Slowdive - Rachel Goswell on the Shoegazing Icons’ First Album in 22 Years

Dreams Come True

May 05, 2017 Issue #60 - Father John Misty Bookmark and Share


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"What? An interview? Who is it? An American?" Hearing that in the background of a scheduled phone interview at roughly 10 p.m. U.K. time normally portends doom for the interviewer, but in this case Rachel Goswell of reunited shoegaze icons Slowdive assuaged my fears quickly. "My son was sick at school and got in at lunchtime, so it's been a busy week," she explains politely when we connect 15 minutes later.

For anyone who loved Slowdive's music and saw them both back in the '90s and again on their 2014 reunion tour, realizing during the latter that they were better than ever, anything less than a great new album would've been a disappointment. The major impetus, according to Goswell (vocals, guitar) was the reaction of the audience. "First there was Primavera, and things took off in a way that surprised us all," she enthuses. "We didn't realize how well loved the band had become, until we took the stage there, and it was an 'oh fuck' moment! It was absolutely insane and I still feel emotional about it and think about it."

They discussed as a bandGoswell, Neil Halstead (vocals, guitar), Nick Chaplin (bass), Christian Savill (guitar), and Simon Scott (drums)of not wanting to be a group who comes back solely as a way to cash in on the current rage of reunited acts collecting a big payday. So in 2015, they tried rehearsals. "It was a slow and considered process," remembers Goswell. "We were never a fast band at recording particularly, except for the first record when we lied to [our label] Creation and told them we had a full record when we didn't, but we knocked out Just For a Day anyway," she laughs. "This time we had no pressure from anyone, no label, and we wanted people to hear it, so we're excited for people to."

The band stress that this won't be the same Slowdive we saw back in the day, remarkably 22 years since 1995's then swan song Pygmalion, perhaps because of all they've been through. They are more resilient, with an increased appreciation of what it's like to be in a "popular" band, and a hunger to keep that, on their new self-titled album, which has a visceral kick that more closely approximates their recent live shows than anything in their discography.

"We have our history, and Neil and I have our history, which was 23 years ago, so there wasn't that intensity this time," says Goswell of the recording sessions. "We all just genuinely like each other and like being around each other, and they're like your family. Everybody's important and we are lucky that we all like each other and we're just enjoying it. I said that I'll do this as long as it's fun, because I'm a mother now, and we're all parents now, and I wouldn't do things I didn't find enjoyable at this stage. When you're younger you have more of an anxiety and fear of change. As you get older you give less of a fuck. You get more of a balance, generally. I'm enjoying my 40s much more than my 20s, honestly. Just happier and calmer. I try to not fret the small things. Having my seven-year-old son has helped a lot."

[Note: This article originally appeared in Under the Radar's Spring 2017 Issue (April/May/June 2017), which is out now. This is its debut online.]

 

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