Slint: We were pretty precocious

Categories: Q&A
Courtesy of the artist

Over four short days in August of 1990, Slint recorded their seminal work Spiderland. The album was released in 1991 to much critical acclaim, and since then has been widely credited as setting the precedent for post-rock music. Though Slint broke up shortly after Spiderland was released, its sprawling and poignant sound continued to gain notoriety after the sleeper hit "Good Morning Captain" was featured in the cult movie Kids.

Since their brief 2005 reunion, Slint have performed sporadically. This April, the band released a limited edition deluxe Spiderland box set on Touch & Go Records, and announced a handful of tour dates to support the reissue. Gimme Noise caught up with drummer and vocalist Britt Walford before their upcoming show in Minneapolis.

Courtesy of the artist
Slint, today

Gimme Noise: Can you tell us about your very first performance, which happened to be during a church service?

It was pretty funny. The bass player's parents went to Unitarian Church. It was a modern building in the suburbs, and it was great acoustically. You could easily hear a whisper across the room. It was a regular congregation of older people. Somehow we were scheduled to play and we were put on the program. We played one song during a little interlude, and then we played a second song when they passed the offering around.

I was 15. It was so loud that most people had to get up and leave. That was another funny thing about it.

When you were making Spiderland, did you have any idea of what it was going to become and what you were going to accomplish with it?

Actually, no. Not at all. We were just really in our own world. We had no thought of any kind of effort to be a big thing at all, it was just purely what we were into, and that's where our thinking stopped. We were excited that it came out on Touch & Go, but definitely for me at least that's where our thinking stopped.

What was the process of writing it like?

That was actually my favorite part of the band, because we would collaborate. The best part of that for me was we would always reach a consensus where it would be like, yeah, you're right, we should only play that three times there...or, we should only have the guitar on that part. When people kind of come to a conclusion that seems aesthetically correct.

Were there any particular events that you'd be willing to talk about that contributed to the content on the album?

I don't want to speak for Brian [McMahan], but it seemed like break-ups were a pretty big influence. We were pretty precocious and I think that at least he and I had pretty inappropriately serious relationships at a young age that kind of crashed, and in his instance around the recording of that, and it affected it, I'd say.

From my perspective, that was a big deal for him as far as that record. For me, I remember actually kind of being away from my parents and thinking about them a lot. It made me think about bigger things. We had basically all gone off to college and leaving home made me think about my dad a lot.

Was it tough being away from your parents, or were you more affected by seeing yourself growing up?

It was probably the separation. It wasn't really tough, but it just made me think about...I guess it seems like a lot of people want to save their parents, or make contact

Why was there such a gap between Spiderland and your EP?

We did break up right after we recorded Spiderland. I don't really know why the EP came out, I think in '94... It could have just been Touch & Go saying, hey, this stuff is awesome, why don't we put it out?

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