Most people spend Valentine’s Day with loved ones, but this past February 14th, I spent it at DC9 with indie pop duo Slow Club as I sat down for an interview with the male counterpart of the group, Charles Watson.
At only twenty-three, Charles (and lead singer Rebecca) have accomplished quite a bit. With 2009’s breakout album Yeah So the band got on the map and followed it up with 2011’s Paradise. Already, the group has toured across the U.S. and Europe and has had songs in commercials for Ritz crackers and Lay’s potato chips, as well as TV shows like Gossip Girl and Chuck.
Although these natives of Sheffield, England may have only first released an album in 2009, they first started playing music together over seven years ago as school mates. Like many indie rock audiophiles my age, they were influenced early-on by Conor Oberst and Bright Eyes.
“I really like Digital Ash actually; I’ve heard him talk about it saying it was kind of a joke,” Watson explained. “But the songs are actually amazing. And the lyrics, of course. He is such an amazing songwriter.”
As we went further into discussing our favorite Bright Eyes songs, it was clear the band had not only a listening impact but a playing impact on Charles as well. “His music really put things into perspective, and [was] what made me realize what I wanted to do and what we do now,” Watson told me. “It was that album, and a Shins record as well. It made us decide, ‘Well, maybe we’d like to do that instead of being in a like, post-rock band.’ I actually went to his house last year. He wasn’t htere, but some of our friends were staying with him out in LA. We sat in the garden and I just kept thinking, ‘Fucking Conor’s house!'”
We also discussed Charles’ hobbies on and off tour. When at home, he enjoys cooking and painting. But he is now faced with a pretty daunting task as they travel from state to state.
“I’m making our music video at the moment, while we’re traveling,” he said. “I also did the last one. We were supposed to be doing a video, and the director pulled out the day before. So, we had to think of a concept, filming, everything—with no money—and just kind of ran around for two days wondering ‘How do you make a music video?!’ So I’m just trying to get my head around that at the moment.”
As we shifted down to small talk and the music started to blare on the DC9 roof deck where we were conversing, a fan came over and asked for Charles to sign a copy of their most recent album. She explained that as this was Valentine’s Day, she was supposed to go to this concert with her fiance, but he was now overseas. Their favorite Slow Club song was “Christmas TV,” and she was wondering if they were going to play it that night.
Charles shrugged. “Probably not tonight, sorry!”, he exclaimed. However, when he and Rebecca reached the end of their set, they did in fact play it for the last song of the night. As I left the bar, I saw the fan go up to Charles and give him a hug, so happy he had played the song, as she thanked him profusely. Although neither Charles, the fan, or myself spent Valentine’s Day with that special someone, we all enjoyed and appreciated the music and the company we kept that night.