It’s midday on a Tuesday morning and Harrison Swann is at the launderette. “I’m staying at my grandparents’ house in Lewisham and the washing machine’s broken. I had to sublet my room ‘cos I’m skint,” the Talk Show frontman explains. The South London band have played “something like 20 gigs in 30 days” in the spring, so it’s no surprise the quartet (completed by guitarist Tom Holmes, bassist George Sullivan and drummer Chloe MacGregor) haven’t seen a fiver in weeks. But Harrison’s not the kind of guy to linger on his struggles; he’s absolutely buzzing with life at the moment.
The band’s first single ‘Fast and Loud’, a jagged post-punk bop inspired by the punk rock poetry of John Cooper Clarke and ‘80s New Wave heavyweights Echo and the Bunnymen, was released in April on Yala! Records. Harrison and his manager got tattoos to celebrate.
“I was talking to my barber Danny who told me his mate runs a label, so he said he’d bring him down to one of our shows,” the singer begins of their affiliation. And the mate in question? “At the end of our set [label-founder and former Maccabee] Felix White just walked straight up to us and said, ‘I want to release your first single’. I was just like, ‘Great! Where do we sign?!’”
“Nobody’s ever offered me a better career alternative than music.”
— Harrison Swann
Brought up near Manchester’s Old Trafford football ground, Harrison spent his teenage years fawning over used vinyl in the Northern Quarter and soaking up the “unavoidable” musical heritage that’s proudly graffiti-ed all over the city centre. “I’m a massive fan of The Smiths, but it’s not just Manchester bands that inspired me - it’s the uplifting Scouse indie bands like The La’s, Pale Fountains and Shack, as well.
“Guitar music needed to re-learn a lot of that stuff I think, ‘cos it got so shit when everyone started saying ‘indie’s dead’. There’s always going to be a core of die hard fans sitting in a dirty corner with an out-of-fashion genre who just want to do their own thing, and I think I was one of those people.”
When Harrison moved to London, it was with the sole intention of starting a band. “Nobody’s ever offered me a better career alternative,” he shrugs. And now? “We’re working on the next single, we’ve just been in the studio. We’re all really excited for it, just so people can know some more stuff by us at the festivals and when we hit the gigs hard around autumn time.
“But for now we’ve got six weeks off to do some life admin,” he nods. “It’s a good time to go to the launderette and put a wash on.”
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