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My Bloody Valentine Biography

Home > Music > M > My Bloody Valentine > Biography

Birth Place: Dublin, Ireland
Years Active: 1983–1997, 2007–present
Genres: Alternative Rock, Shoegazing, Dream Pop

My Bloody Valentine is an alternative rock band formed in Dublin, Ireland in 1983. Named after the 1981 horror film of the same name, the band's most successful lineup has consisted since 1987 of founding members Kevin Shields (guitar and vocals) and Colm Ó Cíosóig (drums) with the addition of singer-guitarist Bilinda Butcher and bassist Debbie Googe. As My Bloody Valentine's music evolved, their use of distortion, pitch bending, and digital reverb resulted in a sound that came to be known as shoegazing.

My Bloody Valentine released its debut mini album, “This Is Your Bloody Valentine,” in 1985 on Tycoon Records with its original line-up of Dave Conway on vocals, Kevin Shields on guitar and bass, Colm Ó Cíosóig on drums and Tina Durkin on keyboards. After the album failed to receive much attention, the band relocated to London. The band recruited bassist Debbie Googe after the album's release and this line-up released three further EPs: “Geek!” in 1985, “The New Record by My Bloody Valentine” in 1986 and “Sunny Sundae Smile” in 1987 on various independent labels.

Following Conway's departure, vocalist and guitarist Bilinda Butcher joined in 1987 and the band released one further EP, “Strawberry Wine,” and one mini album, “Ecstasy,” on Lazy Records before signing to Creation Records in 1988.

The band decided to record a single for the label and recorded five songs at a studio in Walthamstow in East London in less than a week. Issued in 1988 as the EP “You Made Me Realise,” the release was the band's first to be largely well-received by critics The group followed that year with the EP “Feed Me with Your Kiss” and the album “Isn't Anything.” Their debut studio LP, “Isn't Anything” reached #1 on the U.K. Indie chart. The band's multi-layered guitar sound became a major influence on a number of new bands who the British music press grouped together under the shoegazing label.

It ultimately took My Bloody Valentine two years to finish their second album, 1991’s “Loveless.” The high cost of production of the album was rumored to have nearly bankrupted Creation Records, claims which Shields has denied. “Loveless” debuted at #24 on the U.K. Albums chart, with its lead single, “Only Shallow,” reaching #27 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart. My Bloody Valentine was dropped from Creation Records soon after the album's release.

My Bloody Valentine signed with Island Records in October 1992 and spent their advance on constructing a studio in a house in Streatham. The studio was completed in April 1993, but problems with the studio and attempts to repair them sent the band into marked a series of complications that would plague the group. They ultimately recorded very little and were unable to finalize a third album. Shields isolated himself and, in his own words, went “crazy,” drawing comparisons in the music press to the behavior of musicians such as Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys and Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd. The other band members went their own ways during the period of inactivity following “Loveless.”

In 2007 Shields announced that the band had reunited and that a new album they had started recording after “Loveless” was nearly complete. The band went on to perform several concerts in 2008 and 2009. Sony Music Entertainment released remastered editions of “Isn't Anything” and “Loveless” as well as a compilation of their EP's, “EP's 1988-1991,” in May 2012.

Their third LP, the long awaited "MBV," was issued by the band on their website in February 2013. Featuring nine tracks, it included the lineup of Shields, Cíosóig, Butcher and Googe.