Forming in college whilst studying music in New York, the raucous and brooding 3-piece Slothrust (that’s pronounced Sloth-Rust) have gone on to produce three albums over the course of just six years.
Ahead of the official UK release of their fantastic third album Everyone Else, our music editor James Uden caught up with singer and songwriter Leah in the midst of their current US tour to discuss the band’s journey so far, and the impact they’re anticipating with the record’s wider reach…
Thanks for taking the time to speak to us while on the road Leah. How’s the current tour been treating you so far?
It’s good to be busy, definitely good. It’s 1.30pm here in Florida and we’re on the way to a radio show straight after this interview.
‘Sloth-Rust’ as a band name rather stands out immediately. Is there a significant meaning behind it?
We get asked this a lot and sadly it’s not as interesting as people expect. I released music under the name Sloth Box by myself in college. When it came to naming the band, we just held on to the Sloth element and added Rust. It partially came as a way to reflect on how time had past. I also like the way oxidisation works as a process.
We gather the band all met in college?
Yes, we all studied music in college. Wow, around five or six years ago now. Kyle was in the grade above. Over the last few years we’ve put out the three records, I moved abroad to Argentina for my Senior Year and while over there I worked in a studio and someone had found our music on MySpace and really wanted to turn it into a record. He asked if we had any other songs and we did so we recorded a bunch of songs over there and from then on just hit the ground running in the US. Embed link to new video for ‘Sleepeater’ :
Our recent introduction to you guys was seeing your new video for Sleep Eater. Introduced as a ‘poignant queer love story’, how inspired was the making of it?
This video was actually the only one from the record that we didn’t have a hand in! Directed by CJ Riehl and Emmy Kenny, these are two artists that we collaborate with a lot and they took full ownership of this video for us and did such a great job.
Off the back of videos you’ve already released, what can people who’ve perhaps not yet heard the rest of Everyone Else expect from the album?
Hopefully what we’ve released so far encourages you to want to give the rest of record a listen. We think of that as the aim because Everyone Else is a record that feels complete to us. Each song is well connected and there is an overlapping theme throughout.
Your third album has already had its release in America but it’s now being put out across Europe. Do you see this as something of a second coming for it and how excited about it are you?
We’re so excited. Going to Europe is something we’ve wanted to do for a really long time. It’s a hard thing to do without a record release, so with that now set this is a really exciting opportunity.
You write the majority of Slothrust’s material yourself. As a lyricist where does your inspiration come from?
I go through stages where I’ll listen to a lot of music and then just no music at all. When I’m in the middle of writing I won’t listen to anything so I don’t muddle what it is I’m working on.
Lyrically, I have a friend who inspires me a lot - Jessie is so cool and lives in Texas. There are also a bunch of songwriters who I like from Jenny Lewis to Kurt Cobain to Fiona Apple to PJ Harvey. I also listen to a lot of instrumental music. I love John Fahey. Someone else I’ve been listening to a lot recently who has been really influencing is Fats Waller. He’s an older musician but is so funny and has something about him that I’m so attracted to. I was listening to him a lot this past summer. He’s an amazing jazz pianist so he’s been influencing how I feel about music and songwriting. I’ve been learning more about the piano and I’m now getting into it more harmonically.
Has the band changed over time at all in regards to your songwriting and recording processes or playing live?
We've definitely got a lot more efficient as a band. Touring as much as we do, the only way we can get records done is to try to be more structured with time. Writing time allows a song to breathe and evolve too, so I’m constantly pushing myself to write more material and create music that won’t even necessarily make it on to a record. If it doesn’t happen to land right for an album, it’s not a problem.
With the most recent issue of Sister themed around Strength, what would you say defines strength for you as a female artist?
Strength is something that defines and shows resilience in the face of challenges. It can definitely mean different things to different people though of course.
You’re on tour in the US currently - when do you think we might have the pleasure of seeing you guys live in the UK?
We’re hoping to be over in the fall. We’ve got a few more radio sessions before ending our tour here, then we’ve got a few weeks off to find some time to write before we’re back on the road again!
Everyone Else is now available everywhere.