BBC, December 9, 2022
British punk band Slaves have changed their name, saying it “doesn’t represent who we are as people or what our music stands for any longer”.
The duo, who have had three UK top 10 albums and a Mercury Prize nomination, will now be known as Soft Play.
They said their original name “was intended solely as a reference to the grind of day-to-day life”.
A statement added: “We want to sincerely apologise to anyone we’ve offended.”
The name caused controversy when the group made their breakthrough in 2014/15, with The Fader publishing an article headlined: “Why Would A Band Of White Dudes Name Themselves Slaves?”
The Kent band defended their choice at the time, posting a statement explaining that they had been “working tedious 9-5 jobs when we started playing together, stacking shelves and mopping floors”.
They said: “Our name and music is aimed at being a slave to day-to-day life and routine. It is a metaphorical use of the word…
“Cease Fire and Wishing Well are the first two tracks we ever wrote, they address people addicted to smoking and the struggle of the day-to-day rat race: ‘It doesn’t matter if they’re taken because they’ll take you’.”
Now, they are returning after a three-year break and have put out a new statement saying: “As younger men, we responded to criticism of the name from a place of fear and defensiveness.
“Feeling backed into a corner, our own pride caused us to fight for a name we weren’t even sure we wanted any more. It felt at times as if our band name had defined us and we were scared of what might happen if we changed it.
“However, we now recognise that our original intent doesn’t change the fact that the name Slaves is an issue. In this day and age we believe it is very important that people change and make improvements no matter how far down the line they are.”