Slowdive settle into mature skin with their comeback self-titled record
March 19th 2018
Photo by Matthew Eisman
Talking to Eddy Diamond on Mornings, Slowdive’s Neil Halstead and Simon Scott fill us in on reclaiming the genre ‘shoegaze’ and what it was like reforming after a twenty year hiatus.
A ticket to the golden archives was all Slowdive could be to those living in the present day – that was until they pleasantly surprised the world in 2014 with a cryptic Twitter account followed by a Primavera festival performance to bridge their 20-year old gap of inactivity. Fast forward three years, and the five-piece have since spoiled us rotten in the form of a new record, initially announced with accompanying single ‘Star Roving’. Finally releasing the self-titled masterpiece for the world to hear, the band have simultaneously carried on 1995’s Pygmalion torch, whilst nestling comfortably into the modern day. So what’s the mantra behind it all? “Just don’t make a shit record” exudes singer / songwriter Neil Halstead of the group, as framed to Eddy Diamond on Mornings whilst sitting next to bandmate Simon Scott in the FBi Radio studio.
Despite the sonic silence wherein members have spent the last 20 years raising children, working on individual projects and adjusting to advanced digital technologies, writing and recording their fourth record Slowdive has resonated closely with all five members of the English outfit. Much of the experience took place in Oxfordshire’s Courtyard Studios – the very same four walls a younger Slowdive found themselves within many years prior. “It was actually a pertinent thing for us to go back there and finish the record there,” explains drummer Simon Scott. “It was our second home for four of five years, so to actually end up there and for it all to come together felt like, ah! We’re at our spiritual home.”
A relaxed approach circulated by a collective modest demeanour has allowed the new record space to breathe, as the band allowed themselves free reign; for the entire process was completed on their own accord before releasing it on indie label Dead Oceans, “We could always pretend that we hadn’t done it, and it never happened. If it was bad, we could always walk away from it. We didn’t feel any pressure,” Halstead continues, “We could just enjoy it.”
“There were kind of no rules to it which was really good,” Scott added, “So it ended up sounding like a pure Slowdive record.” Pure it most definitely is, as the Shoegaze legends have remained true to their form. Maturing in identity, a proper listen of the record is a delightful experience and one to be approached with full attention. Expansive and wholesome, it embodies Slowdive’s age, as songwriter Neil Halstead mentions, “You reflect on things a bit differently when you’re older. There’s no certainty of youth.”
Listen back to the full chat on Mornings here.