Current Swell
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Current Swell


Band Rock Reggae


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"Interview - Dec 2006"



Louis Sadava is pretty proud to be “living the broke ass rockstar dream.” As the bassist for Victoria-based roots band Current Swell, Sadava has an excited tone in his voice when talking of his musical aspirations.

“It’s really rewarding,” he says. “We all really believe in the songs, so I think we’re ready to commit to seeing where it can go.”

Edmontonians might remember Sadava, along with lead singer Scott Stanton and guitarist Dave Lang, as teenaged members of long-dead punk act Screwy Louie. Sadava admits that it is a bit of a jump sonically to go from punk to his current band, which has been compared by many to Sublime and the Beautiful Girls. He ascribes the shift in genre to being a change in scenery.

“I’ve come a long way as far as playing in a band since my punk days,” he explains, “but the live energy of playing is the same. I still definitely listen to lots of punk.”

Born and raised in Edmonton, Sadava gladly lists the perks of living on the coast.

“The climate, for sure,” he laughs. “I like the size of [Victoria]; Edmonton was a bit big for my liking. And girls! They outnumber the guys on the island so much that you pretty much can take your pick.”

However, Current Swell currently has hopes of outgrowing the limits of Vancouver Island. The band has been spending much of their time in the studio, recording a follow up to their independent debut, So I Say. Sadava has high hopes for the new record.

“If you’re a local band playing a few shows around town you can do well, but trying to tour, financially, doesn’t really get you anywhere,” he continues, adding that while the band has done fairly well on its tours to date, they have still a long way to go before Current Swell is anything other than a labour of love.

“We get some money for playing, but if you believe in your band, you can’t just split it up and spend it,” he says. “You have to invest that into your band.” V - Vue Weekly (Edmonton)

"Interview - Aug 2007"

Stuck in Toronto rush-hour traffic on a smog-and-sun summer smoked afternoon might seem like a fish out of water situation for four surfer boys from Vancouver Island.

The Current Swell band members don’t mind. It’s summer; a welcome open window of time where the Victoria boys can pound the pavement with their music, leaving free time in the winter to pound the surf.

“I love Toronto,” shouts an enthusiastic Scott Stanton from his touring van ground to a halt somewhere in bumperville.

“Kensington Market is amazing and there is so much culture here it’s awesome… South Island surfing is all about winter. We aren’t missing anything right now. It’s a winter sport, so we tour as much as we can in the summer.”

Current Swell shares the stage with Hey Ocean! at a summer pit stop Friday, Aug. 24 at Garfinkel’s.

Water appears to be a theme, but only an h2O postal code is a common denominator.

“They may surf, but they aren’t surfers,” Stanton said of his friends Hey Ocean!

South Island surfers are wave warriors to the core, if you can find it under their five millimetres of rubber. A two-hour winding drive and half hour hike to sub-zero surfer hideaways in Jordan River, Sombrio and Port Renfrew can be rewarded with 10-foot-plus swells. Other times paddlers are skunked with glossy flat seas.

This is not the California bikini, always-hang-10 surfing most moviegoers are familiar with. Neither is Current Swell’s music.

The Beach Boys remain in Kokomo with Current Swell’s ebb and flow between reggae, folk rock, ska and jazz. The word-stuffed, rhythm-driven lyric word play of Ben Harper crests their music, often likened to Sublime — a band Current Swell wasn’t even aware of when the former Alberta boys first headed west five years ago.

The West Coast’s eclectic music scene first introduced reggae to founding members Stanton, Dave Lang and Louie Sadava, who lived in one huge house on Victoria’s famed Dallas Road. Sitting on the wild West Coast’s doorstep, ocean living led to laidback backyard and beach jams, which later culminated in basement sessions.

“It happened so fast,” Stanton said of the band’s success. “We were not planning on being a band. We were writing music just for fun. We got to do a couple of shows and a newspaper showed up and wrote an article on us. He asked what our name was and we didn’t even have one. A guy living with us at the time made us a web site for fun and he gave us our name. We went to change it so many times, but we kept getting a lot of shows with the name. It seemed to be working well for us, so we kept it.”

And the boys kept at it. In the garage, buddies shaped surfboards while the basement shook on with what would become Current Swell’s first album, So I Say.

Self-produced, mainly acoustic, the album was the white-water kiddie pool of surfing: lots of fun, but not much action.

As the title suggests, the band’s newest album, Trust Us Now, was the holy grail of getting barreled. Their sound, which now includes Chris Petersen on drums, runs the gamut: the track How Could They Trust lays into reggae, Five White Boys rattles out honky tonk rock and Short Stories blows into a bluesy harmonica with mandolin opening.

“It’s definitely hard to categorize us,” Stanton said. “Right now we are just (listening) to Peter Tosh, then we’ll throw in a little Neil Young. If I want to write a blues tune, then I do. If I want to write a ska tune, then that is how it goes. We really don’t care. We play what we want to play.”

And they play where they want to play. Music brought the boys to some of the biggest surf meccas in the world from 2005 to 2006: from Bali to Australia, Current Swell gathered an international fan base. International and later Canadian tours kept the islanders in great stage company with acts such as Bedouin Soundclash, Xavier Rudd and The Beautiful Girls. Current Swell opened for The Beautiful Girls in Whistler last year at the Boot Pub and did a Western Canadian tour with them this year. - The Pique Newsmagazine (Whistler)

"CD Review - Jun 2007"

I'm surprised local rockers Current Swell managed to find time to record a new album—whether they're opening for acts like the Beautiful Girls or headlining their own tour across Canada and Australia, these guys always seem to be on the road. But when you pop their second record, Trust Us Now, into the CD player, it definitely doesn't feel like it was a rushed affair. The playing is solid, with everything from slide guitar, harmonica, and the Hammond organ making an appearance. While the album can definitely be described as "surf culture influenced", it's no carbon copy of any one sound. Elements of blues ("O.D. II"), country ("Comin Home"), reggae ("How Will They Trust Us Now") and ska ("Reap What You Sow") weave through the record, and there's a lot of variation from song to song. It might be easy to dismiss these guys as simply a fun party band fans of Xavier Rudd and Sublime would groove to after a day on the waves, but Trust Us Now proves Current Swell is more than that. - Monday Magazine (Victoria)

"Interview - Jun 2007"

It's a typical weekday afternoon, and Louie Sadava is chatting on the patio of a Cook Street coffee house with his Current Swell bandmates. The four probably don't need any more sun, though. "We got really sunburned when we were out yesterday," Sadava says of the group's day surfing near Sooke. For a guy who grew up in landlocked Alberta, surfing is an unusual passion. But he shares it with his Edmonton ex-pat bandmates, Dave Lang and Scott Stanton. (In an ironic twist, the sole Island-bred band member, Chris Petersen, is a newbie to the sport.

Just as odd coming from an Alberta crew is Current Swell's mellow sound: Roots and reggae-inspired folk rock, the sort of stuff that would please anyone who spins Jack Johnson CDs. But it suits their new Island turf well. In fact, the band says they wouldn't have been able to go as far as they have had they stayed in Alberta.

"In Alberta, everyone listened to heavy metal music or rap music. Straight up," says lead singer Stanton, before Sadava pipes in: "Out here, there are a lot of different styles of music, but Alberta's just the rich ..."

"Just seeing how loud they can get their subwoofers to blast the latest 50 Cent," adds guitarist Lang, finishing his friend's sentence.

Lang, who took up surfing in high school, was the first of the three Alberta boys to move to Victoria. He wasn't so much scared out of the province by the sound of "Fitty" blaring from SUVs as he was drawn here by the ocean.

When Sadava and Stanton joined him five years ago, they picked up his surfing hobby. More importantly though, they were introduced to the West Coast's diverse music scene.

"When I moved to the coast, I found out about all sorts of music," says Stanton. "Like, even Sublime. I didn't even know about Sublime, and reggae."

But without that other quintessential ingredient of West Coast living -- the laidback lifestyle -- there might not have been a Current Swell.

"We were just so relaxed," says Lang. "Scott didn't have a job; I had a broken shoulder, Louie just moved here and dug the tunes. It was summertime in Victoria." With little to do but surf and play music, they started learning these new songs, and then writing their own. Now, five years, two records and one international tour later, things are different.

"Surfing is happening less and less because we're touring more and more," says Lang.

Touring does, however, offers plenty of opportunities for nurturing the band's second passion -- travel.

Between late 2005 and 2006, the band spent five months touring Bali, New Zealand and Australia. "It was more for travel than it was for music," admits Lang, though the rest of the group adds that touring extensively was definitely part of the plan -- if only to finance the travel.

Stories from their trip are littered throughout Current Swell's upcoming record, Trust Us Now, which they're unveiling at tomorrow night's show at Sugar. Many of the songs were written on the road.

The first track, Comin Home, is a pretty literal indication of the album's inspiration, and features some lines about busking for food money in train stations. The band's a little embarrassed that it's based on a true story.

And for Current Swell, music is a matter of pride. The recording of their second CD is the perfect example. When they think back on their first record, So I Say, there's grumbling, joking and at least one confession that it makes "a good coaster."

"So this disc is like really trying to make something that I want to listen to, whatever it costs," says Lang.

Determined to do things differently, and make a disc that's polished enough to stand up against anything in record stores, the band hooked up with local producer Matthew James, who offered to finance their recording. Without the pressure of the studio billing by the hour, the band says this experience was much more positive than their last.

"It was just a lot more relaxed, and I think that really helps," says Petersen, who joined the band last November.

Considering Current Swell can credit a lot to their easy-going attitude, is it possible to be too laid back? Possibly. Especially if the band thinks the beach is getting in the way of music. Being mired in the process of making their record wasn't enough to hold Stanton back from a surfing tour of Costa Rica's beaches.

"The disc wasn't done, so I had to listen to all these crap-ass computer sequences to hear if there was something in the songs I didn't like," says Stanton. "My whole trip was stressed." "Poor guy," jokes Sadava.

"So now, he owes us," adds Lang. "So when me and Louie want to go to Indo ..."

"Or if I want to go to California," says Petersen.

"Next album, Scott," says Lang. "You can do all the editing, recording, the artwork ..."

"And it'll just be a picture of Scott," suggests Petersen. "In like a thong bikini."
- Times Colonist (Victoria)

"Interview - Dec 2006"

How often does this happen? A local boy who loves to surf moves to Victoria, whereupon he meets two other like-minded ex-pats. They form a band, based on their love of folk, reggae and blues, then release an album and tour around Australia and Indonesia, catching waves by day, gigging by night.

Call it providence, call it blind luck -- Dave Lang, Louie Sadava and Scott Stanton prefer to call themselves Current Swell. Expect to hear a lot more about the group in the months and years to come -- they could easily become Canada's next musical stars with their laidback grooves and Jack Johnson-y vibes.

They've got a booking agent, a manager and a new record comin' down the pipe in the next few months.

"We wrote a lot of songs on our first album about goin' travelling," says Lang, one of two Swell guitarists and vocalists.

"On this one, we're coming home. There's lots of songs about the hardships of travelling. I got into a scrap with this pro surfer in western Oz in a bar -- he wanted to pee where I was peeing pretty much, so I had to show him what the prairie boys are all about. So, we like, have this song that's kind of about it."

As a result, he says Current Swell's newest batch of songs are, well, punchier than those on the group's self-titled debut. "I would say our old tunes are a bit more on the mellow side," Lang almost whispers the last two words.

"This one's more rock 'n' roll. It's not as 'I'm-at-the-beach-and-this-is-fun.' We rock out more -- it's a lot more fun playing these." - The Edmonton Journal

"Concert Review - Sept 2007"

Local band’s fame swelling with each concert
by Alex Grant

For a relatively new band, Current Swell can really pack them in.

Trust me. I was shoved up against the railing by a bunch of sweaty 20-somethings at Sugar Nightclub on Sept. 22. Not that I’m complaining. The show was awesome — sweat and drunken gyration aside.

Jon Middleton, with regular guest percussionist Roy Vizer, and Vancouver band Shukov opened for Current Swell. Shukov are much slower than Current Swell. Their music is definitely for a rainy day, which is great in its own right. But for a show headed by Current Swell, a pretty sunshiny band, they didn’t really set the right tone for the night.

Middleton and Vizer followed. These guys have some die-hard fans. Even though the pair wasn’t headlining this show, there were people in the audience only there to see them. A smaller venue would have suited their lullaby-like music more, but it was still beautiful — the perfect road-trip music. Look for Middleton and Vizer again on Oct. 20 at the Black Stilt Coffee House.

Around midnight, Current Swell clambered on stage — Phillip’s Golden Phoenix beer in hand. Louie Sadava, the bassist, had already stripped off his shirt, to the great enjoyment of plenty of girls and a few guys behind me. Current Swell dived into their laid-back, happy acoustic rock with vigour, and the crowd began their bopping frenzy.

Songs from their first album, So I Say, and their June 2007 album, Trust Us Now, were equally embraced by the audience. The energy with which these guys attacked their songs was admirable. By the end of the show, shirts, shoes, and many other miscellaneous articles of clothing had been torn off, and sweating like fat kids in parkas in Dubai, they played their music amazingly and did a great job of entertaining the crowd.

The best quote of the night was, “Don’t fuck with the police … just take it like a bitch.” True that, I say. Their new single My Red Shag Carpet was a highlight, too — it’s an incredibly catchy song that ignited the crowd.

After an encore with Middleton, I caught up with the Current Swell for a backstage interview.

They said that none of them had heard of Xavier Rudd or Jack Johnson prior to forming their band, which is rather surprising considering how similar their music is. Lead singer Scott Stanton attributes their mellow music to the band members not having jobs.

He explained that having escaped the musical black hole that is Alberta, the boys found themselves in Victoria and all they wanted to do was play a bit of folk music. As Dave Lang, who does the harmonica and back-up guitar, put it, their music came about “organically.”

The vibe and atmosphere Victoria has created is a perfect setting for their music to develop. While it’s clear that they’re still new to the fame, they’re starting to garner some attention (helped greatly by opening for such acts as Rudd, Bedouin Soundclash, and the Beautiful Girls).

These guys are definitely ones to look out for. But they’ll be embarking on a national tour, so we’ll have to wait some time until they grace the stage of their home base again.
- The Martlet (Victoria)

"CD Review - Oct 2007"

For their second release, Current Swell have become a much tighter group. Their first album, although excellent, didn't contain as many hook filled songs as 'Trust Us Now'. The band has put together the kind of album that will get them out of the shadows of their influences and at the forefront of the world they have been developing in. With songs like 'Five White Boys' and 'Chertermans Valley', Current Swell will soon find themselves sharing the radio airwaves with the same bands they've been sharing stages with across Canada, the US, and Australia. With influences and similarities to Jack Johnson, G. Love, and The Beautiful Girls, they have created an album that is fully accessible and incredibly well written. The lyrics are sharp, the music is tight, and the hooks are practically rapid-fire. The bottom line is that Current Swell are one of the most promising new young acts around, and this album proves that they have what it takes to roll with the big guys.

-Tony Gisondi -

"Interview - Oct 2007"

Contrary to popular belief, guitar strings aren't just for strumming.

You can recycle them as bracelets or, as Current Swell discovered, they can be used for MacGyver-type car repairs.

The reggae-blues rockers were driving through the Kootenays when the muffler on their van came loose.
They tried tying it up with bungee cords, which only ended up melting from the heat.

"We had to break off guitar strings and hold it up until we got to Edmonton and got it all fixed up," says guitarist/vocalist Scott Stanton.

"It worked well. We could've probably made it across Canada and back."

Strings didn't come in handy during a recent party at Current Swell's home in Victoria. The police came knocking -- and threw the cuffs on Stanton, guitarist Dave Lang and bassist Louie Sadava, who all happen to be Edmonton natives and surfing addicts.

"The cops came by three times before we shut the party down," says Stanton.

"They came back a fourth time, no one was in the house, we were just cleaning up, and they literally kicked down the door 'cuz music was still playing. They arrested me right away. They were beating Dave up. They pulled out a stun gun and pointed it right at me, then took us away. The next morning, we woke up and they took pictures and fingerprints of us. We got off with a few hours of community service."

Stanton relives the night on O.D. II, a bluesy-folk number on Current Swell's second album. Gritty and groovy, Trust Us Now features harmonica-laced songs about the original gangster (Al Capone), the loneliness of the road (Comin' Home) and their love of playing the blues and reggae (Five White Boys).

"We listen to old Delta music -- Robert Johnson, Muddy -- and old reggae music," says Stanton.

"I know we're white boys playing traditional black music, but we don't care. We love it. There are a lot of reggae bands on the coast and they're all white dudes. I've seen a lot of reggae documentaries and a lot of the true roots reggae guys believed their music is for everyone."

Absolutely -- which is why bands such Bedouin Soundclash and illScarlett (see below) are making it big with their reggae-flavoured tunes.

"It's totally in right now," says Stanton. "I think it was lost in Canada for awhile. You go to certain places and that's all they listen to. Canada is a little bit sheltered when it comes to music. When I lived in Alberta and moved to the coast, I discovered all this new music within the first week."

Current Swell perform Saturday at the Starlite Room with Jon & Roy and Jesse Dee.

Tickets are $13 (plus service charges) at Ticketmaster, Blackbyrd and Listen.

Sandra Sperounes, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Friday, October 26 - The Edmonton Journal

"CD Review - Nov 2007"

Current Swell
Trust Us Now


As you might expect for a band comprised of Edmonton ex-pats who escaped Alberta for the surfing and island vibes of Victoria, Current Swell wears its musical influences on its sleeve: Jack Johnson, Sublime, reggae, soul and some more reggae are all instantly recognizable on the band’s sophomore record, Trust Us Now. Luckily for us, it seems that jacket fits quite nicely.
The band shows a surprising amount of sheer ability for a group that was presumably formed in order to avoid getting “real” jobs. While the record certainly reminds you of their roots, the musicians manage to balance homage with original creative talent over 13 songs. Ambitiously produced for an independent band, the LP will provide a strong backbone for Current Swell’s frequent cross-country tours. - Vue Weekly (Edmonton)


Current Swell - At Home (2004)
*7 song demo produced and engineered by Current Swell

Current Swell - So I Say (2005)
*12 song LP recorded at Fresh Air Studios in Victoria
*Engineered and Produced by Current Swell

Current Swell - Trust Us Now (2007)
*13 song LP recorded at the Audio Garage Studio in Victoria, BC
*Produced and engineered by Matthew James and Current Swell

Current Swell - TBA LP(2008)
*Currently in production at Lemon Loaf Studios in Vancouver, BC
*Production being done by Todd Simko
*Mastering to be done by Gavin Lurssen



Having formed on Vancouver Island in 2004, Current Swell have grown through 2 full-length albums, 3 national tours, 5 regional tours including a support tour for Australia's The Beautiful Girls and opening slots for bands such as Xavier Rudd and Bedouin Soundclash.

Through the thousands of kilometers, busted down tour vans and extra-value meals comes a devoted fan base which continues to spread the globe.

The band are already recording their third studio album which is being produced by Todd Simko (Xavier Rudd, The Be Good Tanyas). Current Swell spawned on the beaches of Victoria, BC and have grown to festivals and sold-out evenings.
Their energetic live show incorporates folk, blues, reggae, rock and ska; appealing to diversified crowds while creating one definitive sound.

***What Promoters Say:***

"We loved the music the vibe and with a crowd ranging from 19 to 60 years of age it couldn't have gone better...I have a feeling with the talent in that band it wont be long before they are too big to being playing the Dog."
-Peter Meades (Black Dog Village Pub - Bayfield, ON)

"....we have had the opportunity to book Victoria's "Current Swell" a couple of times recently, and have every intention of putting them on a regular rotation. They have become favorites of our staff & customers alike, with an energetic live show, some cool covers, and original material that speaks for itself. A pleasure to work with personally, professionally & technically...."
-Robb Robertson (Mount Washington Alpine Resort, BC)

"The energy created by a Current Swell performance compares to a healing release.
Their talent, charisma and positive vibrations leaves you feeling uplifted, energized and full of joy."
-Heidi Nielsen (Howe Sound Brewing Company - Squamish, BC)

"Current Swell have performed at a number of special event concerts produced by Victoria BC Ska Society. Their appearance on Victoria's 9th Annual Ska Festival Grand Finale Concert will be the second time in as many years they will appear on our largest annual event. We are happy to have the opporunity to work with a local band that has so much promise and that are fair and fun to deal with overall."
-Dane Roberts (Victoria BC Ska Society)