Rock n’ roll, beer, and the fast life- what could possibly be better? Not much according to Swan anyway. Swan is the brainchild of Matt Swan (or “Swanny”), the Australian rock n’ roller who cut his teeth as one-half of UK rock heavyweights Royal Blood as well as Australian based band The Swamps. Now ripping through a new solo career, Swan has just released the video for his debut single, the roaring “Sweat Baby Sweat”. An ode to late-night dance parties and letting the good times roll.
We had a chat with Swanny about the blood pumping video, the new music, playing at Margot Robbie’s wedding (yes), and what we can expect from Swan.
What a blast of a debut song. How did the concept of the music video come together?
I wanted to create a high octane video to match the energy of “Sweat Baby Sweat” and at the same time incorporate some of my favorite things I like to do to clear my head… Motorbikes and Jumping out of planes! I’m good friends with the guys at Byron skydive and when I approached the team with my idea they jumped at it. It was such a great experience, the cool thing is none of them had even heard the song until just before the jump when they rehearsed it on the ground to that ripping solo.
Where did you guys film it?
We filmed it all around and above the Byron area and a huge chunk of movie magic stuff on the ground at Byron skydive.
Have you worked with Clint (Gough) before this video?
Well, interesting question… Clint was introduced to me late last year by a mutual friend and we caught up to discuss another film project that we have in the pipeline. As we were going through some footage and talking music I showed him the demo to “Sweat Baby Sweat”. He heard the “Sweat Baby Sweat” hook in another part of the song and said this is your chorus. The vibe was great we spent the night in my home studio restructuring the song together and went on to track the vocals in Brisbane a couple of weeks later. So that was the first time we met and worked together. We’ve since become good mates and are continuing to collaborate on my next lot of material.
I have to ask- that’s really you jumping out of the plane and skydiving?
Swans are born to fly… But unfortunately, on this day I was grounded. The plan was for me to go up and dive with the team but we were squeezing so much into our shoot schedule that I had to film my other scenes whilst the boys and my stunt double were in the air.
This is the first sample of your upcoming solo work- what can we expect musically for your solo debut album? Is there a date or timeframe for a release?
I’m focusing on completing my EP this year, its a high energy fusion of Rock, Punk, Grunge, and Blues. Lyrically I’m aiming to deliver a positive message that listeners can connect with and at the same time showcase some more aggressive tones on one track that addresses a bit of my music backstory. So new music definitely over the next few months and maybe we can chat again about an album next year.
Will you be taking a break from The Swamps to do Swan full time?
Not any time soon, The Swamps keep the rock n roll fire burning in me!
How did you guys end up playing Margot Robbie’s wedding? I bet the food was amazing.
A friend of mine knows their family and put us forward. However, here’s what happened… I received an email titled “Family Reunion gig?” so I replied not knowing that I was actually talking to Margot Robbie’s good friend. They asked me if we could meet up in Byron or the Gold Coast to talk about this reunion gig. Turned out she was located on the Gold Coast and was easier for her to meet up there. So I stupidly palmed the meeting off to Matt Armitage as he lives up there. Little did I know that if I attended the meeting I would have spent the afternoon on the Gold Coast drinking cocktails with Margot herself. Armitage must have done something right as we got the gig, the wedding was amazing and she gave me a big hug and kiss at the end of the night to thank us. Ain’t complaining about that at all!
You wrote “Sweat Baby Sweat” over a beer- what’s your beer of choice to write great rock n’ roll songs?
Young Henry’s for me. An all-round great beer, amazing taste and they are amazing supporters of Aussie music.
Swan’s debut single, “Sweat Baby Sweat”, is out now. More information can be found on the official Swan website.
Patternist talks “I Don’t Feel Real” video and new album
“I’m like salaciously popping grapes into the mouth of this horrifying sex doll”
Indie pop artist Patternist is overcoming some of the apprehension that comes with being a performer the hard way: by going all out in his performances on stage, on record, and most recently, in music videos. Patternist is musician Gabe Mouer, who over the course of his relatively new career has crafted himself amongst the best in up and coming young artists. His spry synthesizer hued indie is evoking memories of noted artists like The Postal Service and Owl City, growing in stature and recognition over the course of his two recent EPs, 2015’s Youth Is Fading and the follow-up, 2016’s Give It Up.
Fresh from signing with InVogue Records, Patternist recently went and shot the music video for the track “I Don’t Feel Real”, a personal song about overcoming a songwriter’s crisis of identity. We talked to Gabe about the video, how shooting the over-the-top scenes went, his recent signing to InVogue, and what we can expect from his upcoming new LP due in September.
I enjoyed the video- it looked like fun- was the shoot a long day?
Mouer: Thank you so much! I was initially worried I wasn’t gonna be able to do this concept justice, so I’m really relieved that the response has been positive overall. The shoot was actually surprisingly quick, we had blocked out nearly nine hours for filming and I think by the time we wrapped we were barely over 5? Something like that. That all comes down to the direction and support of Anneliese and Aaron, they were so fantastic about communicating what they wanted for each shot while at the same time fostering such a supportive and encouraging atmosphere, it really helped in pushing me out of my comfort zone.
Who are Aaron and Anneliese? They directed the video? How did you guys connect?
Mouer: We came across Aaron and Anneliese after checking out the work they did for the band Armors, who are friends of ours we had toured with previously. It’s rare to find genuinely funny and novel music videos, and after seeing just how much those videos oozed personality and humor, we were like “We have to work with these guys.” I’m thankful they were kind enough to acquiesce, haha. Aaron shoots and directs while Anneliese produces and oversees the art direction, but Anneliese also had a heavy hand in the direction as well. They’re a dynamic duo.
You’ve talked about being an introvert, and that the concept of the video was a little daunting at first- but after filming, having fun, and seeing the end result- has that changed your approach to videos? Will we see more wild videos in the future?
Mouer: That’s my sincere hope. I mean, it was terrifying to be sure, there were moments where people would walk by and stop and stare, sometimes with their kids, as I’m like salaciously popping grapes into the mouth of this horrifying sex doll. But it’s all in service of the art [laughs]. With the admittedly downer nature of the record, the goal is to contrast its more dismal thematic outlook with a lighthearted approach to our videos.
How different do you find making music videos like that to say performing live?
Mouer: Personally, I’ve always had fairly bad stage fright. I’ll feel initially sick to my stomach before going out, I worry about what people will think. But, if you want to be a songwriter and you’re, like me, too egotistical to let other people touch your material, you have to bury debilitating thoughts and just go for it. It’s the exact same process for this video. Can I act? Can I dance? Probably not but who gives a shit. They share the same mental priming, “Well, what the hell else am I gonna do?”
It’s a very personal song- and you’ve said that it’s about overcoming a songwriter identity crisis of sorts. How do you feel about the finished song?
Mouer: I’m the last person to ask about the finished product because my MO is to vacillate wildly between delusions of grandeur and utter self-loathing [laughs]. I don’t know that I can feign any sort of objectivity. I think the track is not so much about my identity crisis as much as it’s documenting a period of hopelessness (channelled into this story about a person who finds themselves committed after a breakdown) that just happened to coincide with my feeling aimless in my artistic pursuits. I think I’ve done about the best I could do at the time in communicating those feelings in a hopefully interesting and engaging way. Then again, I still have people ask me what the song is about so maybe not [laughs].
You’ve said the song was your first step towards narrative songwriting. Have you found this writing process to be more natural or is it still a work in progress?
Mouer: Oh it’s always a work in progress for sure! But it’s taken me longer than it should have to realize what kind of songwriter I want to be, what my perspective is. I worried less about how Patternist fits into the Indie Pop zeitgeist and focused on trying to make the kind of record I wanted to hear, whether or not it’s what the people want is still up for debate. Also, having a higher track count and run time to play with helped divorce me from having to write a series of singles and allowed me to play around more.
You recently signed to InVogue Records and are releasing your new LP in September. What can we expect from the new record? Have you adopted the same songwriting approach as you did to “I Don’t’ Feel Real” to the songs on the album?
Mouer: I’ve taken to describing the LP as “melodramatic guitar pop.” It’s a collection of short stories that explore various ways we isolate ourselves from the world around us, backdropped by a series of verb’d-out, emo inspired guitar riffs. It’s still a Patternist record, if such a thing can be said, but with more of a “rock band” approach mixed in with the usual bedroom pop sensibilities. From a lyrical standpoint as well as a melodic one, “I Don’t Feel Real” sets a precedent the rest of the record follows. Hopefully that adds up to something people can connect with.
The new Patternist album, I Don’t Know What I’m Doing Here, is due out September 6th on InVogue Records.
LA punks The Paranoyds talk “Carnage Bargain” video
“We’re living in the dystopian future”
Los Angeles-based punk band The Paranoyds are anything but conventional. The foursome are on the cusp of releasing their debut album Carnage Bargain this coming September and have been making a lot of noise. Musically, they’ve got elements of proto, indie, and early punk- but have forgone conventional genre sensibilities to meld the best of punk’s frenzied urgency with the artful tones of indie rock’s most captivating sounds.
Fresh from the release of their latest music video for the title track, we spoke to bassist and vocalist Lexi Funston of the band to talk their sound, their music video aesthetic, and how today’s manic society has influenced their music.
I love the video’s aesthetics- where did the concept of the video come from?
Funston: Staz has this digital camera that was probably top-of-the-line in 2007 or something. It takes classic “Myspace” type photos and really grainy, but nice, videos. We wanted it to feel like a video we would have made in high school.
How was the shoot? Where did you guys shoot the video?
Funston: Everything was filmed during our most recent summer tour. There were some long drives, so when it felt right or if we needed a break from being in the van, we would pull over and film some stuff on the side of the road. America has a lot of beautiful landscapes.
It continues on the creative, unconventional videos you’ve done- “Girlfriend Degree” and “Hungry Sam” previously. Were there music videos or films that have influenced your visual style?
Funston: Our past two music videos were definitely influenced by like D-horror films, John Waters, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure and things along those lines; we love being camp and over-exaggerating things. But this one was different for us–we just wanted to do something that was like a fun, summer sing-along.
You worked with drummer David Ruiz and Max Flick on the video- what were some of the reasons you felt they were the best choice for the video?
Funston: David always had a vision for the scene whenever we would pull over to film something. He’s very patient and has a good eye. And we worked with Max on our previous video, “Girlfriend Degree”–he’s so good at what he does it’s crazy. He came to our rehearsal space and filmed us a few times and then took all the footage we took on the road and was able to turn it into a goofy, energetic video. Both David and Max definitely got across who The Paranoyds are.
So while the video is quite fun- the song itself is about something a lot of more serious (people higher up wanting to get all this evil work done at a wholesale price) right? Do you explore a lot of these themes on the new album?
Funston: Lately, we’ve been writing more about contemporary events (it’s hard not to). We have songs about being an empowered woman, the ills of social media, cyber-stalking, etc… but we also have songs about having to do laundry on a hot day and wanting to be a bear to hibernate during winter.
Was the idea for the video being a little less serious something you wanted to do and were there other ideas you thought about doing?
Funston: Despite the lyrical content, the song itself is upbeat and we always imagined filming something that was more on the light-hearted side.
The Paranoyds new album, Carnage Bargain, is set for release September 13th on Suicide Squeeze.