Slum Sociable‘s blend of Jazzy, hip-hop-esque electronic soul is very intriguing. Something that is better appreciated live in one of their shows. Recently, they’ve been touring heavily in Europe. On the Paris (France) stop at Flèche d’Or for “The French Escape”. Sophie and Michela (photographer) met up with the band at the venue. An old train station converted into post-industrial concert venue that holds dear in our hearts as one of the best venues in Paris. Open windows, overlooking the rail tracks, great steamy space and approachable stage means you bask in total bliss whenever a stunning act performs. That’s exactly what happened when Slum Sociable opened for Liss, and Methyl Ethyl that night. From Melbourne in Australia, Slum Sociable are Edward Quinn on production duties, guitars and keys, side-kicked by the brilliant Miller Upchurch on vocals and percussions. They were playing live with drummer Ryan Beasley and bassist Dylan Savage. Read Sophie’s interview below to know a little more on their sound and influences.
Interview by Sophie. Introduction by Sodwee. Photographs by Michela Cuccagna.[separator type=”space”] [separator type=”thick”]
I’d like to start with your moniker, Slum Sociable.
Edward : There’s this movie called Gangs of New York and at that time of making the band we were kinda obsessed with Daniel Day Lewis and he has a line in the film when he says « Slum Sociable », it’s just a stupid combination of words !
Miller : Yeah but it kinda sonically goes with what we’re doing. A bit dirty.
You’ve known each other for a long time but you actually started the band because of a school project at uni. Is that right ?
Edward : Yes, I had to submit some music as part of this course so I got Miller to sing on it and then people heard it and liked it so we kept on doing it ! (laughing)
Did you have a good mark ?
Edward : Yes I did ! To be honest they didn’t really assess the quality of the music, it was more the fact that I had actually submitted something for once ! (laughing)
You started playing in guitar bands and your music is now an electronic kaleidoscope. How do you explain this evolution ?
Miller : Well I guess our influences have changed and it kinda directs us into the way we wanna make music as well. With music evolving and new music coming out we’ve got different tastes.
Edward : Our influences are constantly changing so it might be difficult to categorize us.
Your roles in the band are well defined : Edward, you’re in charge of the music and Miller, you write the lyrics. Could you think about switching ?
Edward : (laughing) Not switching but recently Miller has been getting more into the music. At this point, I wouldn’t want to write lyrics cause it’s quite personal !
Miller : Sometimes Edward writes a few lines and it’s really good catchy so it kinda works both way but I don’t think we’ll ever switch complete roles.
Edward : Yeah, we don’t step on each other’s toes.
For All Night you made a very intriguing video which reminds me of The Avalanches because of the dance moves and its weirdness. Are they an influence of yours ?
Edward : Yes, definitely ! For that video we came with this idea that no one really wanted to make it happen and there’s this director in Melbourne called Jack Peddey and he fucking loved the idea. He’s got to take a lot of credits cause it’s just so great !
There’s something else intriguing and I don’t know if you can share the secret but what is the meaning of the strange blue paint-splattered on your photos ?
Edward : There’s no meaning actually (laughing) ! With press shots, a lot of them can be very bland so the idea of the paint-splatter was to make something that was intriguing visually instead of just having Miller and I. A couple of friends did it for us.
You posted a picture with Dan Carey on Facebook. Have you worked with him for your first album ?
Miller : Yeah, we worked with him for a few days. It’s a lot of fun working with him and he’s really good !
Edward : He’s an incredible producer ! He took us to a bar as well, Dan if you’re reading it, we’d love to do it again !
You performed at the Great Escape while in England, how was it ?
Miller : It was a great escape (laughing) ! It was our first time over there, Brighton is such a beautiful place. Being thrown into this environment where there are so many great artists you can meet and see was just a lot of fun.
Did you have time to see other bands ?
Edward : Yeah, finally I saw Liss. I was so excited to see them that I went an hour early to their show !
Miller : He almost went to the sound check ! We also got to the Mystery Jets. I didn’t actually realize they were playing, I was like « No way ! And I’m gonna see them for free ! » That was a huge plus, they’ve been a favorite for a while.
I read somewhere that one of you was a huge Radiohead fan.
Miller : (laughing) We both are but I guess Ed is a bit more hardcore !
Edward : Yeah, I’ve got the Radiohead’s bear tattooed.
What do you think of their latest album ?
Edward : It came out on the first day we were in London but I haven’t listened to it as much as I would love to cause my headphones are broken but I think it’s just fucking great ! Actually we randomly met a girl in a bar who sang in the choir. It was crazy !
That’s the closest you got to Radiohead ?
Miller : (laughing) Probably !
Edward : I don’t think I would have the guts to meet Thom Yorke ! (laughing)
Finally since Sodwee stands for Sound of The Week, what would be your Sound of The Week ?
Miller : I think it would be Love Me In Whatever Way by James Blake, either that or the title track The Colour In Anything.
Edward : I would go with James Blake too but mine would be Present Tense.