Neil Halstead Sheds Light on Slowdive's Future, Black Hearted Brother and Live Album Plans with Rachel Goswell
Published Oct 21, 2013In the summer of 2012, Neil Halstead, formerly of Slowdive, let it slip in an interview with MTV that he was considering reuniting his old shoegaze band. While some of the comments were reportedly "misquoted," Halstead gave hope to fans after quashing rumours about a reunion to Exclaim! back in 2008.
Exclaim! once again recently spoke to Halstead and brought up the possibility of Slowdive getting back together.
"We're still all friends who talk, and there have been some offers we've discussed," Halstead confirms. "Everyone is up for doing it. It's just a case of whether we would. The question is what is the point? Why would we do it? Because it's kind of an exercise of nostalgia?
"But it would be nice to play together again. That part of it is really cool: getting up with those guys again. We were at school together, so it's not just about music for us, it's also about friendship as well. I guess it's always in the cards. No one has said they wouldn't do it."
Even though Slowdive ended 19 years ago, and Halstead has moved on to Mojave 3, a solo career and his current project, newly minted psych-rock band Black Hearted Brother, he would be interested in revisiting his old band's material — a lot of which he's forgotten.
"I think I would definitely be interested in playing [Slowdive material]," he admits. "A lot of those songs are really special to me, but I'd obviously want it to sound good. I can't even remember the guitar tunings on most of those songs. I never play them. But it would undoubtedly be a real buzz to do them again. I just don't know. It's a weird thing doing reunions."
While fans wait, Halstead will on Tuesday (October 22) release Stars Are Our Home, a new album by Black Hearted Brother, featuring Seefeel's Mark Van Hoen and Coley Park's Nick Holton.
"This record was finished about two years ago and was done as a bit of fun," he explains. "To be honest, I don't think any of us knew how it would end up or sound like. I just started doing a few tracks with my friend Nick. We'd just have a few beers and end up making some music. At some point it became this little project, and we got Mark involved. It's always had its own life, and none of us really thought we'd make this type of record. The fact that it's not an intimate folk record is as much a surprise to me as it is to anyone, I suppose."
The band are unsure of what their plan is, as far as touring or even performing at all. Halstead says they're "just trying to figure that one out. We were just out in Woodstock, New York, trying to see how possible it would be to do it. I think we'd like to, it'd be a lot of fun. We're kind of in this weird situation where we're asking, 'Is there an audience? Will anyone come?' We're definitely deciding whether we can do it."
While Black Hearted Brother discuss performing, Halstead has announced two upcoming shows in London that will include former Slowdive/Mojave 3 bandmate Rachel Goswell. The shows at the Cecil Sharp House on October 23 and 24 will feature material spanning all of Halstead's career and, according to him, will hopefully see a release as a live album some time in the near future.
"Basically it's just a solo show [two shows back-to-back] I'll be playing with the guys from Band of Hope, who played on my last album [2012's Palindrome Hunches]," he says. "And I asked Rachel if she'd like to come sing some Mojave songs, and a few Slowdive songs as well, and she was quite keen, which is great. We've not sung together since at least 2006.
"The original idea was to record them because I want to do a live record, so I can catch how they've been sounding. I've been doing solo shows and shows with the band, so I wanted to combine them and have a record of it. And then I was talking to Rachel and mentioned the shows and asked her to sing. The recording will depend on what goes down on the night of the shows, but if we like it it will be a record."