After years of backlash, UK punk group Slaves have changed their ‘offensive’ band name to Soft Play instead.
UK punk band, Slaves recently addressed their long-deemed controversial band name via Instagram. Posting a lengthy statement on Saturday (December 10), they apologised for its offensive undertones and introduced their new name, Soft Play.
“When we called our band Slaves, it was intended solely as a reference to the gird of day to day life,” they said. “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 anymore.”
They continued, “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.”
Soft Play go on to “sincerely apologise” to anyone who may have been offended by their name choice, and declare their music is “for anyone and everyone.” They conclude, “we are very happy to be back together again and are excited for what the future holds. Our new name is SOFT PLAY.”
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Comprising members Isaac Holman (vocals/drums) and Laurie Vincent (guitar), the English duo emerged under the name Slaves in 2012. Three years later, they responded to the public backlash over their controversial name: “We just liked the word. We weren’t trying to provoke,” said the band during an interview with The Fader.
In a since-deleted Facebook post in 2015, they added further commentary on the matter: “Our band name relates to people not being in control of their day to day lives. Slaves was our way of getting off the paths we didn’t want to walk down anymore. The music we make is motivational and aimed at people personally as well as collectively.”
Nearly a decade on from their emergence, the newly-renamed Soft Play have clearly changed their perspective: “The name [Slaves] doesn’t represent who we are as people or what our music stands for any longer,” declared Holman and Vincent in the aforementioned Instagram post. Read the full statement here.