A quick Three Q's with Neil Halstead of Slowdive.
Plus, photos live at The Bellwether in Los Angeles 10/15/23 taken by Andy DeLuca and Sarah Eiseman for Synth History.
Synth History: What was your first piece of gear?
Neil Halstead: An FX 500 which I bought in maybe 1987. A friend from a band called Chapterhouse must have recommended it. It was a multi-FX unit that made some very cool guitar sounds. I don’t think you could find guitar pedals that had a reverb, so this was handy for ‘verbs, delays and choruses. I still have it somewhere in my studio.
Synth History: If you could recommend one album for someone to listen to at least once in their lifetime, what would it be and why?
Neil Halstead: Probably Spirit of Eden by Talk Talk, simply because it’s an amazing piece of music from start to finish.
Synth History: Can you recount one of your favorite memories from performing live?
Neil Halstead: Slowdive supported James in Canada in the 90s. The gig was outdoors on a round stage that revolved. It revolved painfully slowly. It was a very odd, but memorable experience. There was a fan, a James fan I assume, who would shake his head and give me the thumbs down on every revolution.
Slowdive's Everything Is Alive is out now via Dead Oceans. The band experimented with modular synths during the making of the album, it even opens with a synth (on one of my favorites, Shanty),
I sent two of my incredible photographer friends who are huge Slowdive fans to shoot this show. They're a couple. As you can see, they did an amazing job. Andy took the photos and Sarah specifically took the polaroids. I asked them to tell me about their experience and what Slowdive means to them.
Andy DeLuca & Sarah Eiseman: As a couple who both create visual and sonic art together, our world is largely based on both of our pasts, as well as the experiences we gather with one another. Amongst many other things, we are both avid fans of 80s / 90s shoegaze and dreampop and we both pull various elements from the genre into the work we do -- whether it’s deep saturations and blurs in our visual work that feel like waning, distorted guitar tones or obscure film and polaroids that are imperfect and not like anything else which then inspire our musical world. It’s all part of our creative core passions. We are always taking in from our environment and using that creatively and thoughtfully. Being able to photograph Slowdive together was a moment we didn’t anticipate we would be able to share. It’s one thing to be in a photo pit, shoulder to shoulder, creating with the person you love… but it’s another thing entirely for it to be for a band that you have shared countless hours listening, absorbing, dissecting, and having beautiful life moments to their music. We snapped photos for the first couple of songs, then proceeded to bliss out to the lush sounds of their massive heavenly tones while holding each other. An experience we will never forget.
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