"I was a huge My Blody Valentine fan. Kevin and I met, and I just adored him. He has an abstract way of speaking that takes you right to the spheres. I gave him The Coral Sea
and we sat among all his guitars and pedals at his studio in Camdem. We just trusted each other. We didn't do any practising. Kevin wanted a sofa onstage. During the performance, something happened with one of his pedals and it got louder and louder. I couldn't concentrate, so I threw the book aside and improvised the rest of it. At the end, I just laid down on the sofa and listened to Kevin. He was creating world upon world, taking me to a place where language was obsolete. That evening was an uncompromising merger of rock'n'roll and poetry, and it's one of the things I'm proudest of."
—Smith in 2012 on their performance at the 2005 Meltdown festival, which she curated.
"She curated Meltdown [in 2005
] and it was also Robert Mapplethorpe's anniversary, and she had written a poem, The Coral Sea
, about him, and she said I'd like to do something. She really liked Loveless
. You know, Cat Power was also involved. It was me, Patti and Chan [Marshall
] together. They came to my studio and we got chatting and Patti was really inspiring. She said, 'We've already won, we're doing this.' She showed me the book, explained how she liked to go off on tangents and we really connected. I really believed in her.
"I'd stopped using the tremolo arm in 1997. I'd purposely started using envelope filters when I played with Primal Scream [Shields was a touring member of the band between 1996 and 2006 and played on 2000's
XTRMNTR and 2002's
Evil Heat]. But one of the coolest things that happened with The Coral Sea
was that Patti inspired me to start playing guitar again like I used to. We talked about it for three or four hours; we didn't even rehearse. Then I prepared a bunch of guitars, got it all ready to go and just was like, 'OK.'
"Then we did it onstage, in 2005. It was totally improvised. Then a year later, we did more. The second one was way more chaotic. I drowned Patti out, I went way overboard. I was too noisy, and that gave me a kick in the ass. But it was intense, focused on the moment, and then we got a double CD album out of it."
—Shields in 2019.