In The Studio: Swim Deep: “It’s taken us time to develop this musicianship”

Swim Deep: “It’s taken us time to develop this musicianship”

Swim Deep talk transformation as they gear up to release their second album, ‘Mothers’.

One listen to ‘One Great Song and I Could Change The World’ and it’s clear this is not the same Swim Deep. Having already promised DIY a “bigger, ballsier” second album, if the tracks they’ve unveiled so far are anything to go by, they’re sticking to their guns.

“One important thing is that we want people to hear as much of the new stuff as possible now,” enthuses keyboardist James Balmont, after the band’s set at Glastonbury last month. “Because I don’t think the big step is obvious until you’ve heard lots of it. Maybe you think we’ve just done a weird one, when you hear one song.”

“And seeing the album artwork,” chimes in guitarist Higgy, “it brings a lot of the story to it. It reflects the album.”

When it came to the follow-up to their 2013 debut ‘Where The Heaven Are We’, it was about making sure that all the pieces fit perfectly. To do that, they had to love each and every track on there.

“We all said we don’t want anything on this album that hasn’t been one of our favourite songs at some point,” agrees James. “From our perspective, there’s absolutely no filler. We’re proud of every single song from this album. We didn’t record some of the songs thinking ‘it might be really good’. We love all of them.

“There’s eleven on the album, but we recorded loads,” Higgy takes over his thought process. “All the ones we picked are all amazing. There’s not one where we’re like, ‘We’ll just put them on’. And there’s a couple that we really wanted to put on, but we didn’t want to make the record too long.”

As it turns out, the story of ‘Mothers’ actually began sooner than anyone would believe. “Straight after the first album came out,” reveals James, “we went away to a cottage and did loads of writing there. The roots of ‘To My Brother’ and ‘Hotel California’ were written there. We wrote loads more, but we left all of them.

“We ended up writing more and more, and we found a new place. This was the music we wanted to be making. It was building and building on top of things. We could have easily gone from those sessions and recorded some good songs, but it wouldn’t sound like it does now. It’s taken us time to develop this musicianship. We’ve got way more wider influences, we’ve been buying instruments we never knew existed.” And thus, their minds have opened to veering in new directions, and approaching things with fresh ideas.

“‘Fuelho Boogie’ was just a jam,” James thinks back to the track’s origin. “We were all in our rehearsal space and we had this riff going round and then we got a drum beat, and I put some chords on it. Me and Ozzy [vocalist Austin Williams] went to do a demo of it, and we thought we’d see what happens. The demo ended up being six minutes long because we were putting things on top of each other. It got longer and longer after that.

“It was more verse-chorus on the first record,” he goes on, touching upon another difference between this and their debut. “But we’re trying different approaches now, rather than standard pop songs. That’s why it feels like such a good album - there’s a real variation in the songs. We’ve got pop singles, spacey Pink Floyd shit, big climaxes, singalong round the fire songs.”

Taken from the August issue of DIY, out now. Swim Deep’s new album ‘Mothers’ will be released on 18th September via Chess Club / RCA.

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