Welcome Slate! Congratulations on your first two singles ‘Tabernacl‘ and ‘St Agatha‘.
Could you introduce yourselves and share how Slate came together as a band.
We are Jack, Lauren, Raychi and Penri. Jack and Raychi met through the Cardiff music scene a few years before Slate came together. Lauren and Penri joined the band at the end of 2021. Jack and Penri were acquaintances for a short while before bonding over trips to the pub. Lauren was studying in Bristol at the time but she joined Slate through mutual friends we shared in Cardiff.
Post-punk has moved on from the spoken/shouty vocal. There is such range and quality in Jacks vocal. However the tracks we have heard so far project story-telling but through the instrumentation as much as the lyrics. Part of that is created through the moody, gothic-inspired, twangy guitar. Would you agree?
Everything we approach we aim to incorporate a narrative into. We approach song writing by confining each musical decision we make to be informed by our narrative. Everything we write, we write very collaboratively and we respond intuitively to each other rather than trying to push against what comes naturally. Every idea is a reaction to the last one, as if it were some kind of reflection chamber.
You have referenced your love of poetry, particularly of Welsh poetry. Is there a poem that currently resonates with you that you can share?
When I Woke by Dylan Thomas
When I woke, the town spoke.
Birds and clocks and cross bells
Dinned aside the coiling crowd,
The reptile profligates in a flame,
Spoilers and pokers of sleep,
The next-door sea dispelled
Frogs and satans and woman-luck,
While a man outside with a billhook,
Up to his head in his blood,
Cutting the morning off,
The warm-veined double of Time
And his scarving beard from a book,
Slashed down the last snake as though
It were a wand or subtle bough,
Its tongue peeled in the wrap of a leaf.
Every morning I make,
God in bed, good and bad,
After a water-face walk,
The death-stagged scatter-breath
Mammoth and sparrowfall
Where birds ride like leaves and boats like ducks
I heard, this morning, waking,
Crossly out of the town noises
A voice in the erected air,
No prophet-progeny of mine,
Cry my sea town was breaking.
No Time, spoke the clocks, no God, rang the bells,
I drew the white sheet over the islands
And the coins on my eyelids sang like shells.
What is your creative process?
It’s different for each song. But in the case of ‘St Agatha’, Raychi came to us having the idea of the root notes and a drum machine beat. We circled round the beat for a while, exploring a dark western guitar line that Penri added overtop. We’re collectively inspired by a lot of folk artists who use more regular strophic structures to draw attention to the story being told. In ‘St Agatha‘, we took influence from this and chose to keep the songs harmony more consistent and logical in order to highlight the central narrative surrounding national identity; a subject that is really important to us as a band.
How did you come to work with Tom Rees (Buzzard, Buzzard, Buzzard) as producer?
Tom is a very talented producer responsible for working with a vast array of acts in the Cardiff Music Scene. We had been friends with Tom for a while and he was the natural choice when it came to the recording process
What are your plans in terms of live dates and new music releases?
We’re playing Swansea Fringe, Mood Swings Manchester, Swn Festival Cardiff, Mutations in Brighton. More dates to be announced soon and future releases are brewing.
If I looked in your fridge right now what would I find?
A selection of snacks from Pooja (Sweets and Savouries) Albany Road.