Next Wave #1036: Swim School

In Association With Vero True Social

Edinburgh's Swim School are "excited" to have released their debut EP, 'Making Sense Of It All', and lead singer, Alice, described it as "our best stuff yet". The EP leans into their infectious sound, while exploring darker themes.

‘Making Sense Of It All’ was written during lockdown last year. "We’re constantly trying to play around with our sound and come up with something unique. The EP is heavily influenced by alternative music from the '90s such as grunge and shoegaze. " This can be heard in ‘Outside’ and opening track ‘Let Me Inside Your Head’.

Mental health is a primary theme. "The lyrics are about the struggles of opening up, toxic relationships and friends turning their backs on you," Alice tells us. "We are always told to speak to others about mental health, but this can be easier said than done for some people. For the lyrics in 'Anyway,' I wanted to highlight how it may be difficult for people to simply open up to others. It’s challenging to try to explain an unexplainable feeling to someone and expect them to understand what they are going through when they don’t even understand it themselves."

In their single 'Anyway,' the heavy lyrics are contrasted against an upbeat sound, depicting "how it feels to be in that situation – sometimes people seem fine on the outside, but are really struggling on the inside."

Lockdown gave the band "so much time to explore new bands and sounds, and gave us lots of time to write new material". Swim School's sound has changed as a direct result of the lockdown. "We are big fans of bands that aren’t afraid to try new things and explore new sounds. We find bands that experiment and genre hop very inspiring." Some of their favourite bands are Wolf Alice, Foals, Sorry, Nirvana, Turnover, The 1975, Haim, Smashing Pumpkins and My Bloody Valentine. "Over lockdown, we all got really into shoegaze and grunge bands such as My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus and Mary Chain and Cocteau Twins, which has heavily influenced the sound of the E.P."

"We definitely changed a lot musically. Anyone that’s been a fan for a while can see that our singles from the E.P. are very different compared to the first singles we ever released. It definitely brought out our heavier side, probably based on the general feeling across the whole world, writing a ‘happy-sunny-indie’ song didn’t feel quite right, you know?"

They'd "always fancied dipping our toes into some heavier sounds" and now they have done so, with great results!

Are they excited to play live again? "There is no better feeling than seeing people singing, dancing and having a good time to your music. I think over lockdown we’ve learned to enjoy every show regardless of crowd size or if it's sold out or not – I think we sometimes took playing live for granted before the pandemic, which has completely changed now. We have a busy year ahead live-wise so we can’t wait."

Swim School have headline shows lined up and are itching to play live again. "After having 18 months off from live shows, we have a lot of catching up to do."

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'Making Sense Of It All' is out now.

Words: Narzra Ahmed
Photography: Rory Barnes

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