What’s the best way to relax on a sunny summer afternoon in New York City? Check out Brooklyn-based band Swimclub as they rock the scene with their refreshing pop sound! The duo (and sometimes quartet) are fighting their way out of the underground indie pop scene, providing some fresh lo-fi vocal tracks along with playful tunes reminiscent of bands like Army Navy or Teenage Fanclub. Most bands don’t survive the fight to get their music out there, but Swimclub is a great exception with maximum results. With the release of their first EP Funhouse For Fiends, the band is taking hold of the summer and getting their name out there for all to see! I sat down and email-interviewed Greg Adams of Swimclub about their sound and about themselves:
Pick&Pen: How did the band form?
Greg: I lived in an apartment in Albany, NY with Jim and Gene and we just started writing songs together and then going out to open mic nights around the city to play them. They weren’t so great. Then Jim met Kevin, who happened to play drums and Swimclub was complete. Gradually we all made our way down to NYC.
PP: What inspired you to begin writing music for Swimclub?
G: I taught myself to play the guitar kind of late, in my early to mid 20’s, and the idea of just playing covers seemed really boring so I immediately started writing my own songs. I didn’t record them so I like to remember them as works of genius.
PP: What is your process – how do you write the lyrics and set it to music?
G: I usually start with the music then add a melody. The lyrics are always the last thing. Sometimes they come quickly but there have been times where I’ve written everything but the lyrics and the song just remained unfinished for months. I have songs that are 5 years old that I’ve never finished because I hit a wall with the lyrics. Sometimes I wish I had my own Bernie Taupin.
PP: What bands inspire you?
G: There are so many. The Kinks, The Zombies and the The Beatles are all big for me but any time I hear a good song by anyone I feel compelled to try to write one just as good or better.
PP: What type of music do you classify yourself as and why?
G: I usually describe us as pop. Rock makes me think of bands like the Black Crowes or the Spin Doctors.
PP: Why did you turn to electronic music?
G: We might have one or two songs that could be considered electronic but I think for us it’s just a matter of serving the song. If it’s clearly asking for a wall of synths, we have no choice but to comply.
PP: What inspired your look and why?
G: We don’t really discuss our look very much other than the philosophy that nobody wants to watch a bunch of out of shape, beer bloated dudes in baggy shorts playing indie pop.
PP: What’s next for Swimclub?
G: We’re going to play a bunch of shows in NYC this summer (our next one is at Union Hall in Brooklyn on June 29th) and try to get into the studio to record some new songs in the next month or so.
PP: What’s the first album you ever bought?
G: One on One by Cheap Trick. I was 9 or 10 and I heard the song “She’s Tight” on MTV. It blew my mind. My mom even bought me a t-shirt that said “…and on the 8th day god created Cheap Trick.
PP: Where do you go to find new music and why?
G: Now I find it online almost exclusively, like most people I guess. I used to read a lot of music magazines and go to used record stores but more and more I realized that I could find anything and everything online. It’s kind of sad because I used to love doing those things but it doesn’t really make sense any more.
PP: What is one thing you can do that’s pretty unique?
G: I can exist in NYC without a job, steady income or trust fund for up to 2 years.
PP: What is your drink of choice and why?
G: I usually stick to beer so I can have some control over how drunk I’m getting.
PP: If you could play with any band, still around or not around, who would you choose and why?
G: Is it lame to say The Beatles? I know It seems like the obvious answer but If you look at pop as a religion then The Beatles would be its god, right?
But for now, check out their video for “She’s A Teaser”!