SLOES make gorgeous, inventive pop.
2015’s debut EP – Chasing Tails – marked the band as one of London’s most significant ones-to-watch through uplifting indie driven by luscious strings, charming vocals and an undoubted desire from listeners for more.
Fast forward two years and their two biggest shows to date have been locked down with the five-piece set to join The Killers at their sold out British Summer Time Hyde Park show whilst acting as main support for HISKIND fav’s Goldfrapp at Somerset House.
Ahead of All In The Mind‘s release next Friday (7 July), frontman Jerome Clarke gives us an in-depth rundown into the lyrical background and key elements that form each of the EP’s five tracks.
Track 1: All In The Mind
We’d had this track for a while, albeit a different version, that was never quite how we wanted it to be. The concept came about after a late night conversation over a few drinks about idyllic times for our past and reminiscing about our teenage years. The period I thought was ‘ideal’ was actually one that my friend disagreed with me on which they argued as viewing that time with rose-tinted glasses, the memory being better than the reality. So the song is really about whether you’d trade what you have right now for the younger years of being footloose and carefree with no major worries. That concept really appealed to me, the questioning of trading places with your younger self.
When it comes to songwriting, I really try to avoid covering the typical topics like women or love. There’s definitely a place for those kinds of songs but, for me, there’s so much more I can write about so why should I write about the same things as anybody else?
Track 2: Where To Start
This one’s a bit of a sad track, really. It’s about coming to terms with losing someone in your life and how you approach getting over something like that given it’s not the sort of thing you can shield yourself from in any way. I suppose the person in the song is talking to their partner and discussing how to look into fixing yourself but what part do I start with? The chorus does sound like a love song, though I see it more as an acknowledgement of how the people that come into your life that can really help you deal with a tragedy that you maybe can’t do on your own. Sometimes we all need a little help to steer us through life.
There’s certainly an uplifting element that focuses on the people helping each other come to terms with problems and personal issues. I do like the generic pop sentiment and sound that this track has, almost like there are two different meanings going on. My mother passed away when I was in my 20s so it’s really about her and to anyone who knew her, it’s obvious that I’m addressing that. To anyone else, it would mean something totally different. It’s a track that can masquerade itself as something else dependent on who is listening.
Before Sloes, I used to write my own personal material which I found incredibly cathartic to get those feelings out of my system. It’d be a real shame if you were in a band or playing music and weren’t able to address personal issues like that.
Track 3: Say Goodbye
Say Goodbye is actually about gentrification. It’s about living in East London and watching people who have lived there their whole lives not being able to afford it anymore. The homogenisation of everything, from coffee shops and hairdressers everywhere to everyone dressing and looking the same. The lyrics cover how long it’s going to be before we reach the point where it’s too much, hence the title Say Goodbye and acknowledging that what we have right now won’t be there in a few years.
I actually grew up in Shropshire but have been in London nearly ten years now so there’s definitely a sense of pride for where I’m from with this one, even if the city is not my hometown. I very much adore London but you can watch it change and it reaches a point where you wonder if it’s for good or for worse. Just look at Shoreditch, where local communities are getting decimated by gentrification. That’s what this song focuses on.
Track 4: Once In A While
This is quite a funny one, really. When we did our last EP, we did some crowdfunding in order to make a video and one of the rewards that could be won in exchange for helping us was a personalised song. They’d give us a topic of their choice, we’d make and produce the track and then send it to them as a thank you. One of our friends paid a good chunk of money towards the funding which ended up with me having a lengthy phone call with her where she poured her heart out to me about the relationship between her and her sister. How she’d gone through a mini crisis and was asking her sister to help her relax and be more happy-go-lucky. So the song is from the older sisters perspective, telling her younger sibling about how life can be challenging and now she needs her help letting go of that and living a little. That’s where the title comes from.
That crowdfunding has really been quite key for us. There’s definitely a certain step-up when you’re in a band to become ‘relevant’ and when you’re responsible for managing yourself, crowdfunding can really help in making sure that your hopes can become a reality. Our management has been really key in helping us finding funds to do what we want but I do see the importance of it. When we were doing it, we were getting approached by companies asking us to pay them in order to have our crowdfunding page promoted by them, which totally blew my mind. The fact someone has the job to try and ask for money from people trying to raise money does make me a little cynical about it.
Track 5: Young
This is one we’ve had out for a while now. Young is about a teenage girl who decides to go out clubbing despite her parents instructing her not to do so. It’s just about being that age and having your own sense of identity, deciding you’re going to go out and do whatever you want regardless of what anyone says. The ultimate form of teenage rebellion, whilst bringing home that idea that if your parents tell you not to do something, you’re probably going to want to do it even more. It’s about that balance of childhood expression, whilst the bridge focuses on the closing of clubs in London and the history of venues being shut down. It’s definitely something that I get sad about so I thought it was worth the mention. Young people need that kind of expression, it’s such a positive thing. Clubs are shutting from people complaining about too much noise yet they don’t consider the impact on society because of it. I think we captured that pretty well with this one.
Latest EP All In The Mind is out 7 July. The title track is out now.