📷 | Slow Crush by Sven Brauer | @nicobra.photoart
Amongst the new wave of shoegaze Slow Crush are a band that hold our focus. Since their debut shows in Belgium circa 2017. The ambient-rock, indie-punk, darkwavers have sustainably wowed audiences worldwide. With their enigmatic, raw and unrelenting schedule of psychedelic gigs. The band wooed fans and developed a wider rapport upon release of LP ‘Aurora’. 2018 ‘s debut album creating demand for second and third vinyl pressings.
The same is true of 2019 follow up ‘Ease’. A true extended player and notable standalone release. The deluxe edition of the EP features tracks captured during their Part Time Punks set. The facemelting showcase locking in bookings across the planet. Now, after almost two years of solid touring. Both their own headline tours and in support of Soft Kill, Holy Fawn, Torche, Gouge Away and Pelican (to name a few). The band re-materialize in 2020. Where promoters, venues, independent press, labels, bands and fans alike. All face stark realities amidst contemporary social, economic, environmental and technological change.
Amidst the new wave of Corona related cancellations and event shutdowns. The prospect of a summer of self incarceration and social distancing may weigh heavy on the head. The same can be said for the off stage side of show business. Seeing other worlds in isolation, framed through tour van pane. Its in tough times of seclusion and separation like these. That the importance of community and culture are highlighted as the fabric that binds together.
We caught up with Slow Crush for a behind the spangle and clatter natter. About their new single, life on the road, the return home and the state of the nation, global that is.
BMF | Slow Crush You’re back from extensively touring your debut LP and EP. Your new AA side ‘Reel/Pale Skin’ available for preorder now. So lets start there. You’re going to be donating some of the revenue from single sales away?
SC [Isa] With this 7” we wanted to give something back and have chosen to donate part of the proceeds to a few local charities that support the less fortunate and their fight against poverty. “We headed into the studio in between tours with the intention of preparing for recording our second LP. Releasing these tracks wasn’t our main goal, but we were so happy with the result that we didn’t want to hold off sharing them with the public.
The drums were recorded by Jens Wauters at Larsson Studio (who also did the final mastering). We paid more attention to vocal melodies and harmonies with ‘Reel’ and ‘Pale Skin’, bringing the vocals a bit more to the front. The guitars, still heavy and layered for days, have been given more space than on ‘Aurora’.
The lyrics on both tracks share the pain of withdrawal, the trials and tribulations we face when coming to terms with the need for change in order to step away from addictions, habits or behaviours that cause us harm. Whether it be something as plainly obvious as the need to recover from alcohol or substance abuse or a habit that appears so socially accepted that you may not even realise it is taking control and limiting your potential. What I think I’m trying to say is, be kind to yourself and look out for one another.
BMF | So Slow Crush are looking out for others by donating proceeds from the single to charities who do the same
SC [Isa] Indeed, The first charity is DoucheFLUX who seek to restore people’s energy, dignity and self-esteem, so that they can start rebuilding their own future by escaping homelessness or avoiding a return to it. The second, BruZelle, helps collect and distribute sanitary towels as well as raising awareness, communicating and educating about menstrual poverty – having to make the choice between general basic necessities, to survive, over menstrual protection.
BMF | The wall of sound that is the bands trademark, the design of cover art and stylisation of merch, themes within lyrics and releases. Is that an intended artistic direction or a natural outcome your creative collaboration as a band?
SC [George] We feel like this artistic direction was definitely a natural outcome that we have expanded upon and developed with each subsequent release/tour/addition to our band. Carefully considering how each new element would both enhance and fit in with our existing material. The initial inspiration for this came from 80’s synthpop Jelle was listening to, he really wanted to incorporate its gloomy yet colourful elements. After this primary concept had been established it steadily snowballed into what you see and hear today.
BMF | There’s such an appetite from fans for your music. To see you perform live and to have your tunes on physical media. Would you agree that this, in our digital age, is attributable to your accessibility as a band?
SC [George] Yes we strongly believe in the importance of bands maintaining a human connection in today’s digital world. It is really wonderful to be able to interact with people who have immersed themselves in your work. I think it is very important to be approachable and maintain a good rapport with fans. We are just like our fan base, music fans with a passion for live performance and dreamy tones. We love hearing our fans own interpretations and thoughts about our music. Sometimes a fan will say something that none of us may not have even previously considered which is really cool as it can slightly alter your own perception of your music.
I feel this goes hand in hand with the fact that a fair number of our fans consume and experience our music on vinyl. Hearing an album as a whole from beginning to end is a much more personal experience as opposed to listening to a fragmented collection of songs in a playlist type setup.
BMF | I do see Slow Crush as a form of psychedelic art. For me ‘Psychedelia’ is a fluidic cultural movement, broad in scope, deeply rooted in the experiential, open to embrace diverse and contrasting stimuli from wide and varied social, philosophical and artistic sources. I referred earlier to Slow Crush as part of the new wave of Shoegaze. I feel that the Shoegaze scene of the late 80s to mid 90’s, was a response to changing social structures. The development of a new world order, civil disturbance, global geopolitical unrest and of course, poverty.
The 90’s indie/dance scene and its sound encompassed that true sense of psychedelia. It provided space to ease the pace, contemplate and embrace alternative opportunity as much as it did to express disquiet, roar protest and purge negativity. New and resurgent forms of musical genre, are often notable as having formed by way of engagement|disengagement with and as a response to contemporary cultural influences. Is that something that runs through the centre of Slow Crush’s creative compostion?
SC [George] The issues/circumstances that shoegaze emerged from have never truly disappeared. Although they may have different forms today the issues that inspired bands back then are just as relevant today which is why I think the genre remains healthy in today’s musical climate. Music as opposed to other forms of entertainment/media is such an important escape for many people, people like to invest themselves in something and I think that’s why a genre such as shoegaze is so inviting.
Its experimental nature as well as the wide variety of textures and timbres provides a unique soundscape for the listener to get lost in. The downer nature/outlook of the music also inspires a sort of melancholic appreciation that can serve as a distraction from the sometimes brutal and futile nature of our world.
As music can be a very solitary experience sometimes, concerts also serve an important purpose, they offer a chance for people to interact and share their love of music with others who feel the same way about the situations we find ourselves in. Live experiences are something that I find to be so important in modern life, to put our digital life aside for an hour or two and celebrate life with people we have never met before.
Slow Crush announce new single ‘Reel/Pale Skin’ out on super exclusive 7” soon. Released on April 3rd, this one time pressing, limited to 1000 copies, is up for preorders NOW. Three variants are available, Mr Sky Blue @Deathwishinc exclusive, Black @HolyRoarRecords and Eco on general sale through all good indie shops.
The hard hitting promo vid (which we will bring you) for ‘Reel/Pale’ Skin streams on April 3rd too. A collaborative endeavour with visual artist Bobby Pook. You can find out more about the band, collaborations, live shows, charities and independent labels through the links below.