Wednesday, February 20, 2002

The Sways

How did your band come together?

Mike – Me and Neal played as an acoustic duo. Max the bassist interviewed us for a radio show and got in touch afterwards. Andy the drummer lives down the road from me in Harringay (plus he’s my brother).
Max – The creative geniuses/guitar legends let me play!! Then it turns out the brother of the vocals is an awesome drummer too.
Neal – Nuff said. Its been a bitty process – we can now play as a solo act (!?!), 2-piece, 3 OR 4 piece. Buy as much or as little as you like.

Please introduce yourself and your associates, what qualities do you each bring to the band, musically and otherwise.

Mike – I play guitar and sing. I don’t like to accept usual things, or be late.
Andy – I play drums and the harmonica. I bring lots of heavy bags and friends who work at recording studios.
Max – I play the double bass now; started on the normal bass, but got this crazy electric double bass soon after.
Neal – Lead guitar, and a bit of ‘perfectionist faffing’. Oh and always making Mike late.

What inspires you, musically and lyrically?

Mike – I think difference and randomness.
Andy – honesty, musically and lyrically.
Max – I have to agree with difference, but its also got to be damn fun to do. For me that’s creativity.

On a Sways curated festival bill, who else would play?

Mike – Kings of Convenience, Iron and Wine, Interpol
Andy – The Arcade Fire, Soweto Kinch.
Max – Damn mike said KoC and Interpol… Right now I would add The Bravery.
Neal – Gomez, Cantaloop, and probably Tom Kelsall.

What motivates you to record and gig?

Mike – Gigging for the buzz and release of playing I guess. Getting to scream in public. Recording because I quite enjoy the whole process.
Andy – Recording for the satisfaction of putting a finished disc in my CD player after all the surreal nights in the studio. Gigging for the thrill of carrying a drum kit around London on night-buses in the rain at 3 in the morning.
Max – Recording is only good for us, and others, to enjoy music in their own home. Gigging is what I really care for. I just love live music, playing and listening.
Neal – I like listening to my own music on trains. Always sounds better when on the move. That goes for all music.

If the musical world was ideal, it would…

Mike – Not be driven market forces – the customers are wrong.
Andy – be run by musicians, or at least people who like music.
Max – Says it all, there would be less lambs about, people need an easy medium to really explore what they like about music.
Neal – Not ‘big-up’ so much tat. Not be so fashionable and fickle. Be cheaper. And it would have venues who actually generate audiences themselves, rather that sitting on their fat arses while bands do all the work and bring their own audiences. Surely that removes most of the point of ever gigging? Plus more seats, less moshing and more back street jazz bars in the UK.

Why should people buy the NYQUIST THEORY compilation?

Mike – Because it is nice and diverse, and will maybe open some people up to different styles of music.
Andy – because everyone’s a winner.
Max – Because we are on it, and a load of other good bands too.
Neal – Because all the cash goes to Amnesty Int.

Suggest a publicity stunt to increase your profile in the UK.

Mike – Dying of a drug overdose.
Andy – convince The Queen to choreograph her next Christmas message to the popular Sways song “Man You Have Got To Love It”, somehow.
Max – not give a rats ass about anyone, or release a flock of gay seagulls in the middle of London.
Neal – (Max what the hell are you on?) Probably something related to nudity but I’d have to think about it for a while.

What do you consider your best achievements in music?

Mike – Playing stuff that I genuinely don’t think anyone else does (pretty much).
Andy – having people who came to see a different band stay to watch our set and buy a CD.
Max – Finding and playing with a great band, and maybe being considered being great too? You’d have to ask the others.
Neal – (Once again Max, what the hell are you on?) We’re still achieving – not sure we’ve reached any pinnacles yet, although its amazing to look back and see how things have developed. I think our best achievement has been to overcome a few problems, like Mike constantly moving house like some magnet with a ‘like’ charge. We had a bit of a rebirthing experience and changed tack to playing Tangerine music. That was probably quite an achievement in itself.

What more would you like to achieve with your music?

Mike – Get big in Europe without knowing it.
Andy – to get people dancing at a night-time slot on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury.
Max – Inspiring people to enjoy and explore making music on their own. I need the last one to be true for that though.
Neal – I think we should get a 52 piece orchestra to come to all our gigs from now on just to play the two-and-a-half minute song ‘The Carbonate Ballet’.

If you weren't in a band just what would you do with your evenings?

Mike – Probably read more books.
Andy – Try to produce my own tracks.
Max – listen to music and mess around with instruments.
Neal – Work on some other way to get out of a lifetime of Transport Planning.

What are your future plans for gigs and recordings?

Mike – We are just mixing a new album, so keep a lookout. Gig-wise, as much as possible I guess, and playing outside London/Southampton a bit more.
Andy – what Mike said.
Max – play whenever or wherever I can. I don’t care where, just like playing.
Neal – Yes outside London – I want to tour! Plus I think we need to get on the radio more. Watch out for some interesting band metamorphosis in the near future as well. Bit like bacteria reproducing. Say no more….

What, with regards to the UK music scene, upsets you?

Mike – Seeing bands with lots of paying friends but no originality do well (bitter).
Andy – McFly, Rooster, and the exploitative industry their grinning faces represent.
Max – The way venues are run. Plus, dragging my amp to a gig and them telling me not to use it!
Neal – (Max, the amp thing is hardly ‘UK music scene’ is it?) In terms of UK scene, I find it upsetting that we don’t have any commercial recognition of genres like blues, jazz etc. When do you ever see or hear things like that on mainstream radio, except specialist radio 2 stuff? We are driven by what is fashionable and yet I think if it became ‘cool’ to listen to acid jazz (which it undoubtedly is) then it would be plastered everywhere. There’s no love of music from the UK music industry. Also, bring back the guitar solo – what ever happened to those chaps? Also, why is Jools Holland the only ‘live’ music show on TV? In Europe, they have loads of live music on TV. I really like watching bands play.

Please name your 6 discs for a Desert Island?

Mike – Interpol (Turn on the Bright Lights), Kings of Convenience (Quiet is the New Loud)
Andy – Neil young (Harvest).
Max – Sadly, once again, I agree with Mike. Would probably like to take a Ben Folds and Dave Matthews CD for old times sake.
Neal – I think I’d take the new Kings of Convenience album (Riot on a Noisy Motorway) just so we had the set. Does anyone know if this is 6 discs each or 6 shared between all of us? Tom Kelsall demo is a must by the way.

3 Books for a desert island?

Mike – Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, The Castle
Andy – Mike’s copy of Hitchhikers (since he took 2 of the bands allocated 3, damn him)
Max – I don’t care, I don’t read that much.
Neal – Probably the most critical item, even though like Max, I rarely read. Something long perhaps. Can I take a pad and pen and write my own books as and when I need them?

1 Luxury Item for a Desert Island?

Mike – Guitar
Andy – Hammock
Max – Yacht
Neal – A comely woman who I wouldn’t share, and who isn’t too fussed about what her luxury item is going to be, thereby potentially affording me a further luxury item.

Any other words of wisdom?

Mike – Try to live more sustainably.
Andy – make music for yourself first, and others second.
Max – eat drink and be merry
Neal – Nope. (Except to say – Max, what the hell are you on??)


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