Like JME and Ellie Goulding, Slaves guitarist Laurie Vincent is one of a number of musicians championing veganism. We caught up with him to find out what made him ditch meat and dairy, and what he’d recommend for anyone looking to make the switch.
So you’re vegan… Is [Slaves frontman] Isaac too?
Laurie: “Isaac is vegetarian and I’m vegan. We both sort of became vegan together but Isaac will occasionally eat cheese and eggs. I think sometimes his being vegetarian is healthier because I’ll be in an airport and not eating anything and he’ll eat some dairy… it means he actually does eat.”
Why did you go vegan initially?
L: “I’ve always been interested in it but I didn’t really fully understand it and then I watched Cowspiracy which I think a lot of people saw – it was on Netflix. Before that I naively didn’t really realise the environmental impacts of the meat industry, I just thought people were vegetarian because they liked animals and all of that. I was naïve to it, and then when I found out how the production of meat is pretty much destroying our planet – and how it’s scientifically proven that if we did stop eating meat global warming would be reversed much more dramatically than if we stopped driving cars – it blew my mind a bit.”
When was that?
L: “It was in November 2015.”
So before that were you just a meat-eater?
L: “Yeah, well I’ve always dabbled with being vegetarian just because I thought it would be good not to eat meat for health reasons, but I’ve never been very successful.”
I hear you go to Cook Daily a lot in East London. Why’s that?
L: “Steven Manson (Professor Green) is there a lot. I guess it’s nice, there’s a lot of switched-on people there. Cook Daily is one of the places that made me go vegan because it made vegan food really exciting as well. Anyone that goes there walks away and says, ‘If I could eat this food every day then I’d go vegan’, because you don’t miss the meat. I’d never really experienced vegan food that didn’t feel quite hippie and traditional – what everyone thinks vegan food is – whereas his food was quite modern and filling.”
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Are you good at cooking?
L: “I’d say yeah, I can whip up a storm! I’m interested in cooking.”
What do you normally have to eat?
L: “I’ve just moved to Brighton so there’s a lot of vegan food. At the moment I’ve been ordering a lot of food as I don’t have a cooker, and I’ve been trying all the vegan places cause there’s so many here, but when I’m back in routine – which doesn’t happen very often – if I’m home a lot I do a lot of cooking.
“My go-to is smashed avocado on toast for breakfast. I like making salads, I make a good three-bean chili and my girlfriend makes a really good vegan risotto, mushroom risotto. It’s good.”
What’s your favourite vegetarian meal?
L: “Do you know what… pie and mash. Linda McCartney country pie and mash potato with peas and gravy. Just classic.”
What’s the worst thing about being vegan?
L: “Other vegans.”
Ruining it for everyone else?
L: “Just, you know, people wanting to constantly talk about it, and just preaching at people. That’s not the worst thing, the worst thing is the unawareness to it. People’s judgements rather than understanding. Saying ‘Oh don’t you just get tired?’ I actually have more energy now. I think just being in airports and not being able to eat food is the worst thing.”
Is there anything you really miss?
L: “I don’t think I really miss anything. I miss the convenience that meat used to bring, just not having to think about it. But there are pretty good substitutes with everything. My girlfriend’s vegetarian and then will eat meat and she’ll say it’s really disappointing so I have that to combat it. No one likes to admit it but I reckon a double cheeseburger in McDonald’s after you’ve been gigging all day…”
Would you encourage anyone to try it then?
L: “Yeah I just think we all moan about our situation and we all moan about the powers that be, the richest people in the world controlling everything, like the meat industry. We’re just feeding them. I feel like meat and all fast food is not giving you the nutrients you need, so I feel like they’re keeping us dumb. That’s my theory. Suppressing us.”
Do you think its unethical to eat all animal and farming animals?
L: “I think as well because most farmers don’t make that much money anymore and they struggle, it’s like a conveyor belt where the farmer doesn’t get paid, it’s these big corporations. I don’t think it’s ethical because we don’t need it, the fact that there’s so much meat on the shelf. Even maybe thirty years ago meat wasn’t an everyday thing, whereas now we eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“I thought to myself if I lived in the woods and there wasn’t a supermarket then I think it’s ethical because you kill the animal and use every single piece of it until your next meal. But most of us have a roof over our heads and smartphones and technology to tell us how to cook and so meat is actually expensive whereas you can make a three-bean chilli for like ten people for a couple of quid. I don’t think it is ethical; the only thing that I feel I would eat is, if I had my own chickens, I’d probably eat their eggs.”
What do you wish you had known before you became vegan?’
L: “I think rice milk is one of the things people should tell you about. And also Happy Cow. That’s the biggest thing – Happy Cow is an app that takes your location and finds all of the vegan options near you. Then there’s another filter where it finds the vegetarian options, and it also goes to veg options in meat-eating places. It’s basically a guide to the world where you can go and eat. So Happy Cow is definitely what I wish I’d known from day one because it took me about six months to find it.”
And what about rice milk?’
L: “Rice milk is quite sweet but it’s the creamiest substitute milk, it’s made out of rice obviously but that is the closest thing I would say you can get to milk. I don’t really have milk in my hot drinks but in mashed potatoes it’s good. Also, Flora have just brought out this dairy-free spread. I never had butter growing up, we always had olive-oil spreads and it’s the closest thing to butter I’ve ever tasted, and it doesn’t have any dairy in it, so that’s worth a shout.”