Digging Deep

Swim Deep frontman Austin Williams speaks to ClashMusic...
Swim Deep

“I used to live in Worcester and so did Higgy, and when I moved to Birmingham I met Cav and Zach. In the early days it was just me and Higgy in Worcester with another member playing really raucous punk music to our friends in pubs. We were friends with some of the guys from Peace who were in a different band as well then and we were just playing every Saturday.

In Birmingham it started off with a band called Troumaca who used to run a night at The Adam & Eve. The first gig we did was Troumaca, Peace and us and that’s where it started, right there. In Birmingham, before it all started, we were all just getting fucked together; the only thing that changed was we were getting fucked together then going on stage and playing our music to each other. It was a real kind of community vibe, everyone was having such a good time.

When I first moved I didn’t think I was going to make any friends, I was just going up there because I wanted a change. I met Zach through a band called Cajole Cajole, who we’d done a show with when we were in our old band, and then it was about a year down the line when we asked him to be our drummer. We met Cav at a night called Zombie Prom, everyone there knew each other; it got to the point where everyone’s friends of friends always seemed to be in the same place at the same time. From that arose the heart to hearts and deep conversations you have with people when you get to a house party – there was a lot of that going on but people started putting their words on paper I guess.

When Cav joined that was when we felt like we had a proper band together. Before that we kind of aimed to have a shit time on stage, we wouldn’t take it too seriously, but when Cav joined we had the confidence to go through with it and take it further than Birmingham. It also happened that Peace were doing good things and getting there... it’s a kind of movement where everyone is motivated by each other, and because we’ve always been with Peace, these two bands next to each other, we’ve always had that push off each other.

The fact that bands like Jaws are coming through as well is great. Connor from Jaws had a birthday party, I think it was his 19th, and he invited us and Peace to play the show. We played it and met Connor there and he said it was that night that made him want to start a band. Within 4 days he put something up on Soundcloud as a solo thing and then he got a band together. That’s given us another boost because it’s someone else who’s coming up with us. Then there’s Wide Eyed who I think are really talented guys and making some really cool music and there’s Superfood as well who are just insane. It’s so good to havetalented musicians around you who you actually think are making good songs. It does seem a bit too good to be true but there must just be something in that beer at The Rainbow.

When we got a manager the first thing he did was book us a couple of days in a studio in Birmingham. We turned up really hungover, on comedowns, and we didn’t have anything really written, just some ideas, and we wrote and put everything down on the spot. I didn’t have any lyrics, I just wrote them down when I was in the vocal booth but it all just came together. There was something about those feelings we were feeling, that made the song King City sound how it does. You can hear a bit of melancholy in the song, even though it’s on the surface a quite upbeat, bright song. I think that contrast worked really well for us.

We ended up getting the train to London and having dinner and getting wasted at endless industry meetings. It was a really weird time for us because we were still living, and spending most of our time, in Birmingham. That was so exciting, just having so many people interested in you, talking to you, taking you out – it’s amazing when you realise that the music industry is as good, and as bad, as people say it is. Everything that happens, that you think is like a myth, just happens to you and it’s really exciting but I can also see how people can get carried away.

I could talk forever about the Spector tour but I can’t tell too many stories! It was us, Spector and Splashh and we just knew we were all going to get along straight away. I could have just sat down and hung out with any one person off that tour, including the techs and the sound guys, it was a real family. It was so good, having three bands bouncing off each other – the energy was so high. It was a real learning curve for us as well, playing every day for 30 days, we really got our shit together on stage and we’re proud of our live show now. We’re still working on it because I think it’s the main attraction for a band, you can hear and read about a band online but I think seeing them live is the main attraction, it’s real art.

We went to Belgium to record the album at a place called ICP in Brussels. We went there because we wanted a different air, we didn’t want to record in England, and we went there and it was great. I think you’re really happy getting to an album. If it’s an album that someone is going to listen to all the way through you should make an album that you’re living all the way through. I might change my mind but I think it’s really important for everyone to be in the studio every day together. I didn’t not see the guys for 3 weeks and it was really bonding. Your music bonds so much better if you’re really comfortable with each other and I think if you’re really natural with each other you can just look at someone and catch their eye and they know you want to play slightly differently. You don’t even have to speak anymore, you’re that close. We wanted to make an album that really represented what we were doing right now, we didn’t want to look ahead at what we’d be playing in two years, we wanted it to sum up how we were feeling and what we were into at the time we recorded it.” 

Swim Deep's next single 'She Changes The Weather' is released on May 6th and their debut album 'Where The Heaven Are We' is out on July 29th via RCA/Chess Club Records.

Words by Paddy Hughes

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