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Bassist Debbie Googe on My Bloody Valentine: ‘We Were Essentially All Mental’

My Bloody Valentine Debbie Googe New Album

In early November, My Bloody Valentine mastermind Kevin Shields announced out of the blue that the band will at last release a full-length follow-up to their 1991 classic Loveless by the end of the year. At the time, he was “halfway through mixing” the album, of which Shields said, “Some people think it’s stranger than Loveless … I feel like it really frees us up, and in the bigger picture it’s 100 percent necessary.

A freshly published interview with MBV bassist Debbie Googe sheds more light on the band’s recent activities, although it’s unclear exactly when Drowned in Sound spoke to her (“earlier this year,” they write). Asked if she’d consider becoming a full-time member of Primal Scream, where she’s been moonlighting, Googe explained, “Kevin’s just finishing off the album and we’re already booking shows for next year.”

As previously reported, My Bloody Valentine have a handful of Japanese dates planned for February, plus ATP’s I’ll Be Your Mirror in Melbourne, Australia, and the Tokyo Rocks festival in May. They’ve also just added three March U.K. shows: Glasgow’s Barrowlands on March 9, Manchester’s Apollo on March 10, and London’s Hammersmith Apollo on March 12. Here are the highlights from Googe’s interview:

1) On playing their early stuff live: “I very much doubt [we will]. It’s kind of a process you have to go through to get somewhere else. As a band develops and makes more records it enables you a wider scope of material to cull from really. Some songs will get left behind, especially when you’ve only got half an hour to play or whatever. Unless you’re the Cure, of course, who just keep on playing for four hours!”

2) On not basking in MBV’s legend: “I guess it would be very easy for me to take some of the credit, but nearly all of it is down to Kevin. He’s very single-minded, and undoubtedly the reason My Bloody Valentine receive that kind of attention, so whenever I hear people talking about us I just say to myself, ‘No, actually they mean Kevin!’ And I feel very lucky to have been a part of it and [that I’m] still part of it.”

3) On fans discovering them belatedly: “It’s brilliant, yet also quite weird in a way that we became seminal for doing nothing. We never got that much press at the time. We never got many front covers. Loveless had the misfortune of coming out the same week as Nevermind, which meant we didn’t really get a lot of first-hand press, but we got loads afterwards as more and more bands cited us so we became seminal.”

4) On what the hell happened: “I left in 1997 and that was after five years of us not doing an album or anything else really for that matter. We were essentially all mental. We lived in a house together and had become incredibly unproductive. We’d built our own little world around us that wasn’t very healthy for any of us and one day I just thought to myself, ‘this isn’t going to happen anymore,’ and that’s when I left.”

5) On reuniting in 2007: “That first time we all got back in a room together was almost like being stuck in a toilet for a very long time! We all grew up together — Kevin and Colm [O’Ciosoig] have been and there’s something very comfortable about that. We all know which buttons to push. Sometimes we can get really irritated by each other yet there’s also a great understanding of one another, too.”

6) On the new album’s release: “It will definitely come out as it’s pretty much finished. I mean, it’s impossible to talk about time with Kevin, but in terms of percentage wise, he’s got one more track he wants to do then that’s it. Everything else is recorded.”

7) On the new album’s process: “Most of it is stuff Kevin has done, certainly guitar wise. It’s been a long process you know. The drums have been added then taken off at least once. His brother did them at one point, then Colm came in and redid them. There’s some things Kevin can’t do like the drums of Bilinda’s [Butcher] vocals but everything else he can, and I’m certainly happy for him to do that.”

8) On being labeled shoegaze: “We were staring at our pedals not at our shoes!”