Black Swans

Black Swans

 Liverpool, England, GBR
BandRockPop

Black Swans are a brand-new outfit from Liverpool with debut album The Life We Chose out in 2012. If you are looking for ballpark comparisons - and, regrettably, who isn't? - think the place where Coldplay meet Biffy Clyro meet early Radiohead, but with a momentum, and a spin, all their own.

Biography

The one stumbling block any new act faces is that they lack any discernible history, a lifespan of rich experience from which to draw. What is it that makes them what they are? The near mandatory life cycle these days of school, band, deal, album, split, then stint on I'm A Celebrity (Get Me Out Of Here), offers up precious little in the way of real substance.

Black Swans are different, a band 5 years in the making, but time which has seen them incrementally shape and hone and perfect their craft until they considered them fully ready. A painstaking approach, perhaps, but a worthy one.

"Over the years we've realised many things," says singer Jamie Wright. "For example: you never write a song for the sake of writing a song. It has to mean something, to say something, to communicate. And never underestimate the importance of melody. You can't be self-indulgent. You've got to be streamlined, you've got to capture the attention immediately."

For these reasons and more, Black Swans' first album, The Life We Chose, sounds less like a debut than it does a fourth or fifth. This is expertly crafted music. It boasts just nine songs, each of them as epic and widescreen as they are intimate and subtle and full of nuance. Their adherence to melody has paid off, too: everything here is buoyed with the kind of instantaneous uplift that marks out only the truly great bands.

So the 5 years' hard graft was worth it?

Jamie shrugs. "It's that whole cliché of wanting to follow your dream," he says. "This is all we've ever wanted to do. And we're doing it."

Jamie Wright and Adrian Crane, 29 and 32 respectively, have known each other since schooldays. Growing up together on the Wirral, they came together out of a common love of the same music.

"We came of age during Britpop," says Jamie. "Oasis, Blur, Suede, and, before them, Stone Roses."

But their respective musical educations began much earlier than that. Ade was a classically trained pianist, Grade Eight and concert hall-bound, before, as so many teenagers do, ultimately gravitating towards the guitar, convinced it was the more exciting instrument. Having mastered the piano, he decided he'd be able to teach himself the guitar without the benefit of lessons. This he duly did.

Singer Jamie, meanwhile, did likewise but without the preternatural expertise, a player by ear who believed, rightly, that music was as much about attitude as it was technical ability.

They played in various bands throughout their school years, but by the time Jamie left university, he fell into a proper job, commercial property, while Ade landed work as a studio engineer. But the music bug refused to die. In 2004, their friendship was then potentially compromised: "Ade started dating my sister," Jamie says. The compromise, mercifully, never became awkward. Two years later, Ade married his sister, "and so he's my brother-in-law now, but my friend and collaborator first."

In 2006, Jamie gave into the obvious, aware that he was never destined for a desk job. He ditched the commercial property gig, and formed a band with Ade instead. His sister had recently invested in a bar in Liverpool, and was looking for an act to grace its small stage. Her husband and brother realised that this was the perfect opportunity to try out some of their songs. Quickly gaining a local reputation, they found a bassist and drummer, and their first band, Hudson Fall, was born. A straightforward rock and pop outfit, Hudson Fall fly-posted their many live shows right across Liverpool and the north-west for the next four years, recording a couple of EPs and an album along the way.

"We got a lot of advice from a lot of people over those years, but much of it turned out to be bad, or else not quite right for us," Jamie says now. "But it was a useful experience, and we learned a lot from it."

They decided to focus exclusively on their music, too, with no outside interference. In order to make enough money to do so, they formed a secondary act - a covers band - and almost instantaneously became one of the more popular ones in the UK, their revue shows taking in 50 years of classic rock and pop. It taught them how to perform, and how to play for, and impress, any audience.

"We were doing up to 200 gigs a year every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night," says Ade, "and the money we got from it paid not only the bills but also allowed us to invest in our own studio."

And it was here they spent every weekday, 9 to 5 and beyond, working on their own material. Things were going well, but in 2009, the band came to its natural end. The bassist went to Australia and never came back, the drummer went elsewhere, and Jamie and Ade decided on a complete overhaul. They squirrelled themselves away in their studio, and wrote a bunch of new songs, convinced that this time they would self-manage, self-produce, and self-sustain.

They emerge, now, at last ready to make their impact.

"The record industry has ch

Discography

Debut single 'Be There' out now.

Album 'The Life We Chose' out summer 2012.

Various worldwide radio play including being playlisted on Q Radio, BBC 6Music, NME radio play and NME radio acoustic session February 2012.

Set List

Be There
This Looks Like Yesterday
Killing Time
Never Coming Home
Heaven
Calling Out For
Worlds Apart
The Voices
The Life We Chose