Slowdive are an English rock band that formed in Reading, Berkshire in 1989. The band consists of Rachel Goswell on vocals and guitar, Simon Scott on drums, Neil Halstead on vocals and guitar, Nick Chaplin on bass and Christian Savill on guitar. Several other drummers also briefly played with the band, including Adrian Sell, Neil Carter and Ian McCutcheon. Halstead is the band’s primary songwriter.
Goswell and Halstead had known each other since early childhood in Reading, Berkshire. Scott left in 1994 and when Savill and Chaplin left the band soon after the release of Pygmalion, the remaining members renamed the band Mojave 3. Slowdive reunited in 2014.
Their sound has been described as dream pop, shoegazing, indie rock and ambient.
Formation and early EPs: 1989–1991
Slowdive were formed in Reading, England by Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell in October 1989. The two sang and played guitar, and had been friends since they were 6 years old. At a Sunday youth group, they began making music in an indie pop band called the Pumpkin Fairies, with bassist Mike Cottle and drummer Adrian Sell. When the Fairies disbanded, Slowdive formed, also including drummer Adrian Sell and Sell’s friend, bassist Nick Chaplin. A third guitarist named Christian Savill, previously of the band Eternal, joined when he became the only person to answer an advert from the band. The ad called for a female guitarist, but Savill wanted to join so badly he offered to wear a dress. He was subsequently recruited. The name „Slowdive” was inspired by two events: a dream Chaplin experienced, and a conversation he had with Goswell, who suggested „Slowdive”, the name of a single by one of her favourite bands, Siouxsie and the Banshees.
The band quickly recorded a demo and several months later played a show with the band Five Thirty. Steve Walters, head of A&R at EMI, had attended the show. Afterward, he approached Savill and requested one of their demos. Slowdive signed to Creation Records shortly after. The average age of the band was 19 at the time.
Sell felt things were progressing too fast and left for university after being in the band for about six months.
A self-titled EP was released in November 1990 and received praise from music critics. Slowdive was actually their original demo; the band had preferred the older recordings after feeling disillusioned with their studio craft. In a glowing recommendation, NME staff member Simon Williams wrote „Slowdive have banished the barrier restricting creativity… When they really relax, Slowdive can make Cocteau Twins sound like Mudhoney”. Melody Maker awarded the EP its „Single of the Week” award, an accolade the band’s next two EPs received.
Drummer Neil Carter joined on loan from fellow Reading band the Colour Mary in time to play on the Morningrise EP, but left prior to its release in February 1991. Simon Scott took over on drums after his previous group, an alternative rock band called the Charlottes, broke up.
The Holding Our Breath EP followed in June 1991, reaching No. 52 in the UK Albums Chart, while the single „Catch the Breeze” topped the UK Indie Chart.