Slaves (UK band)

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Holman crowd-surfing in Manchester in 2015
Background information
Origin Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England
Years active 2012–Present
  • Laurie Vincent
  • Isaac Holman

Slaves are an English punk rock duo from Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, which formed in 2012. It consists of Laurie Vincent (guitar, bass, vocals) and Isaac Holman (drums, vocals). Their music has been described as "British punk with harsh bluesy garage riffs".[1]


They released their first EP Sugar Coated Bitter Truth in 2012 under Boss Tuneage. Their first single, "Where's Your Car Debbie?", was released by Fonthill Records in early 2014 and they were then signed by Virgin EMI.[2] They released their first single under Virgin EMI, "Hey", in November 2014, followed by "The Hunter" in the same month. They appeared on Later... with Jools Holland and were nominated for the BBC's Sound of 2015.[3][4]

The duo released their debut album, Are You Satisfied?, on 1 June 2015. It has since gone silver in the UK[5] It reached number 8 in its first week on the UK Albums Chart.[6] The album was nominated for the 2015 Mercury Music Prize and has since gone Silver in the UK[7][8][9]

They released their second album, titled Take Control on 30 September 2016, which features a collaboration with Mike D of the Beastie Boys on the track "Consume or Be Consumed". The album fared even better in the charts than the first, getting to number 6 in its first week on the UK Albums Chart.[10]

On 20 March 2018, the band announced the recording of its third album. The album entitled Acts of Fear and Love was released on August 17th and reached number 8 in the uk album charts.[11]


Since the release of their debut EP Slaves have been faced with allegations that their name, given the historical context of the term and their own white backgrounds, is racially insensitive.[12]

In March 2015 The Fader published an article titled "Why Would A Band of White Dudes Name Themselves Slaves?", in which writer Aimee Cliff stated "While band names like Anal Cunt clearly set out to shock, names like Slaves are problematic without necessarily intending offense; which leads to the question, when it comes to choosing what to call your own personal artistic project, is it ever possible to go too far?"[13]

Laurie Vincent, the backing vocalist and guitarist of Slaves, told The Fader that criticism of his band name has come as a surprise to him and drummer Isaac Holman. He described how he and Holman chose the name while trying to think of "an abrasive sounding word, like Clash." The aim was to sound aggressive, but not to offend. Further stating "We just liked the word. We weren't trying to provoke." In Vincent's opinion, criticisms of Slaves amount to attempts at censorship of linguistic and artistic expression. "Someone once wrote on our Facebook wall, 'Nobody but African Americans have a right to use the word slaves,'" he recalls. "Obviously, lots of words have two meanings—if you said 'I feel like a slave at work' or 'I'm a slave to the routine,' that's not being disrespectful to the slave trade. You have to use words, or you're just going to be scared of everything. We live in a society already where people are terrified of the way they act being interpreted, and it's just getting harder." He goes on to say that band names that have a specific political allusion, such as Joy Division or New Order, are more harmful than a general noun like "Slaves."[13]

Speaking in a video interview, Vincent said: “If you pick up an Oxford dictionary and look up the word “slaves”, there is no mention of any racial context. A slave is a person who is owned by another person and forced to work for free. In that manner, people who deem you a racist are being incredibly small minded because slavery has happened to every single creed, race and religion and it’s not a racist term.” Vincent goes on to admit to moments of doubt about the name, saying: “There are days when we think, ‘Oh man, why did we pick this name?’ But now I look at it, it’s important. It says a lot about the time we live in that freedom of speech is so over analysed that you can’t even use words.”[12]

The band have also addressed the controversy around their name in a statement on Facebook, the pair state that “Our band name relates to people not being in control of their day to day lives. Slaves was our way of getting off the paths we didn’t want to walk down anymore. The music we make is motivational and aimed at people personally as well as collectively.”[12]


  • Laurence "Laurie" Vincent (born 28 December 1993) - guitar, bass, vocals (2012–present)
  • Isaac Holman (born 30 October 1991) - drums, trumpet, vocals


Studio albums

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions and certifications
Title Details Peak
Are You Satisfied? 8
Take Control
  • Released: September 30, 2016
  • Label: Virgin EMI Records
  • Formats: LP, CD, digital download
Acts of Fear and Love
  • Released: August 17, 2018
  • Label: Virgin EMI Records
  • Formats: LP, CD, digital download

Extended plays

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions and certifications
Title Details
Sugar Coated Bitter Truth
  • Released: July 19, 2012[16]
  • Label: Girl Fight Records
  • Formats: Digital download


As lead artist

Title Year Album
"Where's Your Car Debbie?"[17] 2014 Are You Satisfied?
"The Hunter"[19]
"Cheer Up London"[20] 2015
"Cut and Run" 2018 Acts of Fear and Love

As featured artist

Title Year Album
(Chase & Status featuring Slaves)
2016 Tribe


  1. ^ Hutchcraft, Jak (22 October 2013). "We talked to punk duo Slaves about LA Haine an being in love". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  2. ^ "Tunbridge Wells punk band The Slaves signed to Virgin EMI". Kent and Sussex Courier. 4 March 2014. Archived from the original on 4 January 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  3. ^ "BBC Sounds of 2015". Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "NME News Slaves confuse Bono on debut 'Jools Holland' performance". 22 October 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  5. ^ "Interview: Slaves - "I Think It Has Quite An Instant Feel And Message"". Inveterate. 11 March 2015. Archived from the original on 14 March 2015. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  6. ^ "SLAVES". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  7. ^ "Mercury Prize 2015 shortlist". BBC. Retrieved 2015-10-16. 
  8. ^ Geddes, Clarke (16 June 2015). "Reviews Slaves Are You Satisfied?". Clash Music. 
  9. ^ "Slaves". Unrecorded. Archived from the original on 6 February 2016. 
  10. ^ "take+control | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 2016-12-28. 
  11. ^ "SLAVES on Instagram: "Doing an album"". Instagram. 
  12. ^ a b c "Slaves respond to criticism over their band name – watch - NME". NME. 2015-05-05. Retrieved 2017-04-12. 
  13. ^ a b "Why Would A Band of White Dudes Name Themselves Slaves?". The FADER. Retrieved 2017-04-12. 
  14. ^ "Slaves - UK Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 7 February 2017. 
  15. ^ "British certifications – Slaves". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 7 February 2017.  Enter Slaves in the search field and then press Enter.
  16. ^ "Sugar Coated Bitter Truth by Slaves on iTunes". Retrieved 26 October 2017. 
  17. ^ "Where's Your Car Debbie? - Single by Slaves on Apple Music". Retrieved 26 October 2017. 
  18. ^ "Hey - Single by Slaves on Apple Music". Retrieved 26 October 2017. 
  19. ^ "The Hunter - Single by Slaves on Apple Music". Retrieved 26 October 2017. 
  20. ^ "Cheer Up London (Slaves x Mike Skinner x Jammer) [Remix] - Single by Slaves on Apple Music". Retrieved 26 October 2017. 
  21. ^ "Sockets - Single by Slaves on Apple Music". Retrieved 26 October 2017. 
  22. ^ "Control (feat. Slaves) - Single by Chase & Status on Apple Music". Retrieved 26 October 2017. 

External links

  • Official website
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