Neil has kindly taken time out from new album preparations to answer some of the questions you posed.
The new album
Ed: Your new album ‘Palindrome Hunches’ is coming out in August, is that still the plan?
Neil: Album is out september 12th
How would you describe it (compared to Oh Mighty Engine, for example)? How long have you been working on it? (from ‘Fy’)
I would say it’s a less whimsical record than OME. I think palindrome is much darker, it’s folky but the instrumentation with violin, piano and double bass open the sound up. I worked on the songs in different forms for a long time, i kinda couldn’t find a way to record it that i liked for quite a while
Where did you record it, and what was the process – did you have any guest players etc?
in the end it was recorded at the Firtree primary school in Wallingford UK…we sneaked in and used their music room one weekend and pretty much recorded the whole record live. My friend Nick Holton (Holton’s opulent oog, Coley Park) had moved there recently and he hooked me up with some great musicians from a local band there “The Band of Hope”. Nick produced the record and it worked out really well, we just took a tape machine and a desk in and played the songs. they clicked in a way that hadn’t happened when i’d recorded them down here in Cornwall.
Do you plan on releasing any additional material & exclusive tracks along with it? (from Mark)
i know there is a lmt 7″ thats gonna be free with the album for sure , and i think theres an extra trk on the itunes version..
Looking forward to getting a confirmed track listing – hopefully songs such as ‘Wittgenstein’s Arm’ will be there. Will you include song lyrics with the new release? (from Mark)
lyrics are with the artwork. Really happy with the way it looks, it’s come together really nicely
Any chance of getting vinyl releases for both the new releases and old? In particular re-issues of M3 albums? (from Fy, Seth & Mark)
Well i know this record will have a vinyl release. I’m not sure if 4AD will reissue the m3 vinyl, pretty sure they all came out on vinyl originally.
I assume you’ll tour the album. Do you plan to go it alone, or will you have a few musicians with you?
i’m playing it by ear at this point. i know i’ll have a band for the london show, and i hope ill be able to take some musicians for the other shows but we’re still booking the tour. Will have dates and more info very soon.
Naturally, everyone is looking for you to come their way – me included. Any idea yet of the scope of the tour? Don’t forget to call in at France (Fy), Dallas (Raymond), San Francisco (Richard), Sweden (Johan)
again, still waiting on all the dates to come thru but i hope ill get to play all those places..
DJWlaan also recommends “Have you ever been to Endless Summer Lodge, Ahipara, New-Zealand (http://endlesssummer.co.nz)? If there is a place in the world to surf, relax, enjoy, whatever, that’s the place to be”
I never been to New Zealand. It’s somewhere i would love to visit. i guess for me i’m always drawn back to Sri-Lanka. it has good surf, particuarly the East coast around Arugam bay , the people are beautiful, warm ,friendly and just super nice. it’s a fantastic country and i find myself missing it in a way thats almost like an addiction.
What inspired the song “40 Days”? It’s such a mysterious piece of art. Also Melon Yellow (if the meaning behind the songs aren’t too personal). (from Raymond)
Melon yellow was inspired by the sound of a song being played backwards! 40days is about missing someone…sometimes you count the days back you know…:-)
Some of your lyrics are good, most of them are magical: how do you start writing or, more specifically, what do you start out with? A sentence or combination of words, a certain feeling, a tune, or..? (from DJWLaan)
when i write i usually start with the music, ill play gtr, usually gtr , but sometimes a piano and i’ll play until something starts to take shape. they’ll usually be a point where a melody will take hold. sometimes the lyrics will come quick but other times a song will evolve over a long time period and eventually i’ll be like ‘oh…now i know what it’s about’ .
Comparing Slowdive to Mojave 3 to your solo-albumns, can be seen quite a wide spectrum of music-styles. I, for one, love your ‘later’ works, but Slowdive can’t interest me at all. How do you look back on this/these totally different kind(s) of music you performed? (from DJWLaan)
i suppose i look back and see how my interest in music has evolved you know. As a musician you obviously inspired by the music you listen to and hold dear and for me the changes in styles in music from slowdive thru mojave and the solo records , reflects that interest in different music. As a kid my favourite bands were sonic youth, the jesus and marychain, the velvets, the byrds, my bloody valentine, dinosaur junior, the coucteau twins. but then there was a point where i was super interested in ambient music and experimental stuff, brian eno, can, stockhausen, aphex twin, reload..Pymalion came out of that period. Discovering folk and country music led me into wanting to write songs and Mojave 3.
I tend to think it’s all valid and nothing is definitive . change is good we have to move forward
A more personal question: what’s your typical day (what you do usually)? Is music your only financial resource? (from Fy)
i dont know if i have a typical day, some days i’ll be with my kids and we’ll go to the beach or the park. other days i’ll be working in the studio. either doing my own stuff or helping out a local band or a friend. sometimes i surf and sometimes i’m touring othertimes ill be doing emails and all the other nonsense. When i’m home i try and spend as much time with the family as i can, see friends . i’ve been pretty lucky to make a living doing what i do but occasionally i’ll do alittle part -time if i have a friend who can throw me some work.
Another question that everyone has… what’s the latest with Mojave 3? Any chance for a new album soon – or are you all too busy with your solo works? (from Fy, Vicente, Rodrigo)
well Mojave is still there, we’re doing some shows in China in august! should be fun! whether we’ll do another record , i really don’t know. we always talk about it but getting everyone into the studio just hasn’t happened. Everyone is busy, we all have commitments of one kind or another. i’m always keen and open to do a record though. i fact i’m probably less busy than the other guys so it’s probably easier for me.
Is there any chance the “I’m the elephant, you’re the mouse” OST gets an official release one day ? (from Fy)
maybe…i dont even know who owns that stuff….
What’s your opinion on chillwave bands such as Washed Out and Small Black? Their sound resembles the sounds of the Slowdive demos. (from Tim)
i like washedout…i didnt really get the slowdive connection really but i like what they do for sure
And last, but not least, Micah asks “Do you ever think you and Rachel might find interest in creating new music in the shoegaze genre? I discovered Slowdive in the mid 2000?s when I went looking for the original ‘Some Velvet Morning’ song and came across your amazing cover from Souvlaki — and I haven’t been able to stop playing all of your old albums on a regular basis since then. I am just as enamored with the gentler sound of Mojave 3; but any chance you’ll do something like Slowdive again, even if not under that name?
not sure bout each…she’s not mentioned it…, i’ve been working on a project called BHB (Black with NIck Holton and Mark Van Hoen. I would say there is a little “shoe gaze” action going on there. First EP is out on Sonic Cathedral january 2013 but we have a whole triple album waiting to go…
… that’s all folks. Thanks for the questions – hopefully we can do this again soon