Swim Deep talk forthcoming new album 'There's A Big Star Outside...'

Interview Swim Deep talk forthcoming new album ‘There’s A Big Star Outside…’: “We’re so proud of these songs”

Ahead of the band’s set at SON Estrella Galicia’s Brighton micro-fest this eve, we spoke to the band’s Austin Williams about their forthcoming new album.

It might feel like only a few days have passed since SON Estrella Galicia last took over Brighton’s Prince Albert pub for a knees-up (it’s actually been six weeks, eek), but the Spanish beer experts are back for another round already! Tonight (Wednesday 15th May), they’re once again heading to Brighton for a micro-festival that boasts an ace line-up including local acts Currls and Projector, as well as a headlining spot from indie darlings - and longtime DIY faves - Swim Deep.

Gearing up to release their new, fourth album ‘There’s A Big Star Outside…’ next month, we caught up with the band’s Austin Williams, who tells us a little more about the more reflective spirit of their new record, working with Bill Ryder-Jones, and what exactly punters can expect from their forthcoming live shows.  

Can you tell us a little about what you’ve been up to recently?
Rehearsals for tour are in full swing, and so are the mic’d up arguments about BPMs of songs. It’s funny because some of the band don’t have mics for rehearsals so when they try to get involved no one can hear them, and when I speak I have a bellowing reverb and echo on it that makes whatever I say sound a bit more epic. 

You’re currently gearing up to release your new album 'There’s A Big Star Outside…’. It’s your first album since 2019’s ‘Emerald Classics’ - how’re you feeling in the lead up to its release? 
Nervous! I’m so proud of these songs - we all are - but there is a nibbling feeling that the time where we are making the best music just so happens to be the time where we have the least amount of eyes on us, typical really. I work in The Compton Arms and a guy the other night said hi, said he loved our band but also didn’t realise we had new music out or are touring, [which] made me think not everyone is on Instagram - we need to buy some billboards. But I am excited too, we have some incredible loyal and enthusiastic fans and I can’t wait to give them this album, and hope it gets passed around. 

Can you tell us a little about how you wanted to approach this new record? It feels a little more reflective than your earlier records; what sort of headspace did you find yourselves in this time around? 
I did reflect a lot, I’m not the quickest cat out the bag, so when I reflect on something I think it’s a living miracle. Having a baby makes you think of your own childhood, and brings back memories that were perhaps buried before, saved for a rainy day. It’s intimate and heartfelt. 

What did you find yourself drawn towards exploring, both musically and lyrically, in this new album?
I was drawn back to the guitar, and the simplicity of a good song played on it. I was drawn to Red House Painters, I was drawn to Bill Ryder-Jones. I was drawn closer to myself, my demons and angels, and I was drawn closer to my own band. 

“I was drawn closer to myself, my demons and angels, and I was drawn closer to my own band.”

— Austin Williams

You actually worked with Bill Ryder-Jones for this album; how was that as an experience? What do you think Bill brought to the equation? 
He brought everything to this album, without a doubt the sixth member of the band, which I’m happy and honoured to have experienced. Mark my words, he will be remembered as one of the true greats of our time once he’s done with it. He also managed us all individually so well - he tamed the egos and was the puppet master we desperately needed to make a great record. 

Is there a particular song from the record that you’re most proud of or was a real break-through moment, and if so, why?
I think 'Very Heaven' felt like a ‘moment’. I was recording vocals, and it was the first time the band had heard the melodies me and Bill had made to the song. Although it felt good, I didn’t realise that there was people in the control room on the brink of tears [at] how good it all felt. They all ran into the vocal room after and we all hugged in excitement, as if we’d just won the lottery or something. 

You’ve got a host of live shows on the way too; how are you looking forward to playing these new songs? Are you approaching the live show in any different ways for this upcoming run?
Yeah, we definitely feel like a more capable live band now, especially after recording a lot of these songs as live takes, it all just feels a lot more natural and organic. On 'Mothers' and 'Emerald Classics', we’d have to decipher 50 tracks of synths and parts and work out how the fuck to play them all live. This time it just feels like it’s about the songs. 

You’re going to be playing the Estrella Galicia show at the Prince Albert in Brighton, which we’re sure will be a cosy affair. Are you looking forward to it? What can people expect from the show? 
We are! We're so excited to play a new set and showcase some new stuff, and to do that in a small packed room will (hopefully) be a good way to kick it all off. 

Swim Deep play Estrella Galicia’s micro-festival at The Prince Albert in Brighton tonight (15th May).

There’s A Big Star Outside…’ is out on 7th June via Submarine Cat Records.

Tags: Swim Deep, Features, Interviews

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