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The Swellers - 05.10.11

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The Swellers - 05.10.11I got to sit down with The Swellers inside their van before they took the stage with Texas In July, Polar Bear Club, Bayside and Silverstein at Revolution in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., in one of the first stops of the Take Action! Tour. Nick and Jono took the time to talk about the recording of their upcoming album, Good For Me, out June 14 via Fueled By Ramen, their current tour, growing up as a band and their future plans.

Could you guys please state your names and your role in the band?

Jonathon - drums; Nick - guitar and lead vocals.

You guys are currently on the Take Action tour - how's the tour been thus far?

Nick: It's been fun. A lot of good shows so far, we've actually had a lot of days off in this first week but in a little bit we're going to have 13 straight shows with no days off so it's starting to get into the heart of the tour. This is the point in the tour where you get to know everyone's names and what they do, and yesterday hanging out in Orlando was pretty good for that. It's actually been better than expected, for The Swellers anyway. I think people are kinda finally recognizing what we're doing, which is nice.

Jono: And mostly everybody knows everyone else somehow, though mutual friends or something. Anto was in a band in Canada so he knew the Silverstein guys, we had mutual friends in Bayside, and we've toured with Polar Bear Club like four times. So it's nice to go into a tour for the first time and already being friendly with people as opposed to that awkward first week where you don't know anyone.

So far how's it been with Bayside and Silverstein at the top of the lineup?

Nick: It's been cool, they're two bands that we're very proud of. We've been following those bands from the beginning so to see that they can draw this many people together is very cool. They've also been really friendly, and I think it's important when you're a headliner band to kind of be cool to the opening bands. Obviously the opening bands get a lot less than the headliners in terms of accommodations and food and whatever. But when we walk into their room, they'll offer us food and say, "Come hang in here if you want." And that's really cool, by no means do we deserve that kind of treatment but they're being great to us.

How was recording with Bill Stevenson?

Jono: It was absolutely crazy. We've grown up loving all his bands. Pretty much, the dude was the perfect guy for us. He's our favorite songwriter and drummer and he owns our favorite studio. We had four days of pre-production, which we've never done before, where we were actually able to look at our songs and see what we could do to make them better. It was a cool learning experience because we learned how to take outside ideas for the first time. Obviously, not changing what the song actually is but hearing, "You guys can do a lot better than that. I know you guys." And out of nowhere, we'd come up with a new chorus or something like that so the songs came out much better than we could have imagined. Everything from tracking to just hanging out, he was great and everyone was just really good guys.

Can you guys talk a bit about what the new record is going to sound like? Is there a big difference from Ups and Downsizing?

Nick: I think it's the next logical progression for our band. You know, we didn't stop and say that this was going to be a thrash record or that we were going to go all acoustic. It's another record but we've gotten older, and bands will say they "matured," but really I think we just got better at being a band. We got better at writing songs and playing our instruments. And I think it shows, on this record there's a lot of focus. And we actually recorded a whole bunch of songs and we loved all of them. We made sure that we picked the top 10 songs that flowed from beginning to end, but it was actually kind of hard because some of the songs that we left off this record were some of our favorite songs that we recorded, but they didn't quite work out. Those will show up somehow, like b-sides or an EP or a 7" but it's cool that all of our leftover songs are still songs that we're super proud of. The whole recorded process was definitely worthwhile. When you break it down, recording a song costs quite a bit of money, so the fact that we did 14 that we're really into is something I'm stoked on.

Jono: And I think one thing, not really a disclaimer, but just kind of putting this out there: This is definitely a rock record. We kind of have this whole nostalgic vibe of the first record you get, you grow up with them, you read the lyrics and all this stuff. For us, this is the record that we would hear when we were kids and say, "wow." Every song is good, there's no filler, it's 10 songs so really there's no room for BS. We're really proud that as a band we could do something like that. As every other band is getting faster, we just focused on having good songs.

Nick: We're still a punk rock band. We're sweating our balls off every night, we drive long distances in the van, our hands are blistered, we're tired, we're poor. But we made one of the biggest-sounding rock records that I've heard in the last five years.

The first song you guys released, "Best I Ever Had," definitely had a 90s-tinge to it. Is that pretty indicative of what we should expect?

Nick: That one is probably the fastest and longest song on the record. It's actually kind of confusing that we released it first. The song has something for everybody...if you've listened to The Swellers before, even our old friends were like, "Yeah, that's the classic Swellers, I'm so glad this is what the new song sounds like." And even new fans think it rules and they like it. But it kind of goes all over the map on the rest of the record. There's some that kind of have that feel, some are just big rock jammers, some are a little bit shorter and upbeat. Just energetic, melodic music is what we set out to create. Something that's timeless.

Jono: And we focused a lot on really catchy choruses and good melodies over anything. We would have a lot of talks whether something should be fast or whatever, and we just said whatever flows the best and naturally comes to us is what we should do. I think that's what's cool about "Best I Ever Had," when Nick was writing it he had this weird, like, Meatloaf vibe where it's a storytelling thing and it goes through these kind of movements within the song. So the fast parts later in the song, technically you could go without even having those, but that's what made it's cool for us. The song is about growing up and hearing all this music and you're going through all these stages of your life, but then it throws that in there, which is the music we grew up on. So it kind of has this whole bigger picture just to that song alone. Hopefully I think people will get the gist of our record based on that.

With the release still about a month away, what are you guys or Fueled By Ramen going to try to be doing to promote it?

Nick: Just touring all the time. That's kind of the only way you can do anything anymore. Also, the online presence of just making sure we're keeping in touch with people on Twitter or Facebook or whatever. And we usually in the past have come up with cool ways to interact with people outside of our record or our songs. Like we did that weird thing where we wrote songs for people, and we did like 15 of them. Little things like that I think set us apart as a band that wants to do more than just play music and tour.

Jono: Another thing we're learning too, is that instead of touring the exact same places every single month like we used to, it's actually nice because we're kind of a global band now, so we're touring all over the world. It gives us a natural break in between the U.S. tours. For this one, it's the first time we're going to release a record, and then let people learn the record, and then tour, as opposed to playing a bunch of new songs for people and you just assume that they got the record early or something. But we want people to totally interact with it. I think what will make this record cool is that people already know who we are, at least our fans, and we're just going to push it out there, do our stuff online and play some cool Michigan shows, because we haven't done really any Michigan shows in a long time.

What are your guys touring plans after the Take Action tour?

Jono: Australia in October.

Nick: And a couple more U.S. runs will probably happen for sure, nothing's been confirmed or anything but later in the year we're probably going to try to do two or three different continents, just go everywhere. Just after the record, we have to hit all our spots and do the cycle.

Jono: Yeah, cause you know, we're definitely into the whole world tour thing now. It's crazy to say, but there's some stuff on the horizon that could be absolutely insane.

Alright, so is there anything else you guys would like to add?

Nick: Get the record when it comes out.

Jono: June 14th, we hope you enjoy it!

Nick: People should buy it so we can continue doing this, but if you don't but it, you know, we probably might break up soon cause we can't afford to do it anymore. That's why buying records is kind of important, like I'm not too worried about it, I like playing and I can make money on t-shirts, but our label doesn't really like us making money on t-shirts. They want you to buy the record and if the label doesn't support us anymore then we'll be even more broke. So it's a really vicious cycle, so if you buy a record we'll probably be happier.

Jono: And, um, I hope you like it.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 15
08:15 AM on 05/10/11
#2
zachff
deadformat.net/tradelist/zachff
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Interesting that this was the first time they had a real pre-production time in the studio. Compare that to major label bands (cough..Blink) who seem to spend forever in the studio -- it's not really something you think about.

Quote:
For this one, it's the first time we're going to release a record, and then let people learn the record, and then tour, as opposed to playing a bunch of new songs for people and you just assume that they got the record early or something.
FINALLY A BAND THAT GETS IT
08:35 AM on 05/10/11
#3
Sandie-Jenkins
Ignore the chiodos SN, this is old.
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Great people and a great band. Saw them in a tiny tiny venue on one of their days off with Bayside a few nights ago. Amazing stuff.
10:37 AM on 05/10/11
#4
Alexx Miller
Dominic Decoco
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Awesome. I am so excited for this album!
10:37 AM on 05/10/11
#5
Alexx Miller
Dominic Decoco
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Interesting that this was the first time they had a real pre-production time in the studio. Compare that to major label bands (cough..Blink) who seem to spend forever in the studio -- it's not really something you think about.

FINALLY A BAND THAT GETS IT
Great points.
01:46 PM on 05/10/11
#6
Colinmac36
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"People should buy it so we can continue doing this, but if you don't but it, you know, we probably might break up soon cause we can't afford to do it anymore. That's why buying records is kind of important, like I'm not too worried about it, I like playing and I can make money on t-shirts, but our label doesn't really like us making money on t-shirts. They want you to buy the record and if the label doesn't support us anymore then we'll be even more broke. So it's a really vicious cycle, so if you buy a record we'll probably be happier."

i understand what he's saying but is that an ultimatum?or just like a joke?
02:17 PM on 05/10/11
#7
luvsickcatalyst
wander eyes, ocean high.
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"People should buy it so we can continue doing this, but if you don't but it, you know, we probably might break up soon cause we can't afford to do it anymore. That's why buying records is kind of important, like I'm not too worried about it, I like playing and I can make money on t-shirts, but our label doesn't really like us making money on t-shirts. They want you to buy the record and if the label doesn't support us anymore then we'll be even more broke. So it's a really vicious cycle, so if you buy a record we'll probably be happier."

i understand what he's saying but is that an ultimatum?or just like a joke?
Yeah, that caught me a bit too. I'm calling it a joke, but still, buy the record. This is going to be such an awesome birthday present along with TWY's new record.
02:20 PM on 05/10/11
#8
Colinmac36
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Yeah, that caught me a bit too. I'm calling it a joke, but still, buy the record. This is going to be such an awesome birthday present along with TWY's new record.
yeah absolutely, today and june 14th are probably the best days in music this year. deffiently will be buying..huge swellers fan.
02:54 PM on 05/10/11
#9
saofan_315
So assuming that this weekend...
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Support the hell out of this band.

Also, I really dig that most of the bands are pro wrestling fans.
03:36 PM on 05/10/11
Yellowcard2006
I'll buy you a raincoat
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I'm 100% sure I'm buying this album and The Wonder Years on 6/14.
03:38 PM on 05/10/11
Thomas Nassiff
resuscitation of the year
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Joke or no joke, every band has to face the reality that if they don't sell records they won't be able to keep on being a band.
06:03 PM on 05/10/11
Jaytothesyg
The Greatest Generation
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I love this band...I'm so stoked for this album. Changing avatar. I can't wait to see them again I feel like it's been a year
06:13 PM on 05/10/11
Jimmyk
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Cant wait for this record
06:30 PM on 05/10/11
DCART
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pumped for the 14th!
09:14 PM on 05/10/11
CBKRP
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I will be buying the record on Interpunk or somewhere online for sure. However, I as a fan will at some point have to accept the fact that these guys will most likely never tour western Canada.... oh well..

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