It has been two years since English shoegaze band Slowdive released their magnificent fourth and self-titled album to critical acclaim and top sales, and five years since their triumphant return that began with the opening of a Twitter account and a website.
What was supposed to be a 20-date reunion tour has become a full-blown comeback with the band performing to sold out arenas and an international lovefest.
We spoke with Slowdive bassist Nick Chaplin who graciously took time off his break to talk to ABS-CBN News about what’s next for this band and how things have been for them.
Q: It has been a little over two years since the fourth album came out. You've toured heavily and promoted the album. What's next? Are you guys working on new material?
A: We are taking a little break at the moment. When we decided to reform the band at the end of 2013, the original intention was for maybe 10-12 shows over the summer of 2014. Although we always planned to try and make another record, we didn't know how we would be received or even if anyone would care. So, after nearly five years, and more success than we could have hoped for, we felt it was time to take a bit of a break. It's important for our families as well as we all have young children and it's been quite disruptive for them.
Q: How did you work with Dead Oceans (the indie label that released their fourth album)? They have put out some of the best albums of the past couple of years -- Slowdive, Japanese Breakfast, Mitski, etc. Will you work with them again?
A: The Secretly Group were always on our radar. When we made the record we were in the nice position of not actually needing a label at all. We could have put it out ourselves, and for a while it looked like that's what we'd do.
However, it's obviously easier with a label's help, so we had a list of people we'd like to work with, based on their rosters and reputations. It had to be a label that would improve the record's reach and do a better job than we could have done by ourselves.
Almost immediately we were impressed with Phil Waldorf and Dead Oceans. They were fans of the band and we seemed to fit right in musically.
Phil has been to a ton of shows and he's one of the good guys. So, we made the right choice I think. We went on the road with Japanese Breakfast in 2017, and I "think" (Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast will correct me if I'm wrong!) it was the first time they'd played in those kind of theaters. They were just starting on their upward curve and they were great to tour with. And since then we've played with Strand of Oaks and Kevin Morby, and I personally LOVE Shame. We did play a festival with them in Belgium and I was too much of a fan boy to say hello.
Q: In this comeback by the band, what has been the best story thus far at least for you -- whether it be the reception, fan interaction, or performance? And why?
A: There have been so many. Firstly, on a personal level - having Rachel (Goswell), Neil (Halstead), Christian (Savill), and Simon (Scott) back in my life (well Christian never really left!) has been amazing. I feel that I've gained a few best friends since 2014. For shows, a few moments -- Primavera Sound 2014 (the show we reformed for really), The Warfield (San Francisco) in 2014, two nights at The Forum in London in 2014, The Roundhouse in 2017, being flown around Singapore, New Zealand and Australia for the Laneways festivals, The Cure's 40th Anniversary in Hyde Park in 2018 and the Chicago Art Institute this February. Those were the standouts for me. Then I guess the reception for the new record in 2017, seeing the posters on the Tube in London, getting Star Roving on the new EA Sports FIFA game! Ha ha! I mean none of these things I could ever have imagined when we rehearsed for the first time in 2014. And last but not least, speaking to people who had waited so long to see the band play live, and who never thought they'd get the chance.
Q: You co-wrote two of the best tracks on the album - "Slomo" and "Sugar for the Pill." Can you describe the songwriting process with Neil and how it all came about? Lovely songs! Terrific job.
A: “Slomo” was really a band composition in that the song was all over the place and we had about 50 different versions. Everyone contributed different bits and we ended up with the version on the record -- so we just thought we'd split that one equally! “Sugar” was a bit different. It was originally a Neil Halstead "solo" song - a tune that he was writing for his acoustic/folk side. It originally had a totally different feel - but I went for what I thought at the time was a bit of an Interpol bassline for it which totally changed the song, and made it much more of an anthemic Slowdive track. I'm probably most pleased with that one plus “Star Roving” on the record in terms of the bass. Some of the bass on “Star Roving” is actually a Moog synth, but I play it all on the bass on stage.
Q: Any chance we will see Slowdive in Southeast Asia or the Philippines any time soon? Hope you guys come over. You have a lot of fans here.
A: I hope we will be back! We always love our time in Asia, once we get over the jet lag which always seems worse in that direction! I would think that once we get everyone back together and make a plan, we will start to think about when we can come back, maybe with a new record or at least some new songs.