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Interview: The Swellers 05/05/2010
Interview: The Swellers 05/05/2010
05/08/10 at 10:32 AM by codenameraven

It's an excting time for Michigan punk band The Swellers. In 2009 alone they were lucky enough to support Paramore across America, and signining to Fueled By Ramen (Home to Forgive Durden, Cobra Starship and more) After playing the gig of their career as a band so far at Groezrock in Belgium I caught up with Nick (Vocals/Guitar) and Jonathan (Drums) to see what's next.

This is your first time over in the UK and indeed Europe, how has it all been going?

It's going well.We're over here playing shows and making friends, just exactly what we had expected.

You played Groezrock in Belgium a few weeks back, how did that go?

Jonathan: That was probably our favourite show we've ever played. Not only was there punk rock legends playing after us, we met up with alot of our friends bands there too and it was just a perfect day.

I'm sure I no doubt speak for a lot of people when I say this but i'm extremely jealous you guys saw Millencolin!

Haha I'm jealous of myself for seeing Millencolin.

Jonathan: We got to meet them and hang out for a bit, it was very awesome.

You've been signed to Fueled By Ramen for your new record 'Ups and Downsizing' Do you hope this will be the start of a more variety of bands added to the label?

Nick: I would hope so. I hope Fueled would start signing more bands as we were actually the only band they signed in 2009. Hopefully this year they'll have some more cool new bands on their roster so it won't scare me that we're the only punk band on there. [laughs]

Jono: They're a great label though, already they've given us lots of cool opportunities.

How well has 'Ups and Downsizing' been received so far?

Nick: Better than we expected. All the reviews that we've seen have been great and people have been buying them after shows and it's been awesome.

Jonathan: I think it's like a delayed reaction, as right when it came out we got a lot of press but just recently a lot of people have just started talking about us. Bands like The Bled that I thought would never have even known who we are, so its really cool. So yeah the reactions have all been great.

The single 'Fire Away' has seen a lot of airplay on our radio show especially along with a few others. Do you have any other singles in the pipeline?

Jonathan: We're going to work on a video for Sleeper soon so that's likely to be the next one. I think we need to talk about the video first before we make it but thats the next step right now.

There seems to be a variety of influences present in your music from punk bands new and old. What sort of collective influences do you have as a band?

Nick: I think one of the reasons we all started playing were bands like Nirvana and Green Day just way back in the day. All the 90's radio bands and all the punk bands that we grew up with together. We have our own pieces that we bring to the table. Jonathan and I share alot of the same ones as we're brothers and we've been listening to music and playing for a long time. But yeah it kinda brings a lot of cool stuff to the table when it's all said and done.

A lot of people here associate you guys with Paramore and touring with them in the states. How much does The Swellers owe to them in terms of your success?

I think the only thing we can really say to them is thanks and let's do it again.

Jonathan: That was one of the coolest tours we've ever done though.

It must have been a massive step up for your band.

Nick: Yeah it was great. Our record came out September 29th and thats when the tour started. It was a really incredible week and it was a lot of fun.

What key components do you guys consider that are needed for young and upcoming bands these days?

Nick: The main thing is people need to be smart about what they're doing. A lot of people sign to a label for the sake of signing instead of actually looking into it.

Jonathan: If you're a newer band and don't have that much going on for you try and get on a label but don't bother trying to sign to a really small label as eventually if you do get picked up by a bigger label, not only is there a lot of money issues and stuff like that it's kind of cool doing stuff yourself and then going to something big, you know?

In short; you can do it yourself. You totally can. We were signed to a smaller label but we still did it ourselves and you don't wanna get locked down into anything you don't want to get stuck into. I get people e-mailing me and coming up to me at shows saying 'I started a band how do I get to where you are now?' The only advice I can give is write some good songs, play some shows and don't stop doing it. If you suck, start over and do something else. When we started as a band no-one said you guys should re-think what you're doing. Even if people didn't like our music alot of people thought we were good at what we do, and that kinda kept us going. Find some good people who know whats going on, and play shows. You have to play shows and you have to play them well. That's basically all the advice I can give.

Do you believe the power of word of mouth and people spreading the word through Facebook and Twitter that seems that bit more important now?

Jonathan: Yeah I think, whenever MySpace started we had always seemed to have a lot of contact with people over here. People have always been saying to us 'Come up! Come up!' when our first songs came out, so we're getting to play some of our really old songs to a lot of the people who come to these shows, it's kind of like a long time coming.

How far do you think The Swellers can go as a band/What are your main aspirations?

Nick: The southern tip of Chilli.[laughs]

Jonathan: Making this a life long career would be the coolest thing. Not only being financially stable but having this be our job. It's really cool that bands can do that, like Foo Fighters play Wembley two nights in a row. That would be amazing to do something like that one day.

The Swellers - Ups and Downsizing out now
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