UK punks Slaves have rebranded themselves as Soft Play and apologized for their original name. “As younger men, we responded to criticism of the name from a place of fear and defensiveness,” frontman Laurie Vincent and drummer Isaac Holman, who are both white, wrote in a statement. They added that they had wanted to evoke “the grind of day to day life,” but acknowledge that the intent “doesn’t change the fact that the name Slaves is an issue.” The artists urged fans to respect the decision as they prepare to return with new music. Read the full statement below.
The name Slaves had drawn criticism since the band rose to relative prominent in 2012, with debut EP Sugar Coated Bitter Truth. In 2015, Vincent told The Fader the criticism came as a surprise, because they had been looking for “an abrasive sounding word, like Clash,” and “weren’t trying to provoke.”
Slaves released their most recent album, Acts of Fear and Love, in 2018. The duo had been on hiatus since 2019, in part due to the death of Vincent’s partner, with whom he has two children.