Editors’ Notes “Movement is a big theme across this record,” Slow Pulp’s Teddy Matthews says of his Chicago indie rock outfit’s appropriately titled debut LP. Clocking in at just under a half hour, Moveys is a swift and often sublime set of 21st-century shoegaze that emphasizes just how mercurial our emotions can be. And though they started work on it together just after the release of 2019’s Big Day EP, they were forced to finish it apart once the pandemic took hold: Just before lockdown, singer-guitarist Emily Massey left Chicago to care for her parents in Wisconsin after a serious car accident had left them both hospitalized. It was there—on a borrowed mic in her father’s home studio—that she recorded nearly all of her vocals for the album. “You really don't know how to do it until you do it,” Massey tells Apple Music. “I think up until that point, we had written songs kind of sporadically, and didn't really know how to work together in the best way. Finishing this record was like a deep breath. Like, ‘Okay, we can do this type of thing.’” Here, the foursome—Massey, guitarist Henry Stoehr, bassist Alex Leeds, and drummer Teddy Matthews—tell us the story behind every song on the record.

New Horse
Emily Massey: “Spring had come, and winter had been really tough for me. I had hit a pretty low point in terms of being very depressed and very self-conscious. I started to feel this desire to get out of it, like for the first time that I could see the other side of it. I think a lot of the songs that we had started writing before that point, I was having a really tough time trying to finish them or work on anything creative. I had felt like I didn't know what kind of music I wanted to make, and really even how to do it. But this song just represented the first time I felt like I can do this, like I don't have to be depressed all the time. I can try to see things a little bit differently and be a little different.”

Trade It
EM: “I wrote the lyrics for that one after I got diagnosed with chronic Epstein-Barr virus, which is like mono. Up until that point, I was just sleeping every day and could not function like a normal person. I didn't know what was going on. I was really upset with how I had treated myself up until that point, how mean I was to myself for being so tired. Just laying into myself for a lot of things, wishing that I could have taken back a lot of the stuff that I had said to myself that ended up being very damaging, and took a long time to unlearn. The instrumental is one of my favorites in the record.”

Idaho
EM: “I had been reflecting on some of my past relationships, thinking about how I wasn't in a very good place, personally, and fooling myself into thinking that I can be in a relationship even though I wasn't very healthy myself or ready for it. I think the song is about trying to accept other people's love and kindness when you don't love yourself. It was really hard to believe in that. I just felt really un-genuine to the people I was seeing, because they're saying all these nice things to me, and I just wasn't taking it well or believing it, or refusing to believe it. That can be kind of damaging in a relationship. It would already end as soon as it would begin.”

Track
EM: “I have a little notebook with random lines or tiny poems that I’ve written. I had found this poem about a woman that I saw on the train who just reminded me of my grandmother. She passed away from Alzheimer's when I was 17, and I think I had had a conversation recently with my mom about Alzheimer's. She has a big fear of getting it. It's a super genetically based disease, and she has some memory issues sometimes. I think one of the hardest parts about seeing somebody deal with Alzheimer's is just them forgetting the people that they loved. The song kind of turned into this reassurance for mom that if she does get it, no matter what happens, I'm not going anywhere, my family is not going anywhere. We'll love her no matter what, even if it's hard, even if it's difficult.”

At It Again
EM: “Henry had written most of this song and asked me to write the rest of the lyrics. This was at a point when COVID had hit, and I was at home, taking care of my parents, and just felt very in and out of other difficult things that my family and friends were going through at that time. Before all of this happened, I’d started feeling a lot better, and the songs were coming together and the record was coming together. I was really excited about that. I was learning how to take care of myself better. Then when everything happened all at once, it was like a quick slingshot back to feeling really depressed. I wasn't doing a very good job of taking care of myself. I was taking care of other people, and wasn't on top of my medications, and wasn't getting enough sleep, and all that jazz. So the ‘it’ in this context is depression. It's funny, because I think it's our poppiest, happiest-sounding song on the record.”

Channel 2
Alex Leeds: “That was a song that I started pretty much right after we released Big Day. We had started to play it live back then, but it was a pretty different song, even though the chords and the melody were somewhat similar to how they ended up. Then when it came time to record it for the album, it felt like there was something missing from the way it was translating. So we kind of sat on it for a while, and it was getting getting later in the recording process and I just started trying to reimagine it. I was just doing some core exercises one morning, and the melody just popped into my head. Then from the melody came the guitar solo.”

Whispers (In the Outfield)
Henry Stoehr: “When we started to record the album, I bought a weighted keyboard piano and just started playing it a little more. I started playing that chord progression and just fine-tuned it slowly over the course of recording the rest of the album. I realized I was thinking of this one moment, this song from this baseball movie I watched when I was a kid. Really wanted it to hit really hard and be dramatic, but I just couldn't get it there. Emily was already home at that point, and her dad is a really, really good piano player. So I had Emily ask him if he wanted to do it, and he was super down. I just sent him the chords, and then he sent me like four different versions of him playing it.”
EM: “Yeah, maybe someday we'll release that. My dad is a full-time musician and pianist. He has a studio at home, and he engineered all my vocals, except for ‘New Horse.’ This was the first piece of music that he had played after the accident. He was also recovering from a concussion, but he had a neck brace on. It was funny to watch him play it.”

Falling Apart
EM: “I was having trouble coming up with the melody for this one. This was after quarantine. I take a long time to process trauma and emote about it. I think it gets to a point where it's a little bit frustrating, because I want to cry, I want to think about it in a healthy way. But I just felt like I didn't have time, or I had to be strong for all these people, and take care of these people. It was a weird juxtaposition of being in a place last year where I felt like I was falling apart all the time, and was crying all the time, and was a lot. Then at this point in time, wishing I could do that, but couldn’t.”

Montana
HS: “That was the beginning of us starting a new songwriting approach, where we would send Emily the chords to adjust, so it works with her melody better. I just started a demo with those chords, and it was really different. But then Emily kind of switched it. She started playing it a little bit slower, moved the chorus around. We actually figured that one out at practice, just playing it live together. We switched it to downtempo, made it a lot sludgier. It feels a little more like a country song.”
EM: “That was really a reassuring one. I usually write the melody and it's just kind of filler words, just random words. But the words and the melody just kind of came out together, and I just liked how they sounded. It just made sense of a fresh start. The lyrics are kind of effervescent, hoping that you can get some of the past experiences or things you've said to yourself or said to other people out of your head, and move forward from it.”

Movey
HS: “It’s pretty bonkers. I'd just gotten this new tape machine, and I was just goofing off a little bit. It just turned out how it turned out, but I really liked it, right after doing it. I think as we kept writing the album, at one point, Emily had said something about the word ‘movey’ being really a good word for the title of the album. Which got me thinking about putting the actual song ‘Movey’ on it. The way I think of it, it sounds like an end credits song. It’s an album with a really sad ending. Then it’s over. I like how it feels to have a reset button.”
Teddy Matthews: “It feels like some way of thinking about emotions being transient and just shifting a lot of the time. Movement was a big theme across the record in general, and there are specific examples too, like Emily's ballet dancing. But that emotional shift feels like a part of that, and in kind of a shocking way, I think.”

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Music Videos

  • At It Again
    At It Again
    Slow Pulp
  • Track
    Track
    Slow Pulp
  • Falling Apart
    Falling Apart
    Slow Pulp

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