Kevin Shields in 1992, as a member of the group My Bloody Valentine.
Cover for the soundtrack CD for the film Lost in Translation (Emperor Norton Records, 2003)
Irish guitarist and songwriter Kevin Shields and his group My Bloody Valentine made an indelible mark on alternative rock music in the early 1990s. The band inspired countless other rock bands with a dense, ethereal post-punk sound.
But My Bloody Valentine stopped recording in 1997, and Kevin Shields went into near-seclusion. He's only had a few side projects over the last several years with other bands, most notably for Primal Scream. He still plays and tours with that band.
Now Shields has re-emerged with several new songs — and one old one — on the soundtrack for Sofia Coppola's new film Lost in Translation.
Shields recently spoke with NPR's Alex Chadwick about what he's been up to since My Bloody Valentine stopped recording, and how he got involved in writing music for films.
Shields says he was eager to play live again with Primal Scream, after languishing in studios for years trying to complete an album with My Bloody Valentine.
For Lost in Translation, he was back into the studio again. "I met the music supervisor for Coppola's film," he tells Chadwick. "He asked if I'd like to be involved, said it wouldn't be too much work, just a few pieces of music.
"Sofia (Coppola)... kind of steered us more in the direction she was looking for," he says — and the results make up the bulk of the soundtrack.
Shields now has his own studio for doing his own kind of music — and he says he's looking for that "necessary, simple quality" that keeps music fresh.