Wild Swim
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Wild Swim

Oxford, England, United Kingdom

Oxford, England, United Kingdom
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"Wild Swim interview with AfterDark magazine"

AfterDark talks with Oxford based electroacoustic/alternative band `Wild Swim`Started in 2005 under the name Picturehouse and with an EP release last October, `Wild Swim` are back with a minimal acoustic sound which should one day find a place in your collection

Band Members:

Richard Sansom - Vocals, guitar, synth extra percussion.

Carlos Posada - Guitar, keys, electronics, backing vocals and extra percussion.

Jacob `Live` Lively - Bass, keys, extra percussion.

Sam Robinson - Drums and percussion.

Jamie Jay - Guitar, keys, electronics, `cello and extra percussion.

What is your daily routine when you are not recording?

It differs for all of us. Carlos and Live have both just set off for Oxford university (Pembroke and LMH) to study music. Whilst Richard, Sam and I have all just got ourselves typical `year-out-work` (bar and restaurant based) for this working year. If we aren`t recording/rehearsing, we`re either working or out and about Oxford or round at the houses of friends. We still all live near each other in Oxfordshire which is nice. If ever we go out to Oxford separately, we always seem to end up just the five of us walking home talking about the band!

The bands name changed, why did this come about and why `Wild Swim`?

We were called `Picturehouse` and then we were contacted by an Irish band called `Picturehouse` who are signed to Warner and were together from 1996-2004. `Picturehouse` frontman Dave Browne was very reasonable but made it very clear that the situation could escalate to court cases. This was right in the middle of our A-levels, just when we were excited about getting out of our respective institutions and getting on with being in our band...you can`t imagine how depressing it was; he had literally forced us to start again! We were all on holiday in Ireland (coincidentally) later that summer and found a book by Kate Rew (from the Guardian) called `Wild Swim`. Live found it after we had spent a few long hours trawling through the book shelves for inspiration. We grew to love it and thought it was a perfect fit. After we had all given it the nod, we regrouped and made the transition (after getting Kate Rew`s approval first of course). The transition has gone surprisingly well, people are more interested in us than when we were `Picturehouse`.

With such time and effort which went into producing the EP and getting your name out there, how did the issue with the name effect you as a band?

Well, the EP was released shortly after we became `Picturehouse` (August 2009) so we tend to see that EP as a thing from the `Picturehouse` era. This explains why `Wild Swim` marks a new beginning with new songs as opposed to a recovery from `Picturehouse`. However, some of the tracks from that EP are still up on all of our sites and I can safely say that we`ll be playing tracks like `Still life`, `Empty fist`, `Snare`, `The cult` and, of course, `Ugly people` in many live sets to come.

What are your Musical influences? And have these changed since meeting each other and forming the band?

We all met when we were 13 and I am not too keen on admitting our lowly taste back then! Now, we listen to all sorts. Carlos, Live and I are all academic musicians so of course we have an appetite for classical music. Carlos and I are minimal techno/deep house producers and DJs under the name `Cubiq`, that can sometimes have an impact on the music of `Wild Swim`. Carlos, being Colombian, brings a lot of Buena Vista Social Club to the table! I produce hip-hop and other more urban genres for a label in London called NLT, this can often be heard on our sound. Sam, the drummer, is a big fan of folk music and Richard loves his surf rock! We all like our own little things but we also have a lot of common ground. Main artists would be Radiohead, Arthur Russell, Four Tet, Joy Division, Grizzly Bear, CAN, Wild Beasts, The Roots, Rage Against the Machine (the only artist who has remained an inspiration from our younger days), Aphex Twin, James Blake, James Holden and Jeff Buckley. I have probably missed a lot out but that list is just from the top of my head.

How did you all meet?

Richard, Carlos, Live and Sam were all at prep school together. For secondary school, Richard, Carlos, Sam and I were at school together whilst Live was at another. We met at secondary school and they introduced me to Live. We immediately teamed up and started writing music together as if we were always meant to do so.

What is your Song writing process?

It`s very weird! I understand that most bands have a `singer-songwriter` who will come up with the song structure, chord progressions and main melodies/thematic material. In `Wild Swim`, Carlos will write a song or I will. Sometimes it might be a fully mapped-out song with everything already decided on apart from anything concerning vocals. Other times it might simply be a good sounding chord progression. We will then work together to have the instrumental side of the song finished before Richard steps in and adds all the vocal-based material. It might be changing though, we recently finished a song called `Another night` which Richard wrote start to finish and the rest of us just chimed in...I think that`s how most bands do it...but I can`t be sure.

When are you looking to release the first `Wild Swim` album? And can you tell us the direction it will take?

At the moment, the game plan appears to be getting proper management. We have been recording, producing and releasing our tracks for free online and playing gigs to promote them/us for the last five years and it`s a comfortable and productive way to work whilst trying to get the attention of labels. We used to (ages and ages ago) always be talking about `what would go on THE album`, but we started to think that debut albums should come when a band has at least got a label backing it. In some cases this is not true but, from here, it doesn`t look like an album is on the cards as far as our UN-signed career is concerned. We`ll definitely keep releasing single tracks and EPs on our official site though. Oh, and we have got a really exciting dubstep/grime/reggae/jazz/alternative/indie track featuring the Oxford/London based MC Mr `ShaoDow` (www.mrshaodow.com) that we finished recording back in March `10 and will hopefully be releasing in January/February 2011...unfortunately, no-one`s allowed to hear it yet but a short preview is up on our official website (www.wildswimmusic.com)...I will say that it has a George Gershwin-inspired trumpet solo in it!

With such an array of instruments at your finger-tips, what is your favourite and why?

For me, it depends on the part. In some songs, the guitar will be my favorite because of the part I play in those particular songs like `Snare`. Others, I prefer playing the keyboard or triggering clips on Ableton Live on my Mac like `Meek & mild (Black keys)`. I don`t have the space/effort to start bringing my `cello to gigs yet but it is appearing on recordings more and more. The `cello was my first ever instrument at the age of 6, it can often be my favorite instrument. Although, there`s nothing like a good piano is there?

If you could have any artist appear on a `Wild Swim` album who would it be?

And, where would the live performance be, if anywhere?

Interesting question. I have absolutely no idea who the others would choose. I seem to remember The Maccabees collaborating with Roots Manuva. Having Roots Manuva on a track would be great - such a great measured voice...effortlessly cool! I do think it would have to be vocalist though. There is not enough room for more instruments in `Wild Swim` (unless we `went nuclear` and got an orchestra in!) The single with Mr ShaoDow does prove that Richard gells really well with vocalists from other genres. I think the performance would be, if anywhere, out in the middle of the sea on a giant pontoon, big enough to house us, our gear, Mr Manuva and the whole crowd! Or an oil tanker...I`ve always wanted to use one for a big `one-night` event!

Do you have any plans for touring this year?

As I said, we are looking for some good management and are putting a lot of effort into promoting ourselves, writing good songs, recording better songs and rehearsing so that we play great songs live. We are also doing bi-monthly gigs in our `pool house` (even though there isn`t a pool...it`s just a quasi-pun for `Wild SWIM`) in Woodstock, Oxfordshire for friends and fans. We did our first one at the end of September and it was magical.

For future fans of `Wild Swim` tell us, do you have plans to play in Cheltenham this year? And where can we hear your music now?

The official website is: www.wildswimmusic.com and on there one can find links to any of our related sites. We are definitely planning on playing in Cheltenham this year...we`re planning on playing all over the UK, and maybe even crossing just over the channel once or twice...if our excessive amount of gear can handle it! All the tracks on the official site are free downloadable so please take our music and pass it on to anyone who might like our sound. Keep your eyes open for the single featuring Mr ShaoDow called `Rolling blackouts` that should be coming out at the beginning of next year. People `in the industry` have shown great enthusiasm for it, so it should be a BIG release. Otherwise, listen to the sample preview on our official site.
- AfterDark (Cheltenham music magazine)


"Gruff Trade blog review"

Previously known as Picture House, Wild Swim are an Oxford band beginning to get a bit a bit of attention from Radio 6 on the back of their gorgeous new demos. Perhaps worth listening to first would be Meek and Mild (Black Keys) where the calming voice of vocalist Richard Sansom blends seamlessly into a mellow, almost pastoral intro before the song elevates towards a relaxing yet tuneful chorus. The accompanying songs Happy Heat and The Surrender are much in the same vein and seem to suggest the band have found their most effective direction, somewhere in between Wild Beasts and what Wilco would have sounded like had they grown up on a farm together. Well worth checking out also is their older track Ugly People which honestly sounds like it could be a Timbaland production away from Radio 1... in a good way. - Gruff Trade blog


"Demo of the month Nightshift (Oxford's local music magazine)"

It’s always an absolute pleasure to dig
something genuinely new and innovative
out of the demo pile, and this is one of the
most unusual offerings we’ve unearthed in
some time. Wild Swim were previously
known round these parts as Picturehouse
but a new name has also brought with it a
new sound, one that, excitingly, is
desperately difficult to pin down. Like
Radiohead – to whom they bear no
noticeable musical similarity – Wild Swim
cherry pick from myriad genres and
cleverly, delicately knit the resulting
disparate influences into something
completely cohesive and their own. They
wash in with a backwards slice of not-
quite-psychedelia, verging on classical
minimalism, breezing through what might
be an airy Japanese operetta by way of
Klaus Nomi and the wired pop of The
Associates (particularly in singer Richard
Sansom’s gentle but highly-strung voice).
Glitchy electronica and house, lysergic
folk and hip hop shimmer by adding their
little bit of magic before disapparating,
the outstanding highlight of the whole
demo being ‘The Surrender’, which would
make the perfect soundtrack to a drug or
dream sequence from a future Alejandro
Jodorowsky movie. In fact, if there’s a
single fault we can pick in this it’s that
the CD itself is scratched so the first song
skips horribly halfway through. It
doesn’t spoil the experience too much
though, and this is a great band who will
hopefully make their mark under their
new name sooner rather than later.
They’re also planning a collaboration
with Mr Shaodow in the near future,
which will be something well worth
holding your breath for.

- Nightshift, Oxford


"Wild Swim at number 6 on DRMP's November chart 2009"

Track - 'Still life' - “From the opening guitar sound, to the end, nothing motionless here” - Daiser Rodgers Music Promotions


"'Don't ask me but here is a clue'"

I can’t seem to get ‘Ugly People’ out of my head. It’s a fantastic song by an Oxford-based band, Wild Swim, that I think everyone needs to go and listen to. Wild Swim is made up of a few guys who went to my school, and I have been a fan for a while now. Before today, I hadn’t heard any of their stuff in a while, so when I was emailed a link to their myspace, I was really pleasantly surprised by how much the band has developed.

Wild Swim is a bit of everything. They are electro, indie, alternative, house, and there is even a dubstep remix. The band’s members (Richard, Jamie, Carlos, Live and Sam) all seem to have their own unique style, which, when combined, creates the awesome, bespoke sound that is Picturehouse. They have been fortunate enough to play with Foals, DJ Hype, PRDCTV, Hearts in Pencil (among others) and to have been offered support slots with Bloc Party and Florence and the Machine. This band is definitely one to watch. If you like good music, you’ll like Wild Swim.

- Lydia Smith


"Wild Swim review"

The the strange, yet alluring Wild Swim. If you are initially put-off by their strange blend of [well-spoken] vocals, dance synths and beats, the I urge you to wait for the songs to evolve into the danceable that should have them packing dancefloors in 12 months or so. They will seep into like warm honey.
Crank it up, and you can really hear the crispness of the production from these fresh-faced Oxfordshire. - The A&R bum


"BBC Oxford Introducing quote"

I think you'll REALLY like this! - BBC Oxford presenters


Discography

A glimpse into the night.
Bright Eyes EP.
Single with Oxford/London based MC Mr ShaoDow (www.mrshaodow.com) is yet to be released.

Photos

Bio

Wild Swim are a five-piece band from Oxfordshire who have been going since 2005. They have the instruments, influences, experience and ideas to make great music. Wild Swim tastefully and stylishly play music of many different genres; rock, electronic, folk, dub, house, minimal and much more. Wild Swim were named Demo of the month in their local Oxford music magazine 'Nightshift' in January 2010. They have been played on multiple occasions on BBC Oxford and on BBC 6 music. They have much live experience in different UK cities playing full sets or acoustic gigs. They are currently looking for management to get them more gigs and a raised profile. Two of the members of Wild Swim produce and DJ minimal techno and deep house under the name 'Cubiq' (www.cubiqdj.com). One member of the band produces a variety of music for vocalists for the London based label 'NLT' under the name 'Drive-error' (www.nltproductions.co.uk/driveerror).