Luca Van Dresh chats with Swim Deep in the midst of their tour in support of Wolf Alice.
Hi guys, how’s the tour with Wolf Alice been going?
Austin “Ozzy” Williams (lead vocals) : Yeah it’s been good, proper tiring though. It’s definitely rewarding though – that half hour every night is a reward.
You’ve done quite a few support slots in your time with loads of different bands, has supporting other bands helped improve Swim Deep in any way?
Austin: Yeah, one of the first tours we did was with a band called Pond and we toured in Higgy’s (Tom Higgins, lead guitarist) mum’s hatchback [Tom corrects that the hatchback was his, saying the story doesn’t sound as cool if it’s his mum’s]. We learned a lot from them and how to treat other bands, because on the first night supporting them they came to meet us, played us a song and said we can help ourselves to their rider. Tours are much more enjoyable when everyone gets along so we have learnt to treat other bands with just as much respect. Although we were already good friends with Wolf Alice before we started this tour.
Tom (lead guitar): Yeah, there was meant to be a curtain dividing the dressing room but we decided to just get rid of it in order to create a better vibe.
Do you approach a support gig in a different way than you would one of your own headline gigs?
Cavan McCarthy (bass guitar): There’s less pressure, we still approach it the same but I feel more relaxed.
Austin: You’re playing to people they may have never heard you, so we normally just try to cram as many of our singles into half hour as possible.
Tom: But on this tour a lot of the audience know we are good friends with Wolf Alice and we have similar audiences, so we can play more of what we want, what we think is best our stuff rather than just pander to the crowd by playing singles.
What does the near future hold for the band?
Austin: We are going to start writing new stuff in April get into the studio and get some stuff together because up ’til this point we have been quite busy touring and getting jobs to pay rent. I’ve done quite a lot of writing on my own but there is only so much you can do on your own, then it gets boring. I’m in a band to be in a band, I want to be influenced by other people.
Tom: It’s also good to do that coming off this tour where we have had so much fun, because it puts us all in a really good place.
Cavan: It would be good if we could get something out early next year
Tom: Whoa whoa whoa, let’s not put any date down, let’s just say it would be good if we could get something out in the next couple of years (laughs)
Austin: We have been rehearsing a lot cos we have been touring now for these last three months and we have been veering off into these little jams that could become something but it has been frustrating because we have to rehearse the songs we will be playing on the tour. So it will be good to finally get to record some new stuff and not just rehearse King City ten times.
You are touring America in June, are there any nerves about that? There is a history of British bands going over there and absolutely hating it…
Austin: We’re feeling like we can crack America…
Tom: We already have a good fan base over there despite us never having had a release over there which is why we are so excited about it.
Austin: Yeah, we just want to get over there. I feel like we can do it all again in a way and that’s why it’s exciting because it was great when we first started out, before we released our first album in terms of creating a fan base. That is starting to happen in America – that culture of people just discovering us and then really getting behind us – but this time we can go over there and actually be a really good band when we play, if you know what I mean. When we first started out in Britain we were a bit shit live (laughs).
Do you think another boom period for indie music is around the corner?
Austin: I think the next golden age of music will come from the indie labels and I don’t mean indie as in just guitar bands because I think that is such a stale subject. The indie labels are going to be the ones that make all the noise, bands are not that interested in signing with major labels anymore because there aren’t big advances any more, no one is handing out quarter of million pounds or half a million pounds, so bands aren’t so eager to sign with the majors now.
Tom: It’s also the indie labels that are just finding good music. Like Domino put out LA Priest last year which is this sort of wonkey weird pop music, which I think is more interesting than the drivel put out by the majors.
Austin: The indie labels take risks because there isn’t as much to lose – there’s only like four people working in the label, whereas the majors need to sell a lot in order for people to keep their jobs so they don’t take risks.
What do you think about the rise of vinyl sales, is it just a fad?
Austin: Any physical music will be a bit of a novelty, but it’s a novelty that will last.
Tom: Digital music is ridiculous in the way that you just consume it and throw it away. I think to have and own an album is something that people will want to do for ever because it’s like a piece of art in your hand…
Austin: Although we were told when doing the track listing for our album that no one wants to listen to more than the first three tracks, and to just put all of our singles in the first three tracks, which is annoying because when you get a record you listen to the whole record. Even if you don’t like it, it’s still a part of you and it stays with you.
Tom: You can’t pick and choose the tracks that you like with vinyl, but that is how it should be. The whole body of work is a complete thing, I mean you wouldn’t go to an art gallery look at a painting and just be like well I like that corner and that bit but I don’t like the rest of it. You shouldn’t want to just realise stuff that will sound good on the radio or on MP3 – the best artists are the ones that care about everything including the artwork and the branding.
There was a change in sound between your first two albums; can we expect another change in sound for your third?
Austin: Yeah, you can always expect change, I think the one thing you can always expect in life is change – it’s the one constant in a way. We want a fan base that wants change… It would be so boring if they just wanted the same thing. We don’t want to be a band that makes three of the same records, and everyone loves them and they go to number one. Well, maybe I would like that (laughs), but if you just keep making the same record then you have done everything after one record and your career would become tiring.
Cavan: Even the stuff we have been jamming sounds different to what we have done before.
Are there any set goals for the band?
Austin: Yeah, maybe I’m going slightly off subject here but some people say I want to achieve this by the time I’m 27 or 29 because if I don’t then I’m fucked. It’s such a shame that the music industry is such an ageist industry, that sort of mentality needs to be stamped out because it’s bullshit. I used to worry if I’m too old to make music but where is the logic in that, because surely with age you get better. So the goal is just to be an old man that has made a lot of great records.
Right, on that note I think we’ll end it, thanks for your time lads!
Interview by Luca Van Fresh