Punk duo Slaves are curating an evening of gigs on the pier, which they are headlining, as part of The Great Escape. EDWIN GILSON went to meet them to talk about their rising profile, righteous anger and raucous live shows.

IN THE middle of a day of promotion on the seafront, Slaves embark on a measured diatribe against "being told what you should and shouldn't do". The punk duo aren't railing against their packed, PR-dictated schedule but the nine-to-five grind of the average office worker. Nonetheless, the irony of their words is not lost on Laurie Vincent and Isaac Holman.

"It's all relative though," says drummer and singer Holman, who is sporting circular John Lennon glasses. "We're in sunny Brighton doing some interviews and taking pictures on the pier. In the grand scheme of things, it's easy. We could be annoyed that we have to do a photoshoot, but anyone could be annoyed if they have to do anything."

If Slaves are operating on a tighter timetable than ever before, it's only because the music industry is so interested in them at the moment. This is the first time The Great Escape has hosted a whole evening of concerts on the Palace Pier, and Vincent admits it's "bizarre" to have the responsibility of curating it.

While the duo, who formed in 2012, have built up a reputation for intense, sweat-soaked gigs, the Great Escape gig will be a novel experience. For one, they're playing from the balcony of the Haunted Hotel ghost train ride. It's a considerable step up from when they played the event in 2015; three packed shows in small venues such as Coalition.

Those shows acted as springboards for Slaves – Vincent says they played a gig in Russia off the back of their appearance in Brighton. He and Holman capitalised on the popularity of their Mercury Music Prize-nominated Are You Satisfied? by releasing a follow-up, Take Control, last autumn. In the promo for the record, the pair wrote they wanted to encourage people to "get engaged" in politics, yet between them Vincent and Holman seem rather undecided on the exact motivation behind their music.

Holman replies affirmatively when asked if the new music Slaves are making is a response to recent social developments in the UK and beyond, but Vincent says "our music doesn't rely on things to say". "First and foremost we're musicians," adds the guitarist. "We don't want to say 'let's make people think like this'. Any message in the music is secondary – it just sort of happens."

Meanwhile Holman says "if we saw something stupid happening outside, we'd write about it." This occasional inclination towards silliness can be witness in their first single Where's Your Car Debbie? (about as dumb as it sounds) and Cheer Up London (as much as a wind-up as it sounds).

Before forming Slaves in Tunbridge Wells, Vincent worked at a milkshake shop and Holman at Topman. Get them started on the topic of such jobs, and you start to see where the aggression in the band's music comes from. As Vincent says, "anger runs through all of it".

"The band started as a desire to do something more than the nine to five. I've never enjoyed the approach of schools and institutions telling us what you should and shouldn't do. When people say, 'why are you angry?', it goes back to the middle-class society where all our mates are now miserable because they did what the teachers told them to do. Now they've got huge uni debts and their intern wage can't pay their rents in London."

In slightly broad fashion, Vincent says "people should be inspired to live their own lives", which, in the case of Slaves, meant pursuing music despite the supposed "stigma" about making art. "Somehow it's not seen as a proper job. You don't need a proper job. Well, I'm not saying nobody needs one, but we were all cavemen once – money is secondary to happiness".

As you might expect from a duo who spend most of the year in each other's company, Vincent and Holman share an endearing bond. They answer questions between them in fairly humorous fashion, such as when asked if hedonism plays a part on the road. "You're more hedonistic off tour," says Vincent to Holman. "I'm much worse off tour" the drummer concurs. "When I'm on tour, my head is in the game and I can't mess it up. Off it I just get excited, or both, or both."

Nobody is going to be bored at a Slaves show anytime soon, such is the raw energy the pair exude. A stand-up drummer, Holman cuts a primal figure at times, beating the skins often sans shirt. "I click my fingers before I go on stage and almost become a different version of myself," he says. Vincent admits to feeling completely drained at the end of Slaves' last tour, adding that "it's hard on your body. It's easy to be in a band that just stand still, though."

"I'd probably be a waster if I wasn't in a band like this," says Holman. "It's so physical that you get a lot of exercise along the way. It's a blessing in disguise."

Looking forward, it seems as though Slaves will continue to release music at the same intense rate as they rattle through a live show. Overthinking just wouldn't be the Slaves way. In Holman's words, "We want to keep banging them out".

The Great Escape, Brighton Palace Pier, Thursday, May 18, 7.30pm. For more information visit: greatescapefestival.com