The Manchester-based sibling duo Slap Rash has been around for a couple of years now, but their recent signing to Disobedient records shows that they're just getting started. We chatted with the duo about their recent signing, their new single and how they're handling making music amidst the pandemic.
Photo provided by Slap Rash
Despite only having three singles and a demo track to their name, the Manchester-based sibling duo Slap Rash is already making waves and a name for themselves. The duo, consisting of Huw (bass and synths) and Amelia Lloyd (vocals and drums) have been known for years for their energetic live shows in Manchester's lively underground scene. However, it wasn't until this past March the duo signed to a label, Disobedient Records.
Coinciding with this signing, Slap Rash released the single "Cimmerian," which showcased an evolution in their sound. Even though Slap Rash is sticking with their jagged and raw post-punk style they established with their first two singles, the new single finds them experimenting in the darker ends of the genre now with drum machines, a moodier production and longer (in relativity) overall song structures.
We chatted with the duo about their recent signing, their new single and how they're handling making music amidst the pandemic.
How are you holding up during the pandemic? What has the COVID-era been like for you musically?
Amelia Lloyd: Initially, it was quite a challenge adapting. We don't live together anymore, and learning to write and record without being in the same space took some getting used to, but I think we wrapped our heads around it pretty quickly. Blessed be the technology of today.
Huw Lloyd: There was a sense of panic when things started kicking off. I ended up having to leave Manchester and adopt a new writing strategy. It was a bonus that this resulted in a catalog of demos that wouldn't have been a thing otherwise. So I'm glad I can look back at this time and have a glimmer of positivity.
How did you two get your start as a duo? What was it like in the first few months after becoming SLAP RASH.
Amelia: We've performed in a couple of bands together. SLAP RASH was initially a three-piece with our good friend Oli on the drums, but with moving away, university and the future vision for the band, we came to a mutual understanding to just go ahead as a two-piece. I think it works so well, and there's definitely an element of sibling telepathy going on between us.
Huw: SLAP RASH has had a couple of different forms before we settled into what we do now. Moving to Manchester gave us a sense of urgency as well as moving from three to two members. We picked up our first couple of shows and realized that the idea of making a lot out of a little was inspiring. People actually wanting to listen to it was a bonus.
How did you come to sign with Disobedient Records? Were you always looking for a label or was SLAP RASH meant to be a more casual, totally DIY project until recently?
Huw: We got a message from Disobedient the day after the single dropped (I think?) and it didn't take long for us to know that we wanted to move forward with them. They're exactly what we wanted from a label, an independent community of talented people. It had never really been a thing that we had considered properly until we started to record "Cimmerian."
Amelia: We've always said we'd do as much of it alone as we can but when we got the message from Disobedient Records we were naturally so stoked and after the first zoom call with Dan, we knew exactly what our answer was gonna be. HELL YES.
What informs your music now vs. when you started? I'm talking socially, politically, or musical-influence-wise. Has it changed too much?
Amelia: When SLAP RASH was first starting out I was absolutely caning Black Flag. I think that influence will always remain, Bill Stevenson has a definite influence on my drumming, but I'm sadly not as beefy as he is. I think we both try to avoid explicit political messages within our music, I think politics is an uber personal thing and one person to another will never agree on everything. As pent up and angry I feel about socio-political matters, I try to channel it into a metaphorical storyline for our lyrics. I don't really listen to our type of music, I think I'd end up being too influenced. I like to think my lack of listening helps us remain fresh. I'm still riding the nostalgia wave.
Huw: Our process has evolved pretty madly since we started, but even now most of our favorite tracks come from an impromptu jam in the middle of a rehearsal. I find a lot more freedom telling stories or creating characters within our music. I feel like there’s something timeless about that.
As a follow-up to the previous question, I noticed that the two of you (especially in Amelia's case) have very eclectic Spotify mixes on your Artist Profile. How do your eclectic tastes inform your work? I've already noticed the incorporation of electronic drums/handclaps on "Cimmerian," which wasn't present on your previous two singles.
Huw: Incorporating electronics into our music has been in my mind since we started playing in Manchester. I have a real hunger for industrial music, especially techno. Writing more has allowed us to do this seamlessly too. A lot of my influences deviate from the more rock oriented side of SLAP RASH. Miles Davis' Birth of The Cool played into a lot of my writing last summer.
Amelia: I would definitely consider my tastes eclectic whereas Huw is really up to date with the latest releases. I think the electronic additions elevate the music to a futuristic place. Constantly looking to the next thing.
As much as you're willing to give away, what does the near future of SLAP RASH look like? You're a month into a new label—one of the most exciting positions a band can be in—what are you planning?
Amelia: Gig and get out there as much as we can. Get some tasty merch ready. Write, write and write.
Huw: If all goes well, we'd love to get back into the studio and keep up the momentum during the summer. It won't be another two years before our next single. I promise.
Slap Rash's new single "Cimmerian" is out now. Stream it below.