"We’ve got such different outlooks, but we always come together" – Slow Club
Sheffield duo Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor formed Slow Club back in 2006 and initially presented themselves as a shuffling, folky duo, in the vein of classic types like Simon & Garfunkel, Joan Baez and early Bob Dylan. But gradually, they’ve stepped further and further into the limelight and, on new record Complete Surrender, are fully on show. Their new record is a 1960s influenced, big pop record, full of elegance and catchy choruses.
We sat down with the pair to find out all about the record’s making…
Although your album’s out today, we’re guessing you’ve actually had it finished for quite a while…
Charles: “It was done by October, it was mostly recorded in April.”
What was recording like?
Rebecca: “It was a total pleasure. Everything came together really well. We recorded in Sheffield and we finished at 6 O’Clock every day, it was ace. We also loved working with Colin (Elliot), who guided us really well and helped decide very quickly what we wanted from the record.”
What did Colin bring to the process?
Charles: “The main thing we wanted was a clean, simple sound, but one that wasn’t too lo-fi.”
Rebecca: “He makes everything sound beautiful and expensive and that’s exactly what we wanted. There’s no fucking about, he gets things done quickly.”
It’s a much bigger and lusher record, was that what you wanted from the start?
Rebecca: “I wanted every instrument to sound beautiful and as pristine as they could.”
Charles: “It’s definitely bigger, but the songs really leant themselves to a grander scale and more production. There’s more going on, which is absolutely what we wanted.”
What were you listening to during the making of the album?
Rebecca: “The vocals had a lot of old pop and old soul in there, which I was listening to a lot. We listen to wildly different things, but Colin brought what we both like together really nicely.”
Charles: “I weirdly got right into Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline, something about the vocals on there.”
Rebecca: “Richard Hawley was a big one for us both and Colin’s worked a lot with him, so that was a massive plus for us.”
You wrote most of the album somewhere quite remote, is that something you always need to do?
Rebecca: “That’s debatable I think. We do need to go somewhere else.”
Charles: “It was a great place to go, I don’t know if we’d go there again.”
Do you need to focus to make songs work? To be completely away from everything?
Rebecca: “It’s more that I live an hour away from Charles and we write so differently. I can’t sit and write. Charles can.”
Charles: “I get into a rhythm of getting up and writing songs, which I did for this. But it was good to be able to get out of London and lay out what we had. We went to this house in Stroud, which was a really sweet place to record too. We get a lot done in those kind of settings I think.”
What kind of album is this lyrically?
Rebecca: “There’s lots going on, there’s some quite personal songs on there, especially from me. We were in quite different places writing the record, I had a lot of difficult things in my life that are in there in some form or other. Charles’s songs are a bit happier."
Is it hard to play each other such personal songs?
Rebecca: “It can be, it should be, but it’s not.”
Charles: “We’ve got such a strong relationship that we’re past that point, there’s no barriers between us, we’ve got such different outlooks, but we always come together.”
Rebecca: “I always really want Charles to like what I write. That’s the main motivation for me. He keeps me from going too far down avenues.”
Charles: “We both write. Which is unusual I think, normally in a band it’s just one person, but we both do. I don’t think you can afford to have any boundaries about what you’ll show each other when you work like we do.”
Rebecca: “Charles is brilliant at metaphors, I’m much more blunt, it’s a good balance.”
So after the record comes out, what’s the plan?
Charles: “We’ve got festivals and some more dates in Europe and the UK. Then a US tour. Lots on already.”
Are you looking forward to more touring?
Rebecca: “I’ll go wherever they send us to be honest. We’ve got nothing else to do have we mate? Just tour.”
Slow Club are taking over hmv.com throughout today (Monday July 14th), click here for a track by track guide to their new album Complete Surrender, a personal Top 10, a Twitter Q&A and a full retrospective from the pair.
Complete Surrender is available in hmv stores across the UK now.