Music lovers who made it out to Bardot’s School Night! this past Monday were treated to a special State-side performance by Neil Halstead, British singer/songwriter and frontman for the dream pop/folk act Mojave 3. Halstead is currently preparing for the upcoming release of his third solo album, Palindrome Hunches, out September 11th via Brushfire Records, and this week he announced a series of fall tour dates in support of the release, including a stop at Largo at the Coronet on October 27th.

LA Music Blog had a chance to catch up with Neil Halstead while he was on the West Coast to find out more about the upcoming tour, the new album, and his self-described “lack of career options.”

You’ll be performing at McCabes and Largo in October. How do the audiences at your shows in SoCal differ from those elsewhere in the US or Europe?

Yeah, looking forward to coming back to LA in October. It’s always been one of my favorite places to play since the Slowdive days. I don’t think the audience is too different to a lot of places, but the weather is definitely better and perhaps folk are in a better mood. I know I am.

What propelled the switch from 4AD to Brushfire Records as the home for your solo efforts?

I was out of contract with 4AD, and I’d connected with the folks at Brushfire through another surf-related project. They offered their studio to record a few tunes and things sorta went on from there. I really like the label; they are good people and have been really supportive with it all.

You’ve revealed that your song “Spin The Bottle” was closely tied to some problems you were having with your wife at the time you wrote it. To what extent does your personal life influence your music?

Honestly, I think making music is inherently connected with your life and all the stuff that happens in it. There is no separation, so sometimes my songs can get a little personal.

How does Palindrome Hunches differ thematically or musically from your previous solo efforts, Sleeping on Roads (2002) and Oh! Mighty Engine (2008)?

I would say it’s a little darker, musically and lyrically. I also recorded this one with a band, the first time I have done that. It has a real continuity of sound throughout and was recorded live over 4 days in a primary school music room in Wallingford, UK. The band is called “The Band of Hope” and are amazing.

With your solo career in full swing, can Mojave 3 fans still hold out hope for a new album in the next few years?

Yes, they can…I certainly am.

You’ve been in bands or touring solo since you were 17, first with Slowdive, then Mojave 3. Did you ever consider another career option? What would Neil Halstead be doing if he wasn’t making music?

I think lack of career options has certainly influenced my musical career 🙂 I can’t imagine what I would do…at the risk of getting a bit “tap,” I’d probably be a haberdasher of sorts.

Neil Halstead Tour Dates:

09/28 – Atlanta, GA – Eddie’s Attic
09/30 – Raleigh, NC – The Casbah
10/02 – Arlington, VA – IOTA
10/03 – Philadelphia, PA – World Café Live
10/10 – Ann Arbor, MI – The Ark
10/12 – Chicago, IL – Schuba’s
10/13 – Madison, WI – High Noon
10/16 – Boulder, CO – E Town
10/17 – Denver, CO – Walnut Room
10/19 – Seattle, WA – Rendezvous Seattle Art’s Fest
10/20 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir
10/23 – San Francisco, CA Café du Nord
10/24 – Santa Cruz, CA – Crepe Place
10/25 – Santa Barbara, CA Club Mercy
10/26 – Santa Monica, CA – McCabe’s
10/27 – Los Angeles, CA – Largo at the Coronet

For more info:

Neil Halstead Website