swim swam swum
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swim swam swum


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"swim swam swum interview"

Thursday, May 7, 2009
Interview: Swim Swam Swum

It's a nice feeling to be completely blown away by a bands performance. It doesn't happen that often, really, but oh when it does! And that is what happened to us last month as we were packed into a small, hot, basement in NE Portland and Swim Swam Swum took the stage.
All conjugation jokes aside, Swim Swam Swum is a good band that clocks in comfortably between, say, your Weezer and your Built To Spill--but w/enough originality and energy to stand on their own.
Last week, we caught up w/Swim Swam Swum and decided to ask them some questions. And here is how it all went down....

-We first saw you play at a house show w/Paper Brain and Patterns. Aside from those two bands, are there any other bands that you are currently enjoying in Portland?
Yeah, there are too many bands that we've been enjoying, currently some are, Point Juncture, Worlds Greatest Ghosts, Deer or the Doe, Reporter, Datr, Junkface, etc. etc.

-And speaking of house shows, do you like playing them? Or rather, would you prefer a good club show or a good house show? And why?
We love playing house shows. We prefer playing house shows because tons of people usually go and its more of an intimate atmosphere and usually super fun.

-How would you describe Swim Swam Swum to someone that has never heard you play?
It is great music to dance around your room naked while listening to.

-How long have you been a band? And how did you all meet and start playing?
We've been a band since 2005, there have been a few different drummers and bassists. Our current drummer Adam Draper, has been in the band 2 years, our current bassist Courtney Sheedy is a new addition as of January, its our best line up ever. We actually all met each other through our mutual friend Skyler Norwood of Point Juncture, Wa. and Team Evil.

-Influences, past and present?
We influence people to do naughty things including but not limited to prank phone calls, flashing, putting condoms in other peoples shopping carts and watching their expressions at the check out, secretly ripping out the last page of a book your friend is reading etc. etc.

-Albums? Anything in the works? And would Swim Swam Swum be more likely to record DIY style in the basement, or in a studio w/an engineer?
We just finished recording a full length at Miracle Lake Studios with Skyler Norwood. We would love to do a DIY style recording in our basement but we don't have the equipment to do such a thing. The album should be out in May or June-ish.

-Whats next for you guys? Any summer tour plans?
We are just trying to get this album wrapped up and hopefully a tour in the fall.

Thats it! Thanks!
- Ten Second Buzz

"deep waters"

With Portland currently weathering a deluge of jangley guitar-pop, distinguishing oneself from the masses of emerging talent in the field can prove an imposing task. While a majority of Portland's musicians labor to develop a sound that will set them apart from their peers, Swim Swam Swum's Matt Taylor has already latched onto a songwriting ideal that has propelled recognition of his band's music.

As he put it, "I try to write energetic simple songs that are fun to play and hopefully fun to listen to as well."

The simplicity of this mission statement has been key to his success, as all of Swim Swam Swum's exports have been approachable, direct and contagious to a fault. While indie music as a whole has spent the decade moving further toward the orchestral, Taylor and company have been working to crystallize the near perfect momentum of its elemental legacy.

Taylor conceded that he's "not trying to write adventurous music," but even though Swim Swam Swum travels in some well-trodden territory, their expertise in the landscape makes up for their dearth of sonic breakthroughs. In a musical league that would likely include Weezer and Built to Spill, Swim Swam Swum's songs come readymade with enough rhythmic enticements to make an audience move and enough melodic hooks to keep it that way.

This formula of equal parts lopsided guitar and bright, chirped vocals opens itself up to infinite nuance, and Matt Taylor has happened upon one of its more fruitful embodiments. Persistence with his craft has further refined his playing, but the meandering path of Swim Swam Swum's development has proven to be a much more elusive progression.

"I moved to Portland in late 2004," Taylor said of the band's genesis. "I love the music scene and I have a bunch of friends living here. I played guitar in a bunch of bands but never tried singing, so I started writing songs and attempting to sing."

Building off his significant guitar chops, Taylor crafted songs that reflect his mastery of the instrument as well as a keen ear for melody. With this short catalogue to call upon, he started what has become the long and circuitous process of forming Swim Swam Swum.

"I was sick of being in bands that broke up after six months," Taylor said. "So I write all the songs. That way if someone quits the band, they can be replaced."

This attitude proved to be useful as Swim Swam Swum's initial months were repeatedly marked by lineup changes that caused the band to progress in fits and starts.

Initially Taylor enlisted drummer Seth Denlinger for the group, and the two recorded a four-song EP with prodigious northwest producer Skyler Norwood (Dirty Mittens and Point Juncture, WA). In keeping with his role as the region's premiere hired gun, Norwood "affected [Swim Swam Swum] in a surprising way" and helped the group come out with an EP that sizzled with their trademark energy.

While that 2006 release is still the only recorded output available from Swim Swam Swum, Denlinger left the band shortly after the recording, and Taylor was once again beset with the task of raking the classifieds for collaborators. This time he was able to accumulate a drummer as well as bass player, both of whom could approximate the sound that had been lain out on the first EP. With his amorphous lineup in a temporary state of stability, Taylor set about releasing and promoting the EP through his self-realized Lola Records, a "record label that [Taylor's] friends made up so they could pretend to be on a label."

The EP's reception by the Portland music world was generally positive, and their energetic four-song calling card was quickly circulated throughout Swim Swam Swum's hometown. Though Taylor has since changed bass players, it seems that the longevity and general feel of Swim Swam Swum's output has been solidified by this release, which has allowed the band to go to work writing and recording more material.

Taylor professes that the group has "evolved and experimented a lot" since their initial outing with Norwood and that changes should be apparent in their next recorded effort, which is tentatively scheduled to begin production in February.

For a solid band with a reputation for not playing beyond their means, Swim Swam Swum has managed to cause a good deal more excitement than most groups who traffic in such well-trodden musical ideals. That the band doesn't venture far beyond their area of expertise has been well established, but for that very reason, the prospect of a more experimental album from them is intriguing.

Whatever sonic territory Taylor and company choose to explore next, it is sure to be expertly realized and well worth the attention of rock fans in Portland and beyond.
- the vanguard

"up and coming"

Ever had one of those rotten days where it seems like nothing could possibly lift those thunderous clouds from above your weary head? It's like your brain ate some bad shellfish and will be tethered to the toilet all night long. That's where I was a few weekends ago. But then I saw Swim Swam Swum at a house party and those wrongs were righted. They fixed me with bright, bouncing melodies, round bass, lots of major scales, and a kind of honest nerdyness reminiscent of There's Nothing Wrong with Love-era Built to Spill. ANDREW R. TONRY the Portland Mercury - the pdx mercury


1 four song ep, 1 full length album



Currently at a loss for words...