Four years after the band reunited, shoegaze legend Slowdive is still drawing fans. Off the heels of a well-received 2017 self-titled album, the English five-piece is happy to navigate whatever it wants to do.
Whether it’s playing festivals in Europe or one-off dates in Texas, bassist Nick Chaplin appreciates how enthusiastic people are about his band. Fronted by the dreamy voices of Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell, along with guitarist Christian Savill and drummer Simon Scott, the band is seemingly bigger now than when it was together in the early ’90s.
“We found that especially in the United States, the new songs from the new record are received better than the old songs,” Chaplin says. “When you look at the audience, I’m struck by how many people are much younger than me. They’re people who probably didn’t see us the first time around. They’re maybe not that interested in what we did in 1992 and 1993. They’re actually more interested in the new songs, so I think that’s really healthy for the band in the future.”
The last time the band came to Dallas was with Ride at Trees in 1992. Both bands were touring off acclaimed albums (Just For A Day for Slowdive, Going Blank Again for Ride), but those albums’ statures grew exponentially in the years after the bands broke up.
“When you see how people are reacting to both bands being back together now, yeah, it sounds like one of those shows you wouldn’t have wanted to miss," Chaplin says. "But at the time, it was a really good tour. I remember certain shows being really amazing. ... At the same time, we played a lot of shows where nobody really showed up, and we played in some weird venues, like in a bowling alley in Omaha with nobody there.”
Given how many American bands were pushed in the early ’90s, it was easy for a band like Slowdive to get lost in the mix.
“I don’t think we really realized what was going on,” Chaplin says.
In Slowdive’s case, after its 1995 album, Pygmalion, went nowhere and most of the band left, Halstead and Goswell teamed up to form the gorgeous folk act Mojave 3. As incredible as Mojave 3’s albums and Halstead's solo albums were, people held out hope for a Slowdive reunion.
It took a while, but fans got their wish in 2014.
The band played Fortress Festival in Fort Worth last year and will play the Granada on Friday before heading down to Austin for the Levitation Festival.
“For a band like us, we have to fund ourselves in a lot of ways,” Chaplin says. “We get a certain amount of support from the record label, so it’s easy for us to go to the East Coast, West Coast, Chicago and all the obvious places. But you get all the fans down in Texas who are really passionate about music as well; they often get left out. We’re kind of conscious about that, so we were really keen to come back.”
Chaplin is happy the band is coming to North Texas because the band members have many ties here. Halstead has toured here on solo tours, Chaplin’s wife grew up in Denton and the band is friends with the members of Midlake.
“We have all that connection with it, so we’re looking forward to it,” Chaplin says.
One North Texas band Chaplin is not familiar with is the Dallas-based punk band Slowride.
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“It sounds like a [This Is] Spinal Tap reference,” he says with a laugh. “It sounds like a sign that would be held up at an airport with somebody to meet us who hasn’t got our name quite right. We get confused with Swervedriver a lot still.”
Slowdive is scheduled for more festivals in the U.S. and Europe for the rest of the year. There are no plans after that, but members aren’t thinking about ending the band again.
“I think we’ll probably have a bit of a pause,” Chaplin says. “We want to make more records and make more music. We’ll probably try and get some ideas together and see how we go towards the end of the year and into the new year.”
Slowdive and Holy Wave play Friday at the Granada Theater.