"we’re focusing on getting our latest songs finished and putting out some new music. "
Even during the pandemic, these guys have been writing new songs since March. They are always on fire. They are The Sly Persuaders: a London-based Garage Noise band here to make you jump!
Sara: How and when were The Sly Persuaders (as a band) born and who are the components (musicians and instruments you play)?
The Sly Persuaders: We formed the band back in 2012, initially with a different drummer, but the current line-up was in place by the end of that year: Christopher Blake (Lead Vocals and Guitar), Danny Billingham (Bass), Lee Coxon (Guitar and Keyboards), and Alex Bone (Drums).
S: What were the first things you wrote?
TSP: The first song written for the band was ‘Love’ but that was actually written before all the members were in the band, so the first tracks we wrote as a full band were probably things like ‘Hey Faustus!’ and ‘Fool’.
S: How did you come to record 'Control' from Saboteurs? Where were you when you wrote it?
TSP: ‘Control’ was written in late 2016 at our rehearsal space in Deptford and the music came together in about an hour or so. The lyrics took longer to write, but were still relatively quick. It was one of those songs that captured where the band was at the time perfectly, and it was in every live setlist for the next 2 or 3 years. Because we wrote it between our first album being finished (in Aug 2016) and being released (in early 2017), we actually played it at the first album launch!
S: What happened during the time between 'Fire In the City' and 'Black River'? What kind of sensations, styles or changes have occurred in the band?
TSP: So after ‘Fire In The City’ we spent a long time writing and decided to self-release two cassette tape singles, which came out in 2014. Around that time we slowly started work on our debut album. It took a long time to record because we did it in lots of small chunks over a fairly long period of time. By the time it was almost finished Roadkill Records had been launched, and since we had a long-standing relationship with them from the Roadkill nights we became one of the first artists on the label. That led to us releasing our first album and that’s really when the band started to become what it is today. The background to all of this was the crazy political climate from 2015 onwards, which increasingly began to influence the lyrics. That ultimately led to Saboteurs, which aside from a couple of songs is very much about society and politics. We certainly matured as songwriters and performers, and learned a lot of lessons about running a band and working together (things we're still learning about at the moment to be honest!).
S: How have you been working during the pandemic? Has it been a productive time?
TSP: Back in February we actually started to put some time aside away from the rehearsal room exclusively for song writing, partly because in the past we’d always struggled to find time to write songs. Luckily once the lockdown kicked in, we were still able to continue these sessions, albeit with lots of video chats and sending each other recordings to work on. So we probably have most of an album written and rough versions recorded, but as always there’s still more work to be done! Interestingly it’s allowed us to experiment with different sounds and different ways of working that were difficult to do in a rehearsal studio. That said, we are very much looking forward to playing together in the rehearsal studio again when we can.
S: What new challenges do you have for the future? Any live performances soon?
TSP: Well, we did have gigs scheduled for this year and they’ve all been moved or cancelled. So we’re hoping the ones that have been rescheduled to next year will still be able to go ahead. A lot of people in the London music scene we’ve spoken to are not expecting to see gigs at clubs and small venues starting up again properly until at least next year. It’s very uncertain at the moment. Rehearsal spaces are starting to open up again so hopefully we’ll soon be able to get together and try to remember how to play live! With some of our new songs being written since March we’ve never actually played them live together, so that’s going to be pretty exciting for us. Mainly we’re focusing on getting our latest songs finished and putting out some new music.