► Of course The Greasy Slicks have done more than just gigging. In 2013, you gave away for first EP for free. What was the thinking there?
Jack: Well, first of all, the story is that a guy in Guildford – Steve Savory, a wonderful man – had a dissertation to do and asked us to come and do some recording. A few months earlier, we had recorded a few other tracks, but we hadn’t put them out because we were having trouble with the mixes. So after we finished the 18-hour session with Steve, we gave him our tracks, he had a go on them, and the mixes sounded really good. Then we decided to put them out there as free content.
Rian: We hadn’t paid anything for it, so we thought we’d give it away for free as well. We made little paper sleeves-
Rian: (laughs) Okay, Jack did.
Jack: Hours of labour that was.
Rian: It was something to put into the hands of our existing fans, and for others to discover us.
► But that EP isn’t available anymore…
Rian: Well, we had Street Queen remastered, which was one of the three songs on the EP. That one is available on Spotify and Bandcamp for free. But we feel that the other songs aren’t really representative of us as a band anymore.
► In 2014 you put out your first ‘regular’ EP, Into The Night. I say regular because that one wasn’t free.
Jack: Yeah, we put a lot of time into that. We spent two days in the Humbug Studios on the Isle of Wight, which is the most wonderful place ever.
Rian: It’s this old, converted Victorian water tower, with the control room upstairs and the recording room downstairs. Such a cool place.
Jack: We spent a lot of time on getting the sound right, created the artwork and everything. And we did do our first EP release party for Into The Night, which is a scary thing because these things can go well but they also can go horribly wrong. And if you don’t have a solid base, they can go really, really wrong. We ended up doing it in Bristol because we have a lot of friends there, and it was a pretty good gig. And the EP itself? I mean, it sold some…
Rian: It wouldn’t be considered a massive success, but it was doing okay. And people can still buy it, of course.
► What you did do with that EP was a 3-day pre-release stream exclusively on a certain music blog. That probably didn’t do much for you…
Jack: Oh no, that sort of raised things a little bit. You know, we had been working on that EP for so long, to get the mixes just right, we didn’t want to just release it like that and risk that no one knows about it. So it did help to create a bit of a buzz around the release. It was better than not doing anything. (laughs)
► Is that something that you might be looking into for future releases as well – partnering with websites or music blogs?
Rian: To be honest, we’d probably work with a PR company next time. It doesn’t make sense to put a lot of time and effort into a record and then not do everything you can do to get it as much exposure as possible. Especially if you’re still growing your fan base, you need the reviews in the appropriate places. You can do a lot to that end yourself, but the best and most efficient way is probably to work with a PR agency. At least I guess. I mean, we’ve never released a successful record, so what do we know? (laughs)
Jack: I guess it does depend on how you define ‘successful’. People come to us after gigs and buy the EP. I don’t know when I last liked a band so much that I bought something off them right after their gig. If I like a band, I will then go home and check them out online. So maybe the fact that people give us their last fiver after a gig means something. We may not have shifted an awful lot of units yet, but the people who do buy our stuff really, really seem to dig it. And that’s a type of success, too, isn’t it?
Rian: You know how sometimes artists say, ‘I’d much rather the people dig it than buy it’? We always say that we’d much rather play a gig to 20 or 30 people who love what we do than 150 people who just think we’re alright.
► There seems to be a trend among some new bands or artists to put out one EP per year, rather than one album every two or three years. After two EP releases, can we expect a full-length record from The Greasy Slicks in the near future or is it going to be one EP after the other for you guys as well?
Jack: In addition to putting together a tour in the summer, we are actually looking to record new material for another EP this year. Basically the idea is to get the EP out in the next couple of months and then tour it. I don’t know about the trend thing, but I do know that we are very picky when it comes to the things we write and the things we want to record. We go through everything with a fine-tooth comb.
Rian: It is a mix of things. There is being picky. There is the question of the funds. But, as I was saying to Jack just the other day, I always find it a very brave move when a band that isn’t already established puts out a full album. It takes a lot of money and a lot of time. And then to release it to only a handful of people? Risky move. You know, in our first year as a band we had no material. The second year we had what essentially is a demo EP. From there, we’re organically building up a fan base. And, when the time comes, we won’t just re-record or re-release our existing material. If and when we put out an album, it will be all new material. Before that, you can expect to see us building a backlog of a few EPs. I don’t think we’re ready to release a full album right this moment.
► What about videos? When I first checked out who those passive-aggressive Greasy Slicks are and what they do, you were just putting out a number of really simple but really cool videos, called The Late Night Session and The Hook Session. Is there going to be more of that type of content?
Rian: I was thinking about that a couple of days ago. Those Late Night Session videos were all recorded in my garage, using iPhones. The setup was that simple. And we just recently invested in a couple of GoPros. So we could do a little acoustic session. There is no plan set in stone right now, but I think we will be doing it.
► Finally, if you could pick one of the following results of this interview being released, which one would you choose: a) It’s read by a whole bunch of people who didn’t know The Greasy Slicks, who then go check out your music and like it b) someone from a label reads it, goes to check out your stuff and likes it enough to offer you a deal or c) another band that still needs support for an upcoming tour reads it and checks out your music … someone like, I don’t know, The Temperance Movement…
Rian: That one!
Jack: Oh, you got him started now.
Rian: Actually, there are some conditions to my answer. How long is that tour?
Jack: And how much are we getting paid? (laughs)
Rian: Seriously, though, if people were to find out about us, especially if it’s lots and lots of them, I’d say that. Well, or The Temperance Movement. Sorry people. (laughs) The funny thing is, I went to the first ever gig of The Temperance Movement. At the time we had just started our band, and after the gig I went home and told the guys, ‘One day we’ll have to support them’.
Jack: But really, the best outcome is always when people find out about you. Like we said in the beginning, we always want people to come and say hi, both at gigs and online. It’s the only social life we have right now. (laughs) :x:
This interview first appeared in issue no.2 of XCENTS.
photo credit featured image: Joseph Browne
Interview by Ewan McGee.