- 21 Nov 19
31 years ago today, My Bloody Valentine released their classic debut album, Isn't Anything, via Creation Records. To celebrate, we're revisiting our 1989 interview with the shoegaze pioneers.
It's mid afternoon downtown and a semi-dried out spatter of last night's puke is being examined with great interest by a skinny dog on the corner of Avenue A and 6th. The East Village is one of the few live neighbourhoods in New York that resembles Rathmines on a Sunday morning - those multicoloured puddles, the broken glass and pizza rinds, that hangover-nursing quietness in the air, muted music booming from behind closed curtains. Except here it's about 80 degrees with 110 percent humidity, or at least that's what it feels like, and I'm trying to find a place I've lost the address of. "Isn't Anything" is blasting through my walkman, its manic force causing me to stride a lot faster than anybody should in this heat, yet at the same time its dazed evasiveness is just perfect for Sunday.
My Bloody Valentine, perpetrators of this amazing sound, are ensconced in a suitably sombre basement apartment just down the road. Over the last few days they've done many interviews and photo sessions. Many. Actually, this afternoon all they want to do really is take the Stattan Island Ferry. But there's one more to. Bilinda and Deb are writing postcards, Colm and Kevin are looking as MBVs are apparently supposed to: wrecked, tousled and quietly bored.
It's a contrast to Friday night at the China Club, where their crashing, lurching guitars transcended a lot of expectations, deafened many and startled more. The sound was woeful but the sheer adrenaline force made up for the absence of subtlety to a certain extent. Onstage they blend visually to an almost framable degree: on the right Kevin Shieldss, dark, static, with low-key vocals that contrast and complement the sound. Left: Bilinda Butcher, feline and flowing, soft voice blurring through and conquering trippy guitar haze and clashing chords with equal grace. Deb Googe swoops and dives into the bass, vying in mobility with Colm O Ciosoig who looks positively possessed: arms flailing in the white stage light like a deranged windmill.