Today we have the pleasure of premiering the new single ‘Berlin’ from San Francisco-NYC based collective Slowness, no stranger to die-hard fans of the shoegaze, dreampop and slowcore genres. Their new material brings them more into stoner psych and space rock territory, awesomely geared towards lovers of such bands as Low, Slowdive, Galaxie 500, Flying Saucer Attack, and Spiritualized.
‘Berlin’ is the second single to be released from Slowness’ long-awaited ‘Berths’ album, for which the band just launched an Indiegogo campaign. This will help them fund the cost of pressing the vinyl and CDs for this release, which will be distributed via Schoolkids Records. You can pre-order the album in any format, as well as various swag and even get the band to play for you at home or at your venue. Check it out at http://bit.ly/Slowness_PreOrder
This record was produced by Monte Vallier (Weekend, The Soft Moon, Wax Idols). Side A was engineered by Dave Voigt (Luna, John Cale, Yo La Tengo, Alex Chilton) at his Beyond Notes studio in Brooklyn. Side B was done with Vallier at Ruminator Audio in San Francisco.
Formed in 2008 in San Francisco, Julie Lynn and Geoffrey Scott have since been joined by drummer Christy Davis, with a 30-year background with various NYC artists, including Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz, downtown avant garde artist Rebecca Moore, and political activist Reverend Billy.
We had a few questions for the band about their single ‘Berlin’.
The Record Stache: How did the idea for this song initially come about?
Geoffrey: We toured Europe for the “Mountain” record in 2014. While there, we played most of our shows in Germany. People were wonderfully hospitable and kind. And we travelled through Eastern Europe playing shows all the way up to Poland. We all had ancestry rooted in the land we travelled through, and had been there before, but traveling by van and playing music provided a whole different experience.
Julie: The whole landscape between the two countries felt visceral, knowing what happened in that territory and seeing the untouched beauty of Poznan and Regensberg compared to the post-bombshell rebuilds of Warsaw and Koln. In Berlin, we went to the Holocaust Memorial and it all felt so real and recent.
The Record Stache: What happened when you returned home? Is that where you wrote it?
Geoffrey: When we returned to New York, we wrote it immediately. It’s the only song on the album that was written in one fell swoop and didn’t really change from its conception. Despite the title and some of the lyrics, it wasn’t written about Germany in the 30s, but about our own country just before our current president got elected.
Julie: The stark contrast between the warmth and collectivism we felt in Europe and the individualistic and aggressive elements we felt upon returning to the USA made it feel as if our nation were spiraling into crisis, and that the fabric of our own society was becoming seriously threatened.
The Record Stache: Did you really feel a remarkable difference between there and here?
Geoffrey: It made us realize how over time we as a people have become less hospitable, and seem to move with less gentleness and grace. Coming back to America felt like we were being thrown back into into a dog-eat-dog world where someone will give your shoe a flat tire just for walking a little too slowly down the Avenue of the Americas. In fact we were, as this literally happened to me the day after we got home.
Julie: We felt an irony in how our country, and what many consider the greatest city in the world, seemed to be dangerously playing with values that sent Europe up in smoke. And, yet, in the heart of Berlin we found gentleness, awareness, and egalitarianism expressed in small and large ways everywhere we went.
As of Wednesday, May 1, ‘Berlin’ will be available across online stores like iTunes and streaming platforms like Spotify. The full ‘Berths’ album will be released on June 7. The band will be kicking it off in style with the three following separate release shows:
June 7 San Diego – The Whistle Stop (8:30 pm) with SteilaCoom, Battery Point and Fawns of Love
June 8 Los Angeles – Hotel Cafe (10pm) with SteilaCoom and Fawns of Love
June 12 San Francisco – The Make-out Room (6:45pm) with Fawns of Love, SteilaCoom and Forest Bees
1. The Fall
5. Sand & Stone
Also check out ‘Rose’, the first single from this album: