AMBY: Hello SWANN! Thanks for having a chat with AMBY, what have you been up to lately?
SWANN: Hello and thank you ! I’m on holidays in France right now after a couple of months touring and promoting my new album “Neverending”. I’ve travelled a lot in Great Britain, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland, France… with my band in April, May and June. I’ve enjoyed it so much.
AMBY: How would you describe your sound to those unfamiliar with your music?
SWANN: That’s a hard one ! I never know what to say when it comes to describing the music I play. I’d say it’s the result of my life and of the things I like. My music is based on melodies. I build everything around the melodies that haunt me. I would say it’s a mix between folk, rock and psychedelic music. I wouldn’t talk about “pop” because pop music has something light and fresh, that my music doesn’t have.
AMBY: You have just released your debut album Neverending. What were some of the highlights while recording it?
SWANN: I recorded “Neverending” in May 2012 in North Wales, close to Snowdonia National Park, with my band – men only, Rob Ellis and Tom Manning. It took only 2 weeks to record 16 songs, because we decided to record them “live” on tapes. The idea was to capture the magic that was happening in the studio, which was a bit hard because you never know what is going to happen, especially with music. But that’s how we tried to record the album. Rob Ellis had this idea and helped us create this strange and fragile atmosphere. Before each take, Rob Ellis said : “Tapes rollin'”. Each take was strong, intense, and very spontaneous. We played without a click and we did only a few takes for each song. The whole recording was a great experience, but very tough for me – it was like giving life to a baby i guess. Now i like the fragility and the intensity of the album even if it scared me at first.
AMBY: What’s the story behind your killer song Show Me Your Love?
SWANN: I had had this melody in mind for 8 months before i finally worked on it. It’s the most recent song on the album. It’s actually connected to another song, “My Darling”. “Show Me Your Love” is an other vision of the story of “My Darling”. It’s the story seen and told by the other character. It’s all about loving and being loved in return.
AMBY: There are some great lyrics on the album. Which are your favourites?
SWANN: It’s hard to tell because I wrote almost all of them and they all tell something about me. But for instance, I like “I’ll love you tonight, and you’ll love me tonight, but who knows when the night will end”. I’ve always been afraid of the end in general : the end of the day, the end of life, the end of a song, the end of love.
AMBY: Which three albums changed your life?
SWANN: “Hunky Dory” by David Bowie, “Harvest” by Neil Young and the first album by Shivaree, that I listened to a lot when i was 11. Those were the first albums I really listened to.
AMBY: Which artists have you been listening to lately?
SWANN: The same “old” ones that I’ll never get bored of like David Bowie, The Velvet Underground, Nico, The Beatles, Zappa,… I also like the Daft Punk album “Random Access Memories”. I’m not a big fan of electronic music in general, but that one is different. Killer melodies ! And i must say I love the “vocoder” effect… The last Arctic Monkeys song sounds brilliant too.
AMBY: What’s the funniest thing to happen to you at a gig?
SWANN: Ha. that’s a good one. That’s a typical “Spinal Tap” scene. We played in Sheffield in April, in a big club with corridors and secured doors everywhere. Before going on stage, I had to put some make up on and I was supposed to join my musicians Stephen and Mocke on stage 5mn after. That’s what i tried to do. But I got lost and i couldn’t find the stage. I called Stephen… and he finally came and showed me the way to the stage ! I wasn’t too late but I got a big adrenalin shot !
AMBY: What is the best song of the year so far?
SWANN: “Where Are We Now” by Bowie. I love that song.
AMBY: What has you excited for the rest of 2013?
SWANN: I’m currently working on my next album in Brittany at my grandma’s. I’m recording all the demos. It’s great to see how songs can evolve! And I’m also going to record 4 tracks for an EP that will be released in the autumn. I can’t wait. I love playing music and recording new songs.
AMBY: And last but never least, what’s something about SWANN that nobody knows?
SWANN: I can drink 2 liters of Coke in a day! Not everyday of course!
Thank you SWANN, for giving us your answers!