From touring with The Who for their 50th anniversary tour in America to playing some of the world’s most prestigious festivals and venues, Slydigs are an addictive combination of influential rock ‘n’ roll sounds from legendary bands like The Beatles, The Kinks, The Who, The Stones and artists like Dylan and Jimi Hendrix. Hailing from Warrington in England, a small town halfway between Liverpool and Manchester, we caught up with the band after playing one of Scotland’s biggest new music festivals, TRNSMT.
You’re currently on your huge summer festival tour, playing TRNSMT today, what do you think the Scottish crowds?
Dean: They’re always the best crowds, straight from the off. Even if they have never heard you before, if they dig you they’re in it from the beginning. Fine example was the gig at TRNSMT today. Good to see a few fans with Slydigs tops on but there was certainly a lot of new people there that have never seen us before on shoulders boppin’ away. We’ve played the Barrowlands before and that was our first taste of the Scottish crowds. After that we always get excited about the opportunity of returning again to play Scotland.
Louis: We always say that Scottish crowds are the best to play in front of, they seem to be always up for it from the first the moment you walk out on stage. As a band we thrive off the audience, so if it’s going off it just makes for a great experience all round.
What’s life on the road been like so far?
Dean: Intense. Just how we like it. A crazy amount of travelling but we’re sort of used to it now. It’s all part of it and we love waking up in a new country or city, it’s what it’s about for us. I’m not exaggerating when I say every gig so far has been huge. We were in France yesterday and made our way back to Scotland just to play this festival and have to return again to France today. That shows the commitment of our desire to play to a Scottish crowd. We only got TRNSMT confirmed last minute so we had to make it work and I’m glad we did.
Louis: These last few weeks have been unreal, we’ve played some of the festivals we’ve always dreamed of playing and it’s been everything we expected and more. It’s been pretty intense too some days we have been all over Europe in the space of a few days and when you finally do get back home you think did that all just happen. We’ve loved every second of it.
Who out of the band is the worse to travel with?
Dean: Ben or me. I get cranky, Ben gets loud. The more I get cranky the louder he gets.
Louis: Haha that’s a tough one, I’m sure we can all be as bad as each other on the road for different reasons. A good person to ask would be our tour manager as he’s the one who has too look after us and make sure we get everywhere on time. He says it’s like herding cats most of the time.
What’s the biggest necessity when being on the road?
Dean: A good driver, a good tour manager. You’re not getting much sleep when you do these sort of gigs so with your crew being on it, it just helps massively to have everything prepared for the gigs. We’re lucky to have a top crew. They allow us to focus on the job at hand. Without them it would be impossible.
Louis: Well this time it’s been a pair of shorts and a vest because the van has been close to 1 thousand degrees in this heat wave we’ve been having. Another one is definitely a phone, I was unlucky enough to drop mine in a bucket of ice at hotel in Milan and had to spend the rest of the week looking over peoples shoulders trying to find out what they were laughing about on group chats, it’s quite pathetic how addicted we are to our phones nowadays but it is a necessity when you have to spend 10 hours sat in a van, plus it’s got all your music it on which is very important whilst travelling.
What’s been the most memorable/funny moment of the tour so far?
Dean: Every gig has been memorable in its own inimitable way. The one that stands out to me was certainly Pinkpop in the Netherlands. As we walked out we had a tent full of about five thousand people at 3:30 in the afternoon. We played an hour set and we had the whole place bouncing. The response was mega. We got voted 4th best performance of the day and 16th over the weekend so I was pretty happy with that considering the calibre of bands that were on over the whole weekend. Funniest moment was finding our guitar tech/driver locked out of his room asleep in the hallway clutching on to a half-eaten sandwich. He’d forgotten what room he was in and didn’t have his phone on him so he had to set up camp on the hallway. He looked like the rigamortis had set in. Amazing. That’s one I can say publicly anyway.
Louis: There’s been so many memorable moments but a definite highlight was chatting with Richard Ashcroft backstage at idays. He’s been a massive inspiration for me over the years and to finally meet him and realise he’s such a down to earth guy was ace, also playing main stage at Isle of Wight that was unbelievable. Walking out to a packed out tent at Pink Pop too. There’s so many and I’m sure TRNSMT will be added to that list after we play.
What’s your top 3 playlist tracks to listen to on the road and why?
Dean: Rio by Low Cut Connie, Vienna by Billy Joel, Victim of Love by Charles Bradley. There always seems to be a song that signifies certain tours. That Low Cut Connie has been blasting out the stereo since we set of for Dot to Dot Festival in May. Awesome tune. Great melody. It gets us all giddy for the next gig. Lyrically it’s rather fitting. Vienna again has such an infectious melody. Such a great sing-a-long track. It lifts the spirits on those tiring journeys
Louis: Rolling Stones – ‘Can You Hear Me Knocking’, because The track sounds like it was inspired by the debauchery of spending years out on the road, probably why it fits so well. That’s good to stick on when you’ve got a long drive through the night. The Zombies – This Year Will Be Our Year. This seems to always come up on the playlist when we are on the road and it’s a mega song that uplifts everyone where we are slogging it from gig to gig. Proper sing along tune and I love the zombies. Little Richard – Rip It Up. I don’t think any artist can get me more up for a gig or a night out better than Little Richard, and Rip It Up just embodies that excitement you’re feeling before you head out on stage and turns it up to 100. Perfect tune for backstage
You’ve recently played IDays Festival with rock royalty The Killers, Liam Gallagher and Richard Ashcroft, what was it like sharing a stage with some of the biggest names on the scene?
Louis: It’s a massive honour to be sharing the stage with artists that we’ve always looked up to and that have inspired us over the years. When you start out as a band you always dream of these kind of gigs where you can perform alongside your heroes so when you finally get the opportunity your first aim is to show the audience that you deserve to be there. Ultimately, we want be up there and achieve what they have achieved so we need to prove ourselves at these kind of shows.
Your new single Sleep in the Wind is definitely the sound track to my summer and no doubt many others. Where did the inspiration come from for the song?
Dean: The structure came first along with the title. I was watching a film, I can’t remember the title but there was a line in it about a bird that sleeps in the wind. I thought that sounded great. That sort of inspired the theme. It’s about never stopping really. Whatever you do in life. People are always saying “keep your feet on the ground” and I don’t think that’s right all the time, to really experience something you need to be swept away with it in the wind. No time for over thinking. Self-belief will get you where you need to be, so be the force of nature. Everyone conforms these days. Certainly in music and I hate it. I hear and see it more and more these days. My meanings in there if you look for it. But I don’t want to say too much on it because I know people will take different meaning from it so I don’t want to ruin that.
We work with a lot of unsigned bands, what are your three tips for success in todays industry?
Louis: I would say self-belief and a vision is very important, along the way you will meet a lot of people who will tell you to change your sound, your image etc… if you haven’t got a true vision of who you are and what you want to create it’s quite east to get side tracked and manipulated, it’s really important that you are striving to create something that turns you on so that when the times get tough (which they inevitably will at points) you won’t lose heart. Make sure you’re a good live band. Nowadays you tend to hear about a new band online before you actually see them live, and sometimes it can be a let-down when you finally get to see them and they sound nothing like their tracks. I think if you can stand on a stage and blow people away with a live performance you have the chance to really take it all the way. After all that’s what it’s all about for me. Don’t get disheartened. I think a lot of successful bands can put a lot of their achievements down to sheer determination. If things don’t go your way then dust yourself down and carry on. The only sure fire way to be unsuccessful is by throwing in the towel when things go tits up. So just keep on chasing down the dream
Would you agree that bands these days struggle to keep that rock n roll mystique, what do you do to combat this?
Louis: Yeah I definitely agree with that, it’s very hard when social media is such a huge part of the industry. Nowadays everyone wants to see behind the scenes on tours and see the ins and outs of the recording process. It’s great for the fans and I love to watch those kind of things with my favourite bands too. It’s very had to maintain any kind of mystique in this day and age to be honest it’s definitely a sign of the times.
With an amazing first half to 2018 what can we look forward to from Slydig’s for the rest of the year?
Louis: We want to get back out on the road and play in front of all the new fans that we’ve picked up from the festival dates hopefully at our own headline shows, that’s definitely one of our goals this year. We’ve got a new material that we will be releasing in the coming months too. Basically we want to just carry on adding to the momentum that’s been building and get our music heard by as many people as possible.
Tonight, (6th July) Slydig’s play BST Hyde Park with Roger Waters, Richard Ashcroft, Seasick Steve and Squeeze Official on the Barclaycard stage at 5:10pm. They then play Roskilde Festival in Denmark on the 7th July, YNOT in Derbyshire on the 28th July before ending their summer tour at Kendal Calling on the 29th of July.