FOR those of us whose jobs mostly include sitting in front of a computer or laptop, working from home is relatively easy. For gigging musicians, not so. And for bands such as The Slow Readers Club, who were just about to set out on their biggest tour yet, working from home is surely virtually impossible.
Or, so you’d think. While postponing their shows to promote their new album The Joy Of The Return, they’ve been creating a series of stripped-back, lockdown-friendly performances in their individual homes, before splicing the videos together and uploading them for fans to watch.
‘The lockdown kicked off just as our latest album came out and our 32-date tour of UK and Europe was due to start, so we had to find new ways of connecting with our fans and helping all of us through this s**t situation,’ says singer Aaron Starkie.
‘I think people really like seeing each of us playing our parts properly, which is something you don’t get with conventional videos. We’ve been taking requests each time we post one and that helps us decide what to do next. From fans it’s often more obscure tracks that don’t get played live much; but the big ones are probably Lunatic, I Saw A Ghost, Plant The Seed and Forever In Your Debt.’
Being in houses across Manchester presents its own technical challenges, but they have made it work with a fairly low-tech solution. ‘We each record our parts on our phones and then I mix the audio in Logic and my wife, Liz, puts the video together in Adobe Premier,’ he says. ‘We haven’t found a way to do it fully live at the same time yet. If anyone has an answer, let us know.’
For a band used to sharing tour buses and dressing rooms for weeks on end, it’s a strange experience to work remotely. ‘It feels like we are in contact but obviously it’s more difficult trying to write any new stuff, as we usually do that by jamming in the same room.’
They’ve also been keen to keep collaborating with other bands. Aaron adds: ‘We’ve done online stuff for Kendal Calling and United We Stream, and Twitter parties for our albums as part of Tim Burgess’ listening party series on Twitter. All of that stuff has been great for staying connected with fans — and picking up new ones.’
Fans have taken to the new album, and it reached number nine in the UK charts, making it their first Top Ten record. ‘We just want to say thanks so much for everyone’s support, and look after each other. Stay safe and we will hopefully see you when all this s**t is over when we tour in October and November.’
For now, Aaron is making the most of time at home with his family. ‘The best part is spending a lot of time with the kids, playing video games and stuff and kicking balls about in the back garden. The weather being decent helps, I think. Plus we’ve been doing a lot of band stuff online, obviously, so there’s usually something going on that makes you feel like you’ve achieved something.’
■ Watch the lockdown songs at facebook.com/pg/theslowreadersclub