I recall very clearly where I was when I heard “Beverly Hells” for the first time. If you were looking for me at this moment, you would have found me sitting in my room sitting on the floor with a beer in hand, laptop open, making a playlist and trying to escape the chaos of the kitchen. I was swiftly surfing through tracks on various record labels, poking around musicians and other music-lovers profiles on Soundcloud and in the blink of an eye (or ear?) I heard this:
If you are like me, the first 10 seconds of that song sell you AND if you are also like me, you knew based on the first 10 seconds of the song, that it was going to be worth all 4 minutes of your life it was about to take up. Thanks to help from some new friends I’ve made, I was able to exchange words with Chriss Hess whose other half is Adam Winn. Check out our conversation below:
Your first EP, ‘Feel’, is an adventure. I literally have no idea what to expect from song to song and I LOVE IT. Is this a reflection of your personalities, musical inspirations or something else?
It is definitely a reflection of our A.D.D. taste in music. We are really into such a wide array of stuff that it is really difficult for me not want to channel all of everything into our own music . . . Despite how stressful that can become when someone asks you to define your sound. I get just as inspired listening to Sade as I do listening to Unknown Mortal Orchestra. That’s the beauty and the problem haha.
I hear so many different aspects of various artists from past and present in your music. I hesitate to name them because I honestly don’t know how musicians feel about being “characterized” based on who they sound like…so, unless you request this information from me, I’ll just ask you who you think you may sound like or if you feel you’re completely unique! What is it about SWIMM that sets you apart?
I hesitate to name them too. The thing is anyone that I emulate I don’t see as human. I almost see them as Demi-gods which i think everyone does to their idols to a certain extent. So for me to say I think I sound like someone I hold to such a high standard is almost preposterous. But also that is never the goal… To just sound like exactly like something cause you like it. It’s going to happen cause nothing is purely original but let’s just say for the sake of the question that our biggest goal is to sound unique even though I’m sure we don’t always succeed in that.
One of the things that sets you apart for me personally, is what I mentioned in the first question. The fact that I can’t predict, even if I try my darndest, where the next song may take me.
I do thoroughly enjoy your cover of “Take a Walk on the Wild Side.” Is it stressful or do you feel pressure covering songs by legends like Lou Reed? What inspired this cover? All Soundcloud says is that it’s been up for a year so I’m not sure if you covered it near the time of his passing.
Oh wow thank you. I forget that is up for the public to hear. I recorded that about a year or two before he passed but put it up on soundcloud later I think when I posted a a tribute I wrote to him when he died that I put on the SWIMM blog and then later in the SWIMM Zine. His life and death had real effect on me.
What are the most fun songs to play live or recording? The more rock-based songs like “Tisk TIsk”, the ones with a more psychedelic edge like “Too Old” or the ones that lean more towards folk rock like “Wanderer” and “Souvenir?” It’s okay if they’re all fun! And I could be completely mis-categorizing your music so correct my categorizations if you need to!
Haha it is always a little more fun to play the more aggressive songs but lately it has actually been super fun to play Beverly Hells. Noticing people singing along is kind of a wild feeling. Pretty darn invigorating.
“Beverly Hells”…delicious track. When can we expect more? Or perhaps a new record?
We will be putting another single out in early June. Then we will be putting out an ep a couple months after that and then we will get the album together for release. We are constantly writing and recording so it is an exciting time for us now since we are finally putting these songs out into the universe.
Touring! What has your experience been in the past touring? How about a pros and cons list. Let’s make it 5 pros and 5 cons. Feel free to answer this individually or collectively and be as creative as you please. If there are no cons, that’s fine, too!
- New friends that say “hey we have guest rooms with beds back at my house for you bro!”
- New friends that say “hey we have weed at my house for you bro!”
- New friends that say “hey we have some drugs for you at my house bro!”
- New friends that say “hey there will be SOO many chicks back at my house for ya’ll bro!”
- Seasons. Getting to see the Fall in Boston last year was absolutely wonderful.
- Not being able to sleep when you want.
- When you drive for 8 hours and then have to immediately get on stage and be pumped up.
- Being a “guest” wherever you go for a month straight gets pretty wearing.
Overall tour is sort of a love/hate thing. There is a lot about it that is kind of a drag. Just being honest. But there are moments that you just won’t ever get that have made my life so much better and without sounding too corny… those do make it worth it.
What was the very first SWIMM song and did it make it onto the ‘Feel’ EP? Along those lines, how long were you two playing music together before SWIMM became a thing and what are some of the biggest changes you’ve noticed, if anything, in your music since the beginning?
The first SWIMM song was “Souvenir”. I demoed that song years before SWIMM was even a band but never put it out until the Feel EP. Really the only change I could think of would be that the music is evolving into more lyrically focused music.
Big thanks to Chris Hess for answering my questions and being part of Music For Lunch and huge thanks to both Chris and Adam Winn for what they’ve given to us music-listeners!