Rachel Goswell

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Rachel Goswell
2014 WGT 281 Slowdive.jpg
Goswell performing with Slowdive, 2014
Background information
Birth nameRachel Ann Goswell
Born (1971-05-16) 16 May 1971 (age 47)
Fareham, England
  • Musician
  • singer-songwriter
Years active1988–present
Associated acts

Rachel Ann Goswell (born 16 May 1971) [1] is an English singer-songwriter and musician who rose to prominence as vocalist and guitarist of the shoegaze band Slowdive, which formed in 1989. Goswell, along with Neil Halstead, Ian McCutcheon and former Chapterhouse member Simon Rowe became Mojave 3 when Slowdive transitioned to a more country/folk rock style. [2] She released a solo album in 2004, titled Waves Are Universal on 4AD Records.

Shoegazing is a subgenre of indie and alternative rock that emerged in the United Kingdom in the late 1980s. It is characterized by its ethereal-sounding mixture of obscured vocals, guitar distortion and effects, feedback, and overwhelming volume. The term "shoegazing" was coined by the British music press to describe the stage presence of a wave of neo-psychedelic groups who stood still during live performances in a detached, introspective, non-confrontational state with their heads down. This was because the heavy use of effects pedals meant the performers were often looking down at the readouts on their effects pedals during concerts.

Slowdive band

Slowdive are an English rock band that formed in Reading, Berkshire in 1989. The band consists of Rachel Goswell on vocals and guitar, Simon Scott on drums, Neil Halstead on vocals and guitar, Nick Chaplin on bass and Christian Savill on guitar. Several other drummers also briefly played with the band, including Adrian Sell, Neil Carter and Ian McCutcheon. Halstead is the band's primary songwriter.

Neil Halstead British musician

Neil Halstead is an English musician who sings and plays guitar in shoegazing band Slowdive. He has been hailed by AllMusic as “one of Britain's most respected songwriters", and Time Out as "one of Britain's greatest songwriters".


Early life

Goswell was born in Fareham, England. Her family relocated to Wales after her birth, and later to Reading, Berkshire when she was seven, where she spent the remainder of her youth. [3] She is the second of two children, with one older brother. [3]

Fareham town in Hampshire, England

Fareham is a market town at the north-west tip of Portsmouth Harbour, between the cities of Portsmouth and Southampton in south east Hampshire, England. It gives its name to the Borough of Fareham. It was historically an important manufacturer of bricks, used to build the Royal Albert Hall, and grower of strawberries and other seasonal fruits. Current employers include Fareham Shopping Centre, small-scale manufacturers, HMS Collingwood and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory.

Wales Country in northwest Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area of 20,779 km2 (8,023 sq mi). Wales has over 1,680 miles (2,700 km) of coastline and is largely mountainous, with its higher peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon, its highest summit. The country lies within the north temperate zone and has a changeable, maritime climate.

Reading, Berkshire Place in England

Reading is a large minster town in Berkshire, England, of which it is now the county town. It is in the Thames Valley at the confluence of the River Thames and River Kennet, and on both the Great Western Main Line railway and the M4 motorway. Reading is 70 miles (110 km) east of Bristol, 24 miles (39 km) south of Oxford, 40 miles (64 km) west of London, 14 miles (23 km) north of Basingstoke, 12 miles (19 km) south-west of Maidenhead and 15 miles (24 km) east of Newbury as the crow flies.

Her father taught her folk guitar songs beginning at age seven, and she began studying classical guitar and music theory at age ten. [3] Goswell took classical guitar lessons along with childhood friend Neil Halstead, with whom she formed Slowdive in 1989. [4] Regarding her musical influences, she stated :"For me personally, from a singing point of view, I was inspired by Siouxsie Sioux", [5] "it was [her] who made me want to be a singer." [6] Joni Mitchell, Iggy Pop and Nick Cave were her other favourite musicians. [7]

Classical guitar acoustic wooden guitar with wide neck, strings made of nylon

The classical guitar is a member of the guitar family used in classical music. An acoustic wooden string instrument with strings made of gut or nylon, it is a precursor of the acoustic and electric guitars which use metal strings. The name guitar comes from Persian language, in which Tar means string. Tar is also the name of an Iranian instrument that could be the primary form of guitar. Classical guitars are derived from the Spanish vihuela and gittern in the fifteenth and sixteenth century, which later evolved into the seventeenth and eighteenth century Baroque guitar and later the modern classical guitar in the mid nineteenth century.

Siouxsie Sioux English singer, songwriter, musician and producer; leader of the Banshees

Susan Janet Ballion, known professionally as Siouxsie Sioux, is an English singer, songwriter, musician and producer. She is best known as the lead singer of the alternative rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees (1976–1996) and the drums-and-voice duo the Creatures (1981–2005). Siouxsie and the Banshees released 11 studio albums and had several UK Top 20 singles including "Hong Kong Garden", "Happy House", "Peek-a-Boo", plus a US Billboard Top 25 hit "Kiss Them for Me". With the Creatures, Siouxsie recorded four studio albums and the hit single "Right Now". She has also sung with artists such as Morrissey and John Cale. After disbanding the Creatures in the mid-2000s, she has continued as a solo artist, using the name Siouxsie, and released Mantaray in 2007.

Joni Mitchell Canadian musician

Roberta Joan "Joni" Mitchell, is a Canadian singer-songwriter. Drawing from folk, pop, rock, and jazz, Mitchell's songs often reflect social and environmental ideals as well as her feelings about romance, confusion, disillusionment, and joy. She has received many accolades, including nine Grammy Awards and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. Rolling Stone called her "one of the greatest songwriters ever", and AllMusic has stated, "When the dust settles, Joni Mitchell may stand as the most important and influential female recording artist of the late 20th century".


Rachel Goswell with Slowdive at the Fox Theater in Oakland, California 2017. Photo: Aaron Rubin Slowdive Fox Theater 1.jpg
Rachel Goswell with Slowdive at the Fox Theater in Oakland, California 2017. Photo: Aaron Rubin

Goswell formed the indie rock band The Pumpkin Fairies with Neil Halstead, Adrien Sell and Nick Chaplin in 1988, after having played in several cover bands in Reading. [8] When The Pumpkin Fairies dissolved in 1989, the foursome then formed Slowdive in the same year. [9] She was a member in Slowdive until the band's dissolution in 1995. After the disbandment, Goswell and Halstead formed Mojave 3, an offshoot of Slowdive; the group captured a more folk rock-oriented sound as opposed to Slowdive's shoegaze sound. They released five albums, their last being Puzzles Like You in 2006, before going on a hiatus. [10]

Mojave 3 band

Mojave 3 were a British rock supergroup consisting of Neil Halstead, Rachel Goswell, Simon Rowe, Alan Forrester, and Ian McCutcheon. Goswell, Halstead and McCutcheon previously played in Thames Valley shoegazing band Slowdive.

<i>Puzzles Like You</i> 2006 studio album by Mojave 3

Puzzles Like You is the fifth and final studio album by the British country rock-folk group Mojave 3, released on 19 June 2006. The album was regarded as taking the band away from their old sound and leading into a more uptempo style. It was released to fair reviews, averaging a 69 on Metacritic.

The year 2004 saw Goswell release solo recordings with co-writer Joe Light and producer David Naughton. Nine months after Mojave 3 released Spoon and Rafter , she released The Sleep Shelter EP. Waves Are Universal, her first full-length recording, appeared a month later. [11] Tiny Mix Tapes described the record as "delicate and well-thought out" despite occasionally veering towards "the frankly repulsive world of adult contemporary" while Pitchfork Media thought the album was "warm [and] summery ... agreeable, if not very exciting". [12] [13] Stylus Magazine stated that Waves Are Universal is "a solid album that could appeal to both fans of [Goswell's] previous work and others". [14] In February 2005, a limited edition remix 12" (also available as a download) entitled "Coastline"/"Plucked" was issued and features two mixes apiece from The Earlies and Ulrich Schnauss.

<i>Spoon and Rafter</i> 2003 studio album by Mojave 3

Spoon and Rafter is the fourth album by the British country rock-folk group Mojave 3, released on 22 September 2003 in the UK, and a day later in the US. It was received to generally positive reviews, averaging a 76 on Metacritic. The songs "Billoddity" and "Bluebird of Happiness" were featured in two episodes of The O.C..

<i>Tiny Mix Tapes</i> website

Tiny Mix Tapes is an online music and film webzine that focuses primarily on new music and related news. In addition to its reviews, it is noted for its subversive, political, and sometimes surreal news, as well as its mixtape generator.

<i>Stylus Magazine</i>

Stylus Magazine was an online music and film magazine launched in 2002. It featured long-form music journalism, four daily music reviews, movie reviews, podcasts, an MP3 blog, and a text blog.

In 2014, Slowdive, with Goswell, reformed for gigs and have declared in interviews that they would be working on new material. [10] The band continue to tour. In 2016 Goswell joined Stuart Braithwaite, Justin Lockey and James Lockey to form the band Minor Victories. Their self-titled debut was released in June 2016 on Fat Possum records. [15]

Stuart Braithwaite British musician

Stuart Leslie Braithwaite is a Scottish guitarist, bassist, drummer, singer and songwriter. He is the guitarist of post rock band Mogwai, with whom he has recorded nine studio albums.

Editors (band) British band

Editors are an English rock band, formed in 2002 in Birmingham. Previously known as Pilot, The Pride and Snowfield, the band currently consists of Tom Smith, Russell Leetch, Ed Lay, Justin Lockey, and Elliott Williams.

Minor Victories are a British alternative rock supergroup, formed in 2015. The band members are vocalist Rachel Goswell (Slowdive), guitarists Stuart Braithwaite (Mogwai) and Justin Lockey (Editors), and film-maker James Lockey of Hand Held Cine Club.

Personal life

Goswell was married to Air Cuba's Christopher Andrews from 1994 until 2000. [16]

Goswell is partially deaf herself as a result of labyrinthitis (a viral infection) which occurred in 2006. [15] This left her with chronic tinnitus in one ear and she also had debilitating balance problems which required physiotherapy for a year. As a result, Goswell had to stop playing and touring with Mojave 3. [10]

In 2010 Goswell gave birth to a son, Jesse, who has CHARGE syndrome; Jesse is profoundly deaf and has a serious heart condition which resulted in open heart surgery at the age of five months. [17] [18] [19] [20] She is learning British Sign Language and is vocal about the rights of parents of deaf children to have free access to learning sign language. [17] In October 2013 there was a debate in Parliament led by the NDCS (National Deaf Children's Society) where both Rachel and Jesse were mentioned.


Rachel Goswell's 1993 Slowdive guitar rig consisted of a Fender '72 Telecaster Thinline, a Boss OD-2 Turbo Overdrive, a Yamaha FX-500 Multi-FX unit and a Roland JC-77 Jazz Chorus 2x10 combo amp. [21] Since Slowdive reunion in 2014, Rachel Goswell's main guitar on tour is a Custom77 The Roxy – Hollowbody. [22]


Mojave 3
Rachel Goswell

Notes and references


  1. "England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVW5-B1V2  : 1 October 2014), Rachel Ann Goswell, 1971; from "England & Wales Births, 1837-2006," database, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com  : 2012); citing Birth Registration, Gosport, Hampshire, England, citing General Register Office, Southport, England.
  2. Kellman, Andy. "Rachel Goswell Overview". Allmusic . Retrieved 10 October 2009.
  3. 1 2 3 Goswell, Rachel (20 July 2004). "Rachel Goswell - Interview Part 1". Pennyblack Music (Interview). Interviewed by Anthony Strutt. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  4. "Rachel Goswell of Slowdive". Creation Records. October 2002. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  5. Trunick, Austin "Slowdive Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell on the bands that inspired them". Undertheradar". June/July 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2015
  6. Graeme Thomson. "The Return of Slowdive". heraldscotland.com. 24 March 2017. Retrieved 14 April 2017
  7. Luis Fernando Romero Alcántar. With Rachel Goswell about Slowdive, Shoegaze and her supergroup. yaconic.com. 31 May 2016. Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  8. Buckley & Lewis 1996, p. 799.
  9. Buckley & Edroso 2003, p. 956.
  10. 1 2 3 Clay, Joe (29 January 2014). "There Seems To Be A Lot Of Love Out There: A Slowdive Interview". The Quietus. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  11. "Points of Impact". CMJ New Music Report. 14 June 2004 via Google Books. Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  12. "Waves Are Universal". Tiny Mix Tapes . c. 2004. Retrieved 2 October 2009.[ permanent dead link ]
  13. Deusner, Stephen M. (8 September 2004). "Waves Are Universal". Pitchfork Media . Retrieved 2 October 2009.
  14. Mathers, Ian (22 July 2004). "Waves Are Universal". Stylus Magazine . Retrieved 2 October 2009.
  15. 1 2 DeVille, Chris (21 May 2016). "Q&A: Minor Victories' Rachel Goswell On Hearing Loss, Mark Kozelek, And The Future Of Slowdive". Stereogum. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  16. Goswell, Rachel (24 September 2004). "Rachel Goswell - Interview Part 3". Pennyblack Music (Interview). Interviewed by Anthony Strutt. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  17. 1 2 Kusumah, Aldy (February 2013). "RACHEL GOSWELL: "I am so out of touch with current music."". The Bastards of Young. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  18. "December 1 – "No Substitute" by Rachel Goswell". This Is That Song. 1 December 2012. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  19. "Rachel Goswell biography". In.com. Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  20. Roberts, Michael (6 May 1996). "Just Deserts". Denver Westword. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
  21. Cooper, Adam (25 Apr 1999). "Rachel Goswell's 1993 Slowdive Guitar Rig" Archived 29 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine .. GuitarGeek.Com.
  22. "Rachel Goswell of Slowdive In Premier Guitar". Lindsey Best. Retrieved 21 May 2016.

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