Hard, sweaty works pays off for Mercury Prize band Slaves


By Graham Chalmers

Chaotic and raucous live shows, a hit album and now a Mercury Prize nomination, Slaves have literally burst onto the scene in just over a year of hard work and sweaty gigs.

But do the slashing guitar riffs and shouty vocals of Laurie Vincent and stand-up drums and energetic, full-on crowd engagement of Isaac Holman really amount to ‘punk’.

And, signed to top label Virgin EMI, to quote Slaves’ own album title, are they satisfied?

Talking to me on the phone, Laurie Vincent says there’s a lot more to this live-wire duo than meets the eye - or ear.

“Growing up our reference points were bands like The Jam and The Sex Pistols and Grunge. People did seem to have more things to say then but they had less to fear in those days from social media.

“I think we’re primal rather than punky. We’re simple and straight-up but we’re also into rap and rave and hip hop.”

Unfashionably for these times, Laurie and Isaac Holman, his co-partner in Slaves, seem to stand for a lot. Reportedly they are big supporters of The Green Party.

Explosively loud but quietly witty, this Kent twosome even take clothes seriously.

Laurie said: “We’ve always been into the different styles of English sub-cultures. I think it’s important that bands are visually attractive but in a way that’s in keeping with their music.”