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Baker's Dozen

A Document in Time: Neil Halstead Of Slowdive's Baker's Dozen
Joe Clay , May 3rd, 2017 10:11

With Slowdive reformed and about to release their fourth album (as well as playing Field Day and Roskilde), Neil Halstead tells Joe Clay about the gateway albums that influenced him the most. Photo by Ingrid Pop.


My Bloody Valentine – Isn't Anything
You could see the connection between The Byrds and My Bloody Valentine. I got into the Valentines when they were doing Strawberry Wine, really jangly. I saw them at the Bull & Gate in Kentish Town. Christian [Savill, Slowdive's guitarist] was doing a fanzine, he was obsessed with them. That was how we connected. The indie world in Reading was fairly small. There was this place called Washington Heights, or The Majestic, where they would do an indie disco every Sunday. You could find your people there. My Bloody Valentine went through this massive transformation when they left Cherry Red and went to Creation. 'You Made Me Realise' came out and it was insane. It was like someone had put a rocket up their arse. They'd gone all 'Eight Miles High', but with a jet engine attached. It was a mixture of Sonic Youth and The Byrds and I really loved it. That was when The Pumpkin Fairies became Slowdive. Christian joined during that period. Isn't Anything was a massive album for us. It blew everything else out of the water, apart from Daydream Nation [Sonic Youth] and The Pixies' Dolittle. They were the other big records for us.     For me, Isn't Anything is their defining moment. I know everyone loves Loveless – that's where they perfected their sound and made it seamless – but Isn't Anything is that weird moment when they were in uncharted waters and they didn't know where it was going. For us, it redefined what you could do with guitars and vocal harmonies. It was pop music, but in a really noisy and almost transcendent way.

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