In Interview: Slow Crush
Shoegaze-quartet Slow Crush meld ethereal melodies with a heavy-leaning undercurrent. Returning to ArcTanGent festival for the second time, lead vocalist Isa Holliday sits down to discuss touring, the Belgian scene and her favourite art recommendations.
How's your ArcTanGent festival been so far?
We just arrived like 20 minutes before interviews started, so it's been busy! We left Belgium yesterday and drove until 1am to get to accommodation and then we had another two hour drive to get here. Usually we go through the tunnel, but it was just bloody expensive this time so we had to take a ferry. But that was also an experience.
What do you like about this as a festival?
I like that it's not wet this time. It's pretty cool, it's huge and I love how this and 2000Trees work together. Just the vibe is really really cool, we could do with these kinds of festivals in Belgium.
If your music was to soundtrack a movie, what film would best suit you?
I guess something like Twin Peaks. David Lynch. I know in the last Twin Peaks season they had Chromatics on. I think our sort of dreamy vibes that are a bit of a mindfuck kind of match well with his sort of directing and producing style. So I think our music would definitely work with something like that.
What's different about shows in the UK vs gigs in Belgium?
I guess the style of music that we play originated from the UK and I think that people understand it a bit more. In Belgium, I have the feeling that people tend to listen to more mainstream music. The musical tastes are sort of dictated by whatever's playing on the biggest alternative radio, which actually isn't very alternative anymore — which is a bit of a shame. There are a load of independent gigs out there, but I think Belgium is just a bit spoilt for music really, as there's so much going on. It's a small country, so the people are spread and divided more.
What's the local scene like?
It's pretty much every band for themselves. I think the music industry is a bit who-knows-who. Especially in Belgium. The festivals tend to programme whatever is in the Live Nation bucket, and it seems to be... like how vending machines can only sell Coca Cola or Pepsi, but they can't sell them both. So unfortunately, that is the way of the world at the moment, but as Slow Crush, we've grown our fanbase pretty much organically so I think that makes us different from perhaps what gets programmed on the big festivals in Belgium. I think that's almost better, because you know your listeners are really interested and they are listeners that are music lovers, as opposed to part-time friends.
What's your favourite song you've ever released and why?
Oh that's really hard! It's hard to choose. I really love Lull, that's from the latest album, and I love Hush as well. It flows through so many different moods and it can really take you along a journey in one song, but yeah, a whole album obviously takes you on a longer journey.
As a band, what do you think is the biggest challenge you've faced?
The channel crossing probably! And I think it's all the administrative work that I think a lot of people forget. There's a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes for a band... there are a lot of hoops that you have to go through to be able to play in some countries, like coming back over to the UK has become a little bit harder since Brexit and going over to the US is difficult. I think those are challenges that you have to sort of keep your mind open for when you want to play in a band and play everywhere.
Three recommendations — a book, a film, an album
Book: 'Eating Animals' — that's one from a while ago, it's by Jonathan Safran Foer and he actually wrote it for his son to give his son a wide perspective on the meat industry to allow his son to make the choice of whether he wanted to become vegetarian or continue to eat meat. I don't know if he brought his son up vegetarian or not, but anyway, it was an informative view on how meat is produced. It's just really really well written and informative.
Film: 'Mallrats' — It's a classic, it's one that I've watched way too many times. A Kevin Smith movie.
Album: 'Death Spells by Holy Fawn'
What's next for you?
We're playing ArcTanGent obviously, and then we have to drive home unfortunately tomorrow because we've got another festival Pukkelpop on Sunday in Belgium, and then we've got a little bit of time off before heading to the US for a short tour and then coming back, sleeping two nights in a row in bed, and then heading off on tour with Deafheaven through Europe. Then we're going to hibernate for the whole winter.
Find tickets to see Slow Crush live here.