BY the time The Slow Readers Club hit Chester Live Rooms on March 19 they can no longer claim to be one of UK music’s best-kept secrets.

Evolving from popular Mancunian band Omerta a decade ago, the four piece have grown their live following around their hometown through a combination of word of mouth and support slots, culminating in last year’s enormous 3,500 capacity sold out show at the Manchester Apollo and a top 20 placing for their third album Build a Tower.

“This tour is huge compared to anything we’ve done before,” says frontman Aaron Starkie.

“This is the first opportunity we’ve had to do a full on UK tour as up until this point we’ve all had day jobs to work around, but 2019 is the year we go at it properly, no more messing about.

“We’ve had tons of people ask us to play all over the UK, so here we go.”

The decision to become professional musicians is a brave one considering these uncertain times in the music industry and Aaron admits it was something they thought long and hard about.

“It’s exciting and daunting at the same time,” he says. “In January we recorded six demos which means we’ve made great progress towards the next album, and we also played the Eurosonic Festival in Holland so we’ve been keeping ourselves busy.

“We can’t wait to go out and do it properly tour-wise and we’re playing a lot of places we’ve never played before - Chester being one of them - it’ll be good to see what kind of crowd we can pull.

“It’s been slowly building over the years even though to people on the outside it might seem like we’ve suddenly shot up from nowhere.

“Last year was a great one for progress but the year before was the same.”

Aaron credits the opportunity to play with a legendary Mancunian band as the turning point for The Slow Readers Club, who will play 32 shows across the country throughout March and April.

“The big break really came for us when we got a support slot with James in 2016,” he remembers. “We did 14 dates with them and played places like the Brixton Academy and the Echo Arena

in Liverpool and it was massive for us.

“We were still a little part time band with no manager or agent or label and none of the trappings of what it normally takes to become successful.

“All we had were some decent tunes that James liked!

“I had their Best Of album when I was younger and I remember singing Sit Down at a school concert,” he laughs. “I had big curly mop of hair too like Tim [Booth], so they were always among the bands we looked up to along with The Smiths, The Stone Roses and all the classic songwriters who put an emphasis on melody.

“That’s all we try and do: combine a great melody with words that mean something. It seems to be going OK!”

While some bands might baulk at the comparisons to other North West heroes like Joy Division and Echo and the Bunnymen, Aaron is happy to be mentioned in the same breath as his illustrious forefathers and is proud of the band’s heritage.

“We’ll always be compared to Joy Division and New Order because of my baritone vocals and the rained-on subject matter,” he admits. “We grew up with that music but it is a problem the media have to a degree because they don’t look to Manchester for another scene if you know what I mean.

“In their heads it’s all still swaggering lads in parkas and even massive bands like The Courteeners don’t get the credit a band that size could maybe expect.

“It’s changing though and there’s plenty of other bands coming out of Manchester who sound different like Blossoms, The 1975, The Blinders, Everything Everything and Pale Waves. No one has put a name on that or called it a scene yet but they are all Manchester-based bands and there’s a lot going on.”

The band have been announced to play the main stage at the Neighbourhood Weekender in Victoria Park, Warrington in May, alongside Richard Ashcroft, The Vaccines and The Charlatans, with the rest of the year seeing The Slow Readers Club continue to work on tracks for their new album.

“We’re doing our first European tour and we’ve already sold out a show in Amsterdam,” says Aaron. “I think we’ve got a few daytrippers going over there rather than all Dutch folk so that should be a good one.

“Modern Sky, our record label, is Chinese-owned and last year we had a couple of dates there, so it would be great to get back out there this year. I’d love to get to America as well - we’ve had a bit of radio play in Seattle and interest in agents, so fingers crossed that’ll happen.”

Whatever the next 12 months brings, you suspect The Slow Readers Club are a band on the up, doing it the old fashioned way and enjoying every minute.

“We have a great bond with the fans through social media,” adds Aaron. “We spend time with them after shows and play after show parties.

“There are bands getting played on the radio far more than us who can’t fill the rooms we can fill, so it’s clear playing live is our main strength.

“It’s what’s allowed us to give up our day jobs and I hope they know how much we appreciate them.”

The Slow Readers Club play Chester Live Rooms on March 19. Tickets from