Slaves’ Laurie Vincent and producer Jolyon Thomas on their soft, melancholy new project LARRY PINK THE HUMAN
Announcing his new project LARRY PINK THE HUMAN with producer Jolyon Thomas (U2, Royal Blood, Kendrick Lamar), Slaves guitarist Laurie Vincent says that the essence of the new venture “is me truly becoming myself for the first time”. Trading the sharp, searing riffs and bellowed lyrics of his day job, Vincent’s new band sees him drifting through gorgeously crafted bedroom pop songs – launched today with the single ‘LOVE YOU, BYE’.
His new music is informed by his love of Elliott Smith and Leonard Cohen, and deliberately works against the stereotypes might have dogged Slaves before. “I’m actually quite a soft spoken, sensitive bloke,” Vincent tells NME. Born out of “a deep desire to turn left when everyone expects you to turn right,” LARRY THE PINK HUMAN marks a clean slate and a new beginning free from inhibitions or preconceptions.
NME caught up with the duo to talk about inspiration, emotions, and what the future has in store…
Tell us a bit about how the project started…
Laurie: “It’s been over a year. I started trying to write songs on my own as soon as I finished [third Slaves album] ‘Acts of Fear and Love‘. I got to a point where I’d written 10 questionable demos, so I went to Jolyon and asked if he’d help me record them. Eventually, I twisted his arm to get in his studio and the rest is history really. He jumped on board instantly.”
Had the idea always been in your head to do a solo project, Laurie?
Laurie: “I’ve always wanted to make lots of different music, and then it became apparent at the end of the last [Slaves] record that I needed to try and do something else. It wasn’t a conscious decision to go and join up with Jolyon, but I just started writing these songs, and the lyrics were working and the chords were working. They didn’t sound how I wanted them to, so I asked him to come in. I was nervous about taking these twee, folky songs to a producer. As we started, the project was designed to be for movie soundtracks, and not to be live music. It was very obvious to me quite quickly that Jolyon should be in the project, and it wasn’t forced at all.”
Jolyon: “When you’re in a band, you’re immediately put in a box. So to some extent Laurie is currently in a box, and as a producer I’m in another certain box. In reality, we both like so many different kinds of music, but if you spend long enough on one project, you become defined by that.”
Have you ever become frustrated at people purely seeing you as the shouty, aggressive guy from Slaves?
Laurie: “I’m actually quite a soft spoken, sensitive bloke, and you get bored with that stigma that’s attached to you. People are always going to make assumptions no matter what you do, but I’m 27 now, I’ve got two kids, and things are a lot different than they might’ve been when I started the band. I felt that what I actually have to say now is very different to what I had to say at 18. People like Elliott Smith defined my teenage years, and it felt like time to put my spin on things. I think people were expecting me to come out with a punk record, and I wanted to do something completely different.”
When you say the new project is you “truly becoming yourself for the first time,” what do you mean?
Laurie: I had a realisation. When I’d been writing some lyrics with Slaves, I was writing in the style of Isaac, and trying to help him write his lyrics. When I sat down with an acoustic guitar and try and be like Elliott Smith or Leonard Cohen, I realised that I’ve always been trying to imitate people, and there came a point when ‘LOVE YOU, BYE’ was recorded, that I started realising that I had my own voice as a songwriter. You might not write the lyrics that you admire, but you need to be yourself. The Slaves image was something that I was maybe eight years ago – it’ll always be a part of me, but it was time to try something new.”
The video for ‘LOVE YOU, BYE’ saw you make a casting call for people to share their worries and fears with you – were you surprised with the openness you received back?
Jolyon: “Yeah, it was nice. Everyone seems to be very open to the idea [of the project] and be softening to it nicely.”
Laurie: “I thought we’d get a lot of light-hearted, awkward tales, but the way that these people came in and poured their heart out directly to camera in front of a room full of strangers was a really interesting project, and I was shocked at how open they all were. It seems like the whole world we’re creating has a really positive energy.”
Self-acceptance and emotional openness are big themes on the project – was it important to hammer that home from the beginning?
Laurie: “That’s the whole point of the project. It’s about honesty, and musically it’s about putting your deepest, darkest feelings on a plate, as simply or as complicated as you want to, and the new song is such a simple sentiment. Every time I put the phone down, I’ll just say ‘Love you, bye’, to your nearest and dearest, and it’s got to be simple so people can digest it.”
It seems like quite a multimedia-based project – what other elements do you have planned?
Jolyon: “We came up with a concept for the first video, and it’s quite an immersive universe. The image comes into the music as well. When we were writing the songs, we were drawing ideas and the light-hearted nature of what we were drawing was impacting the music.”
Laurie: “It’s opening the door to a whole universe. I’ve always loved bands that have good merch, and behind-the-scenes videos, and we want people to be able to immerse themselves in this world that we’re creating, and there are more little bits that we’re going to introduce as we go. We’re making a zine, and some merch that’s a bit more than just T-shirts. It will all be revealed.”
Is an album for the project done?
Jolyon: “It’s in the process. We’re getting there.”
LARRY PINK THE HUMAN’s debut single ‘LOVE YOU, BYE’ is out now.