Interview: SLAP RASH Seize Manchester

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By Neve Robinson

SLAP RASH are absolutely killing it at the moment. Hot off the heels of their recent release ‘Cimmerian’, they’re looking forward to gigging post lockdown and the bright future of the band. Particularly in the Manchester music scene, they’re a hotly anticipated and exciting band on everyone’s lips. Amelia and Huw Lloyd, like a punk Carpenters, are an absolute powerhouse pairing. They very kindly took the time out of their busy schedules to humour my daft questions. As a big SLAP RASH fan, it was quite the honour. Read on as we discuss the important things in life: Missy Elliott, Blackpool and Ken Barlow…

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© Huw Lloyd (of, well duh, SLAP RASH fame)

Hello my lovely little SLAP RASHlings. What a delight to interview you! I am such a huge fan of yours. So, first things first, what made you crazy kids decide to start up music? When did you start up?

A: I’ve been playing music since I was about 6…so I have a classical background compared to Huw. Many years spent playing Viola before I discovered Nirvana at 12 and ditched it for a guitar (typical)

H. I only realised my love for music a year before college. I tried starting out on Saxophone and very quickly discovered that I was shit. Amelia taught me some White Stripes on the bass and it’s all history from there.

I’m dying to know. Why SLAP RASH? Do I need to shout when I say it?

A: YES. We locked ourselves in a room years ago and listened to ALOT of Primus to titillate the band name senses. I think I came up with SLAP RASH? SLAP RASH is just the juicy red mark that gets left when you’ve thwacked someone really hard.

H: I think Amelia’s right. Our focus was having something that was totally original and memorable. Like it isn’t a thing. It just is. Still feel quite proud of it. 

What’s SLAP RASH all about? What are you guys wanting to achieve with your sound?

H: Our approaches to writing come from pretty different avenues, but the way it comes together is what excites me. I hope that when people listen to us they feel the energy within the chaos. I’m also a massive fan of crafting a character and telling stories within music. That’s pretty apparent in ‘Cimmerian’.

A: I aim to make music that someone can listen to on repeat. I obsess over songs and can listen to the same one for weeks on end so i’d like someone else to feel that with our music. Gets under your skin in the best way. 

Bit of a bog-standard music interviewer set of questions here, brace yourselves. I’m not exactly Michael Parkinson, sorry. SO. Influences?

A: Alice in Chains, 7 Year Bitch, Patti Smith, Black Sabbath, Parliament Funkadelic, TOBACCO, Korn…Missy Elliott and Destiny’s Child…? Hamish MacCunn probably subliminally

H: Amelia has covered many of mine, but it’d be wrong of me not to mention Oh Sees, Gorillaz, Primus, METZ and Miles Davis (I know right)

What would you guys say your favourite show you’ve played? Do you remember the first show you played as SLAP RASH?

H: SLAP RASH really became what it is now when we moved up here for Uni. The first show I remember was a support for our friends October Drift at the Night and Day. A very formative time for us as we were still trying to work out exactly what we wanted to do.

A: GORILLA was a real highlight for me. Alongside BINGE (my favourite current Manchester based band) and Melt-Banana. Or our sell out debut headline at The Eagle Inn, Huw got carried out the venue by the crowd, it was surreal. I drank way too much Old Rosie afterwards, devils juice. 

And where would be your dream place to play, and who would be your support? 

A: I’ve always said Brixton Academy. I saw Jane’s Addiction there in my early gig days with our dad and it just opened my eyes to the magic of live performance. I would pass out if Nine Inch Nails supported us (feel like i’m blaspheming even suggesting that). Trent Reznor is a hero of mine. 

H: The Exchange in Bristol holds a very special place in my heart, so it would be pretty great to head there at some point. As for a support act…Giant Swan, can’t think of a better way to get ready for a show than seeing them live.

Tell us about ‘Cimmerian’. We bloody loved it here at Robinson’s Records. Where did it come from, how long were you working on it, all that jazz?

A: We began writing it 27th Feb 2020 (there’s a sneaky clip of our band practise on insta from that day…so i’m 99% sure it was then). It was a long turn around from its conception to the birth but I think the time taken enhanced it. We worked on Cimmerian with Alex Greaves at The Nave in Leeds, his input really took the song to the next level. The moody vocal style was his suggestion. Golden. 

H: For a longgggg time we had planned on recording a different track for release, Cimmerian ended up being a last minute decision. I’m so glad we chose it. The recording process was one of the best moments of my life, spending a day with Alex asking “How filthy can we make this?”.

A little birdy has told me something exciting is afoot in Blackpool in April for you RASH-y Rockstars. Do tell all?

A: Yep! We’re playing at Bootleg Social on April 16th alongside our Disobedient Records alumni DEAFDEAFDEAF. Our first gig together so i’m very keen. 

H: It’ll be our first show in Blackpool since August 2019, so we’re gonna make sure that it’s a fuckin solid one.

What do you reckon the future holds for the band? Give us some creative spoilers…

H: We both desperately want to get into the studio and record again. The downtime we had over last summer gave me a whole lot of time to work on new ideas and themes. If you keep an eye on us during 2021, we’ll be very appreciative. 

A: Hopeful to release something longer than 4 mins in the near future…I’d like a chunkier body of work out there. We’re sitting on some crackers and I think the last year has only done me wonders for my lyrics…some slashes to the jugular but I think it’s stuff worth saying.

You’re Manc-based musical wizards. Who are your favourite local artists at the moment? 

A: BINGE. If there’s one Manchester based artist you should listen to it’s them.

H: Sugarstone are the most enthusiastic and talented musicians, and they just dropped a new single. You won’t regret it.

And finally, because I always like to end with something silly. SLAP, marry, avoid (get it?!) these Mancunians: Steve Coogan, Frank Sidebottom, Ken Barlow from Coronation Street.

A: Forgive me…Marry Steve Coogan (might make me laugh every now and then, reckon he gives a surprisingly decent hug). SLAP Ken Barlow (mainly because I’ve never watched a Soap in my life and I have quite literally no idea who he is) (I googled him and he has a bit of a slapable face). Avoid Frank Sidebottom. Never one for big headed men. 

H: SLAP – Sidebottom, MARRY – Coogan, AVOID – Barlow. I won’t be answering any follow up questions.

Pleasure chatting to you, and can’t wait to listen to your next offerings in the future!!!

H: Our love for Robinsons Records is endless xx

A: Oh, the pleasure was all ours. 

You can keep up with SLAP RASH’s antics here, and check out their tuneage here.

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