An interview with ... The Slow Readers Club

The Slow Readers Club are an electro-indie band from Manchester fronted by Aaron Starkie (vocals/keyboard) with Kurtis Starkie (vocals/guitar), James Ryan (bass) and David Whitworth (drums). 

The last couple of years have seen the band perform sell-out shows up and down the country aswell as filling tents and arenas at some of the UKs best music festivals. So far this year they have played the main stage at the Isle of Wight Festival which was a brilliant set as well as huge outdoor arenas with bands like The Charlatans and James which, in turn, has won them many more new fans along the way.

Amongst their busy schedule, Kurt answered a few questions ahead of their set at Victorious Festival, Southsea this August.


Where did the name Slow Readers Club come from?

Aaron came up with it. He said it came from a memory of when he was transitioning from junior school to senior school (Newall Green High School, Wythenshawe), He was taken on a tour of the school with our parents. We were shown the English Room, Science Labs, History Room and all that. Then we came to a room called Special Needs. He 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.

You have been playing as Slow Readers Club for a number of years now, when did you love for music first start?

We have all been in bands before we formed The Slow Readers Club and at some stage in our early teens we each picked an instrument of choice and developed naturally from there. I think the passion for doing so comes from being inspired by the music you love.

At what point did you know that you wanted to make this a career?

When you start out in a band at an early age you always dream big and sometimes it just takes time to get where you need to be. It’s been far from instant success for us but a gradual build up but thankfully we’ve stuck at it and produced some music we’re proud of.

Who are your main music influences?

That’s tricky to answer on behalf of everyone because there’s not a great deal of crossover when it comes to favorite artists. It’s not all necessarily what people might imagine from listening to our sound, it’s not all serious stuff. Collectively we’d probably agree that some of the pop in the 80’s has had an influence on us, perhaps more consciously for some than others. You can’t knock a bit of Jacko or Madonna. There is a good span of music genres to draw from in terms of individual tastes anyway which is a positive thing.

So when it comes to song writing, who takes the lead or do you all chip in?

A lot of the songs are written with us all in a room together, that’s the preferred method but some can come from one persons original idea and then that’s developed in the practice room and often refined in the studio. In terms of vocal melody and lyrics, that’s Aaron’s department.

Is there something particular that gives you inspiration for great lyrics?

Well this is Aaron’s department but I’ll answer from my perspective and hopefully it won’t be too far from how he see’s it. Excuse the cliche but the lyrics are usually drawn from personal experience, not necessarily direct experience but lyrics should come from a personal perspective if they’re going to have any validity.

When you have a song or recording who do you play your songs to first to gauge a reaction?

We all go home with phone recordings of new ideas from the practice room so usually our other halves will get to hear bits before we get to the studio stage but we do most of the filtering ourselves. If we don’t all think it’s decent it doesn’t tend to get worked on.

You have had an incredible couple of years and played with some amazing artists. How did it feel when you recently supported James?

It’s been great, the first gig with them was very nervy, it was the biggest stage we’d played to date and we were worried about playing to a cold crowd but the James fans have really warmed to us and we have gained a lot of new fans and a lot of experience which we are very grateful for.

I saw you play the main stage at Isle of Wight Festival this summer on the Saturday and you are playing at Victorious Festival in August, do you prefer to play to a festival crowd or a typical gig crowd?

It’s a difficult one, It’s obviously a great feeling to play a main stage at a festival, especially when you get a good reaction but ideally we’d like to sample the evening slots because our music isn’t really designed for a sunny day. The other positive element to playing our own gigs is the crowd reaction which is a huge part of the experience.

You must be pretty excited about your headline tour later this year, what can we expect of it?

We are keen to get out and show people some new songs we’ve been working on. A lot of people have got onto us in recent times and will want to see us based on existing releases which will form the majority of our set but we want to add some new stuff in for the people who’ve already seen us a number of times in the last year. Hopefully people won’t be disappointed.

Based on their back catalogue to date, I doubt very much anyone will be disappointed!

Tickets for their headline UK tour “Through the shadows” are already going like hotcakes with some shows already sold out. Be sure to catch them live across the UK this summer including at Victorious Festival, Southsea in Portsmouth this August Bank Holiday weekendm or on their headline tour.