The only thing surprising about Supreme’s forthcoming drop with shoegaze pioneers My Bloody Valentine is that it’s taken this long for the pair to come together.
When looking at a checklist of what the New York brand looks for in its collaborative subjects, MBV would tick just about every box. They’re mysterious ’90s idols who have always been dogged by infamy, not least outspoken frontman Kevin Shields, whose addiction to substances over the years is perhaps only eclipsed by an obsession for ear-shattering noise. I mean, check out his pedalboard. It’s like a spaceship.
MBV were formed in Dublin, Ireland in 1983 by Shields (guitar and vocals) and Colm Ó Cíosóig (drums). The band’s lineup fluctuated over the years but has consisted of Shields, Ó Cíosóig, Bilinda Butcher (guitar and vocals), and Debbie Googe (bass) since 1987. To this day, they still boast one of the feverish fanbases in all of music, but it’s their 1991 masterpiece, Loveless, which most people are familiar with. Regularly held up as the quintessential shoegaze album, this is what destruction sounds like in music form. With its waves of distorted guitars and dissonant keyboards, Shields arguably changed rock music forever, inspiring bands like Radiohead and inflicting tinnitus upon an entire generation. For this meeting of worlds, the iconic record’s artwork can be found on a hoodie, T-shirt, and shirt, joining art references from across the MBV canon.
When discussing the loudest bands of all time, MBV is a name that will invariably crop up in the conversation alongside the likes of Swans, Jesus and the Mary Chain, and Sunn O))). To see them live is an exercise in masochism, with pairs of earplugs dished out to fans as they enter the venue. The live performance usually comes to a deafening crescendo on “You Made Me Realize,” an indie-rock right of passage that descends into a 15-minute cacophony of white noise that fans have, untastefully, dubbed the “Holocaust section.”
“It’s one of those things where, it was full volume, and for the first three minutes it’s like ‘oh okay this is kind of cool,'” once said Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan. “Then you’re like ‘This is really too much. I wish they’d fucking stop.’ And then at about seven minutes it actually became kind of funny. And about 10 minutes in, you start actually getting into it.” This was true when I saw the reformed lineup at a festival a couple of years ago, when they played so loud that the PA system eventually broke, causing an hour-long delay for The xx, who were scheduled to play afterward.
A lot of Supreme collabs of late have been greeted with a shrug of the shoulders, but by joining forces with MBV, we’re reminded of its importance when introducing cult idols to younger audiences. When it comes to cultural influence, there are few brands that can go from joining forces with Lamborghini one week to alt-rock idols the next, in a way that feels natural. It’s been a long time since I logged on to buy anything at 12 o’clock on a Thursday, but I’ll be making an exception this week. Turn up the volume and see you down the front.
You can shop recent Supreme drops at streetwear and sneaker marketplace StockX.