Punk is currently being celebrated in London this year to mark the 40th anniversary of the country's most rebellious subculture. Which, quite frankly, is a bit weird. Why would we celebrate something that doesn't want to be celebrated? The whole ethos of punk was to be something everyone was not, and to have its style, instruments and other memorabilia on show in a museum seems a bit redundant.
We sat down with one today's most prominent punk (if punk is even still a thing) acts, Slaves, to tackle this touchy subject, discussing their style mishaps and favourite outfits - because we don't want to get too serious now, do we?
Slaves new album Take Control is out 30 September
Every band has tour merch, but would you ever consider starting your own clothing line?
Laurie: "I actually have one called Young Lovers Club, which is now stocked in Selfridges, which is pretty mad. I try and keep the two separate. It’s also at a pop up store in Truman brewery. Clothing is something I’ve always dabbled with drawing, and ever since I’ve went to art college I’ve always made t-shirts. It’s something I want to spend more time on, but I don’t have loads of time to do it at the minute."
Is the tracksuit stylish again?
L: "Yeah, there is this Boy Better Know tracksuit mafia idea, and tracksuits can be smart in some ways if you wear a nice one. With our personal style we started out wearing suits and smart, then it moved to tracksuits, now we mix the both of them up. I think it’s important to have a nice tracksuit and a nice suit. I made a Young Lovers Club tracksuit and that’s my favourite thing I’ve ever made, I wear that quite a lot."
What's the worst thing you've ever worn?
L: "When I was really young I used to wear grunge flares that went all the way over your shoes. I think they might look cool on a girl now."
What’s the one thing you don’t wear but will never throw away?
L: "I’ve got this trouser and shirt combo that’s made out of African material, but the trousers are carrot fit. I’ve got it for the nostalgia, I wore it live once and loved it."
Best dressed subculture?
What’s your best dressed subculture?
L: "I’d have to say original rude boy, like the front cover of The Specials. That complete cross-section between reggae, punk, skins and mod, where they’re thrown in all together. The mixture between smart and casual. Teddy Boys look great, but I hate uniforms. As long as it doesn’t look too much like you’re wearing the same thing everyday."
Punk is currently being celebrated as a 40th year anniversary, something which Malcom McLaren’s son Joe is wholeheartedly against, going as far to say he’s going to burn £5 million worth of memorabilia from the era. Where do you stand? Do you agree it should be honoured?
L: "Just sounds exactly what you think Malcolm McLaren son would sound like: attention seeking. I don’t know, it’s a shame how overdone the Sex Pistols are, because you lose sight of how good that record was for the time. The whole stigma of being punk is quite a shame, the mohawk and studs, there’s a lot of stuff that’s lost in translation. We don’t celebrate other things in that way, so just enjoy the music every day. I do think all these festivals are a bit cheesy though.
Isaac: "There’s no need for it, really."
L: "I’m not into it. I think we’ve got to wait until they’re all dead. Joe Strummer’s stuff, wicked. But it’s a bit creepy going to see all of Mick Jones’ stuff."
Do you still see punk alive today?
L: "There are elements of punk in grime, but punk wasn’t invented to be successful and grime is. The lyrics in grime are about doing better and self-achievement, whereas punk is very anarchist and political. Grime has a lot of political undertones, but a lot of grime artists rap about how good their bars are and how shit yours are. But I fucking hate genres, I’d prefer to call it primal. The attitude of anarchy and not following the norm is what we relate to and what grime relates to."
Best dressed band?
L: "Babystrange always look good. The guitarist in White is fresh too. Savages also have a great look onstage."
If you were to give pass on one piece of style advice, what would it be?
I: "I think you can wear what you want."
L: "If you’ve got the confidence you can wear anything."