On the positive side, working hard on your songs
putting on a good show always leads to a good reception and positive reviews. However, translating that into something more meaningful and long-term has always been a challenge @SWAPBand
Episode #370 : A.V.A Live Radio Behind The Music with Jacqueline Jax : http://www.blogtalkradio.com/avaliveradio/2016/10/05/episode-370-ava-live-radio-behind-the-music-with-jacqueline-jax
GETTING TO KNOW SWAP
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio
Luke McDermott, Tom Lynch
SWAP (named for the feminist activist group “Scottish Women Against Pornography”)
Recent state lockout laws
have put ridiculous restrictions on noise and alcohol sales. I can’t tell you how many of the music venues we used to play have shut down in the last few years. Though there’s still a couple of cool places. The Factory Theatre and Oxford Art Factory are still going strong.
Though I guess that makes us part of the problem.
There also seems to be a desire from major music
outlets to achieve mass production which sadly leads to less creativity and diversity in sound and lyrics – particularly in Australia.
The Australian music scene is always trying to find the Aussie version
of some American or English artist. In the past, it was Silverchair as the Aussie Nirvana or Kylie as the Aussie Madonna. These days it’s progressed into the non-stop search for Australia’s Florence and the Machine or Black Keys and if you don’t sound like that, the old career progression through airplay on local radio is now closed to you.
On the positive side, working hard on your songs
putting on a good show always leads to a good reception and positive reviews. However, translating that into something more meaningful and long-term has always been a challenge.
Practice practice practice.
We work hard at our songs and our shows and we’ll take criticism on board. We use what we’re already good at to add things that other up and coming bands either can’t do or just don’t do.
When we first started out a few years back we used to cop
a bit of flak for being boring on stage, though, no one ever said we couldn’t play our instruments. So we focused on adding a few different things to keep people entertained. We knew we could play guitar so we used that to our advantage and so we’ve bolted two guitars together, covered them with lights and play both of them at the same time. People now call us a lot of things, but boring is not one of them.
Stanley Jordon – He’s a jazz guitarist
who really perfected the two-handed tapping technique. The first video I saw was him playing Stairway to Heaven on 2 guitars at once. I guess if I had five minutes I would take the time to apologize for stealing his ideas…We have a couple of songs that we kind of owe credit to him for. The double guitars that we added to our stage show we owe to Stanley Jordon and Michael-Angelo Batio (the electric blue lights are all SWAP though).
My older brother Pete had played drums
since he was 13 so it seemed natural for me to pick up the guitar since I don’t remember Hanson ever having a need for two drummers. I practiced guitar for 4 or 5 hours a day during my teenage years, mostly out of boredom and not being able to get laid and I figured this would help. It didn’t.
When it came time to start gigging,
we filled the remainder of the band with a couple of other kids from high-school and named ourselves “Happy Hour” with the plan of attracting a larger audience by filling punters with the false hope of cheap beer. Pretty much by default, I started to sing. I became a frontman who’s guitar playing would inspire awe and a voice that would mostly inspire the audience to leave the room. Sadly, this experiment was destined to fail.
I decided to start a new band
while Studying music theory at the University of New South Wales in Sydney and I decided to keep Pete on as a drummer given we still lived under the same roof and it might have been a bit awkward otherwise. We found another committed guitarist, Tom Lynch, with the technique, temperament and desire to join us in producing overly complex, alienating garbage and a Dream Theatre inspired singer Tim Butt (yes, his real name is Butt) who also helped perpetuate this dream probably a little too much.
We went through a few bass players over the years
before finally settling on a Serbian man named Egon Balnozan who’s windmill technique is unparalleled.
After realizing that the appreciation
of some of our earlier songs was a little too niche, we changed our focus to writing catchy yet complex music that could be appreciated by a wider audience and putting on a stage show that would set us apart from other bands in the Australian music scene. Eventually, this led to building double-guitars, wiring up tonnes of lights and more running on stage than an Olympic relay team.
Heroes of the West
The song is about western intervention in the middle-east and the fallacy of the American war heroes.
There’s kind of a juxtaposition of the idea of a comic book style hero with the reality of war and military intervention and the idea of amongst all the fabricated glory and flag waving, we’re doing a lot more harm than good.
Purchase Link: https://swapband.bandcamp.com/
We take the piss a little bit in this song
with the time changes and key changes. The intro is all over the place, the first verse is in 15/16 timing – it took forever to write up to the first chorus and get it to sound good. But we loved how it hits you straight away with so much going on.
I ended up simplifying the rest of the song
or else we never would have finished it. Though, Tom, our other guitarist kind of called me out on this – I said “simplified”, he said “half-assed” – so we worked together a bit after the first cut to vary up the vocals and make it a bit more interesting.
We did end up putting a lot of work into this one –
it’s not your standard 4 chords, verse chorus verse rock song. There’s a lot of content packed into a song that’s less than 4 minutes long. But I think that helps it stand out and it still flows really well.
We recorded this track at my parent’s place with the rest of the album –
a low budget affair to say the least – I’m sure one day we’ll find a label that wants to invest in us. But just because we’re poor and cheap, it doesn’t mean we don’t work hard – we spent a long long time recording and mixing to get this one just right. Though I did write and record that second guitar solo in about 15 minutes so I guess you could call that not working hard. I hope you can’t tell…
Depending on how much I want to sound like a wanker,
I may refer to our music as neo-romantic hard rock. Basically, we try to write music that hasn’t already been written by someone else which means we generally throw the old 4-chord song out the window.
We spend a lot of time practicing
but we don’t want you to have to study guitar theory to appreciate our music. This probably sets our new album apart from our previous one where we spent all our time writing guitar solos and then kind of threw some half-assed vocals on top at the end. I’m glad to say that we’ve moved past that… Sort of.
We have a lot of melodic guitars hooks and we use a lot of polyphony –
melodies on top of other melodies to make things sound a bit different. We also use a lot of backing vocals to make things sound a bit thicker and try to add a bit of punch to the lyrics.
We don’t write lyrics about ourselves a lot,
I feel that feigning depression or going out of our way to sound deep or emotional would be somewhat insincere. We’re also not going to write songs about how hard high school is in a desperate attempt to appeal to an audience 10 or 12 years younger than us (*cough* Blink 182 *cough*). On the new album in-particular, our songs are very politically or socially orientated and are focused on things we (and hopefully others) care about.
Sydney, Australia –
Sadly, there’s not much of a music scene left.
Social Media Links: