"That's why Slam Dunk is doing well - just being on the ball with new and up-and-coming bands, as well as all the legendary ones. And I think some of the other festivals aren't as on the money with that." - Loz Taylor.
Fresh off the back of a career-defining, enormous show at London's Brixton Academy over the weekend, we're delighted to exclusive announce that While She Sleeps are joining the Slam Dunk 2020 line-up, as the headliner of the Jägermeister Stage!
We caught up with While She Sleeps' Loz Taylor and Mat Welsh to talk about their long-awaited return to Slam Dunk, their biggest headline show to date, and the community they've built around themselves.
Slam Dunk is hitting Leeds on May 23, and Hatfield on May 24 with tickets available HERE.
Huge news - you're headlining the Jägermeister stage at Slam Dunk this year!
Says Mat: "We just repeatedly canceled on it two years in a row, and then were like, 'Oh we're sorry - we're so sorry again. If you give us the chance, we'll come and do it', so we did."
Loz: "So Ben [Ray - Slam Dunk founder] said 'Cool, let's do this year'."
Mat: "I mean, you want the truth - that's it!" (laughs).
Loz: "It's an awesome festival - I think that it's doing awesome things for UK music. I think it's quite a refreshing take on what a festival is. Now what a festival is could seem kind of boring, and the fact that Slam Dunk is growing and moving to a bigger site, and all the things that it’s doing is really cool."
Mat: "The persistence of the festival is epic, because it's got better and better and bigger. We travel to loads of festivals, all the time, and we'd probably say that the best ones are in Europe… and like your Groezrock, and Jera On Air - those ones have an amazing vibe to them, and these crazy line-ups that are just super cool. And Slam Dunk is becoming that."
Loz: "Yeah, that's why Slam Dunk is doing well - just being on the ball with new and up-and-coming bands, as well as all the legendary ones. And I think some of the other festivals aren't as on the money with that."
Mat: "I think it's just got a fresh feel to it. It doesn't feel like that like old-school mentality like, ‘But who's gonna be the headliner if we can't get Saxon?" (laughs).
Loz: "But yeah we're super stoked about it."
Mat: "We are. It will be fucking sick."
You've obviously played Slam Dunk before - do you have any special memories from your previous appearances?
Mat: "It's always been batshit to be fair."
Loz: "It's quite close to our hometown [Sheffield] really, so it kind of feels like a hometown festival for us. So that's always good - to have a Yorkshire crowd there, they're always they're supporting us."
Mat: "And it's at Temple Newsam - we've never done a Slam Dunk outdoor before. But it being at Temple Newsam, that was my first ever festival experience! I went to Leeds Fest in 2002. I was 13, and Guns N’ Roses played - and that was my first festival experience! I used to go to that place quite a lot, so I am super stoked to be going back and playing there, where it all began!"
You've just played your biggest headline show to date, at the iconic Brixton Academy in London - what does that feel like?
Loz: "From being 14 years old, just jamming in a run down bar or our grandparents garage or whatever - it's always been that sort of pin that we wanted to put there. To be like, ‘We got to that level of band’. I've been saying it at a few of the shows that we've been playing on this tour recently, that it's really nice to have not just held the vision, but to get to where we are at - where we wanted to be when we were younger.
"And to build a community of like-minded people that surround the band that all feel very similar to what we do - I think that whole thing is so special, and and that's the triumph for us I think. A lot of people come to our shows on their own, and they'll make friends out of our fanbase, and they stay in contact - so that's the community side of things that has always been really important to me."
Mat: "You hear that all the time - people meeting friends through bands, and relationships being built."
Loz: "It's nice to get to Brixton and feel like that family, and that fanbase and the ethic that we've worked hard towards and the community that we wanted to build - it feels like it’s now solidifying, and is only going to get stronger from this point."
Mat: "In a crazy way, it still just doesn't feel like it's our gig. It's so big! When I went outside earlier I was like, ‘There are two fucking trucks outside, and then a bus’, and I'm like ‘That must be must be someone else - must be another band around the corner’. But no - that’s our trucks. I'm still just finding that mad.
"I also love this idea that when you go to big shows, all the public transport has other people on there going to the show. So there was best part of 5,000 people today coming into London - [While She] Sleeps dudes hopefully all giving each other a little nod when you see someone else's Sleeps shirt. Like when Slipknot played the other day, they're singing 'Wait and Bleed' on the tram back in Sheffield - it's like a mosher tram. Just getting anywhere near that, we have all these people uniting and are hopefully going to have this super fun time…
"That’s that community thing, we've always wanted to make it this really normal thing. Hopefully you go in the pit, and you feel cool because the other people in the pit aren't being dickheads. You're like, ‘If I go down, someone's gonna get me up’ because that's the vibe."
While She Sleeps are headlining the Jägermeister stage at Slam Dunk Festival 2020, and join other already announced stage headliners Sum 41 and Don Broco.
Check out the dates for Slam Dunk 2020 below. Tickets are available now from HERE.
23 - LEEDS Temple Newsham Park
24 - HATFIELD Park