9th 2017 - Somerset House Summer Series (supporting Goldfrapp)
July 10th 2017 - 76 Dean Street, Soho House (acoustic performance)

For the bands latest news head to www.sloesmusic.com

Interview by Shannon Cotton

Photography Philip Trengove

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