Kevin Shields Discusses New MBV Album

Eight tracks down, fast working, drum & bass direction shocker!

Kevin Shields has spoken to the Quietus’ Taylor Parkes about the progress being made on the new My Bloody Valentine album, saying that those expecting it to take years might be confounded as he’s going to try and "bash out a record" which will sound very "raw"… with even a drum & bass influence to one track.

"We’re making it now, in fact it’s almost done," Shields said. "I’m on the eighth song, and I’ve got to do vocals for that, then I’ve got to record the ninth song from scratch. Then I’ve got to mix it. But that’s OK, because I’m not slow at mixing."

Shields went on to explain the reason why recording new music is more time consuming that mixing: "I made a living for a while as a mixer, because I can do that on time and on budget. A day and half each song – it’s hard to spend much longer than that, unless you don’t know what you’re doing. Whereas recording music is different, because you have the basic structure of the song, and in my mind the part that goes on top looks like this and moves like that, and when you go to do it, it doesn’t sound like that! And you go ‘mmm’. And then the next day I’m not in the right mood, and then three or four days later I don’t really feel like recording, and that’s why that takes time. And meanwhile that part’s still there waiting, and I’m saying ‘don’t worry, I’ll make sure I do you justice’ but it might take a week, or a month."

The legends written about the time it took to record Loveless have taken up many acres of book and newsprint, but this could be all change, as Shields explains. "I’m actually trying to move away from that way of working. I’m just going to try, as an experiment, to bash out a record for better or for worse. Do it quick enough to not allow my imagination to slow me down. Because if I achieve something that’s in my mind, it’s not necessarily better than something I do spontaneously – because then it can take on a life of its own, you don’t expect it, but you hear something that comes up by chance and think shit, that’s great. If you only allow yourself to do things the way you hear them in your mind, it won’t be worse than that – but it’s not necessarily better."

Shields also gave some indications as to what the third album might be like: "It’s not going to sound like Loveless where it’s like looking into another world," he said "More like Isn’t Anything, where it seems to be of this world, but with one foot in another world. The songs on Loveless had more in common with folk-blues music to me, just a verse and an instrumental passage, circular. The new songs are more… sometimes it’s just that, and sometimes it’s songs that have one verse, then a musical part, then something that’s totally different. More elongated… and more raw. A lot of the guitars are very aggressive."

Much has been made in the MBV mythology of drum & bass tracks that never saw light of day… until now. "There’s one drum & bass song, from that era when we were doing drum & bass music, which never came out," Shields reveals. "We were actually inventing a new sound – and this song doesn’t really represent it, but – we were doing slowed down drum & bass music around 1993, 1994. But it just came to nothing, mainly because we didn’t know how to do it. We didn’t realise that you use just a few good samples, then it’s about how you stretch them on the computer. We were trying to program it, work out every beat. We got some really good things, but the lesson we learnt was that without the element of spontaneity, without the element of chance we used to get from live playing, it doesn’t work for us. Just making music on the computer isn’t really what I’m into. But there’s one song that survived from that period, that approach. Like slowed down drum & bass. Except, um… it’s really fast."

You can read the entire interview with Shields here.

My Bloody Valentine’s reissues of Isn’t Anything, Loveless and EP’s 1988 – 1991 are out now.

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