Music History

Despite how it sounds, My Bloody Valentine's best music wasn't made with effects pedals

So the album that everybody's talking about this week (and for good reason) is mbv, the record that fans have been eagerly awaiting for at least two decades, since the release of Loveless, My Bloody Valentine's 1991 masterpiece. To give you an idea of just how eagerly awaited this follow-up was: As soon the band released the disc this past weekend, making it available for download on its website, the site unceremoniously crashed.

Once things got sorted out on the band's end, folks were eventually able to download the new album, and when they did, as expected, it was totally worth the wait. What greeted them was the classic My Bloody Valentine sound. When the act came to Denver in April 2009, Tom Murphy had the chance to speak with Kevin Shields specifically about the band's sound, and Shields noted how it was not actually created by effects pedals as many had wrongly assumed:

See also: - Best of Denver 2010: My Bloody Valentine at the Fillmore Auditorium - My Bloody Valentine's Loveless is twenty - My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields talks Loveless and the influence of bands like Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr.

"Pretty much, the only thing I used was reverse reverb," Shields noted. "The reason I loved it was because it allowed you to be expressive. If I play softer or harder, it's super-affected by how you play. Things like chorus and flanger and things like that are put on top of what you're playing; it's hard to interact with it. At the time, I hated it, and when all the bands that came out then were compared to us, I thought it was kind of a joke. Pretty much most of the things liked about us was what I hated. People would go, 'Oh, that's the band that plays with effects,' and 'They're a studio band' and so on. I hated all of that, actually. But that's the way it goes."

The rest of the interview proved to be rather insightful -- among other things, Shields goes into some detail about how he and his bandmates go about recreating their songs live -- as was Murphy's in depth look back at Loveless on the twentieth anniversary of its release in November 2011. If you're a fan of My Bloody Valentine (and, really, how could you not be), they're both totally worth checking out. So queue mbv up if you haven't already and have at it.

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Dave Herrera
Contact: Dave Herrera

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