Shoegaze legends SWERVEDRIVER have just announced their Australian tour where they will be playing all the classics and tracks from their new album I Wasn’t Born To Lose You, their first album since 1998. Tomatrax caught up with frontman Adam Franklin to ask a few questions.
Last year you released your first album in 17 years, was it hard to return to the studio again after all this time?
Quite the opposite actually, it was probably one of our easiest sessions. Although we hadn’t been in the studio as a band to record Swervedriver songs for a while, we’ve spent all our lives recording and in studios so at this point we’re a lot better at it than we used to be.
Given the following you had from your back catalogue, did you feel any pressure in living up to fans’ expectations when you reunited?
Well, certainly when we were writing we wanted to make sure we had a strong collection of songs of course as there’s nothing worse than a band coming back after a time away and releasing something sub-par. We were confident that we had some killer material before we went in to record and I guess we managed to live up to the fans’ expectations because the album has been very well received!
You recorded part of the album in Melbourne, what made you decide to made some of the album in Australia?
Our drummer Mikey lives in New York and we were in Australia touring so we figured that since we were all together it was a good time to slip into a studio and get some stuff down. We discovered Birdland Studio and contacted Lindsay Gravina and it was inspirational being in his studio.
Was it hard to pick what you put on the album?
We had maybe 18 ideas to work from initially so there was a bit of discussion as to which would become recorded songs and make the cut. Thankfully we all agreed on the ten that we were gonna commit to tape and we were already getting an idea of the sequence of the album as we were rehearsing the songs prior to going in the studio.
What made you pick ‘Setting sun’ as the album’s single?
It’s the shortest song on the album so doesn’t out-stay its welcome for starters. It sounds enough like Swervedriver for people to be happy about that but also has some interesting counter melodies and that hypnotic, almost math-rock thing going round and round which throws a bit of a curveball. So we felt it was the perfect teaser track to make available first.
Where did the title I Wasn’t Born To Lose You come from?
It’s the last line of ‘Everso’ and it’s also the last line of the first verse of ‘I Want You’ by Bob Dylan. When thinking of what to call the album we searched through the album lyrics and we all agreed that was an interesting title. It’s unusual perhaps for a band’s album title to contain the word ‘I’ but we felt it was open-ended and evocative. I have an idea of what I think it could mean which has to do with the passing of time and other people have come up with suggestions as to what they think it means, so it can be left in the mind of the listener.
What were you doing while the band was on hiatus?
Well I released six albums between the fourth and fifth Swervedriver records under various monikers: Toshack Highway, Adam Franklin, Adam Franklin & Bolts of Melody and Magnetic Morning. Check ‘em out! (Most of them are up on Bandcamp)
Are there plans for another studio album?
Yeah we’d like to get another Swervedriver album out, maybe next year and have been working on ideas for that.
You’ll be touring Australia next month, what can fans expect from your show?
Well, it’s Swervedriver so it’s loud and cathartic! We’ve been mixing up the set up between old ‘hits’ from all the previous albums, a few ‘deep cuts’ from the EPs as well as the new album of course. It all seems to hang together very nicely.
You’ve just come from a tour of South America, how did that go?
That was great! We’d never been there before and the crowds at the shows were a mix of older fans that had waited years to see us as well as kids that have only recently discovered us. There was a certain amount of crowdsurfing just like it was 1991 again! Many interesting bars and restaurants and museums too.
When writing what comes first, the words or the music?
Anything goes really. I’m constantly typing little lyrical phrases or overheard snippets of conversation or lines from newspapers or books or TV into my phone and sometimes you get a great title and think “how would a song with this title sound?” You can also find yourself humming little melodies into the phone or recording a guitar riff and then you have to go in and decipher that. It’s interesting when the words comes first and you’re setting the music to the lyrics because you might end up with unusual-length verses or something.
Do you ever listen to your own music?
When you’re writing songs you’re listening all the time of course, thinking how to improve or change this or that. Or just digging it. When it’s all recorded and you’re listening to mixes, that can be quite intense and then finally trying out running orders of the whole album to get the best flow. By the time that’s all done – and just as everyone else starts to hear it for the first time – you’re kind of putting it down and letting it go. Then you might hear it out somewhere in a club or on the radio and either you think “oh yeah, this sounds great!” or “fuck! Why didn’t we turn that guitar up?” – hopefully the former. We’ve always hated the recording of ’Son of Mustang Ford’ and that’s an example of something we could do better now with the experience. ‘Rave Down’ was immense though.
What other music do you listen to?
Oh y’know, all sorts of stuff. I’m listening to The Advisory Circle right now. I’ve been listening to a playlist this week that has tracks by Miles Davis, Ennio Morricone, John Fahey, Real Estate, Four Tet, Dirty Beaches, Kurt Vile, Aphex Twin, Darlene McCrea, Beach Boys and Broadcast plus the title track of David Bowie’s last album and the second song on Radiohead’s new album. Been getting into a bit of Steve Reich too. It’s all quite nice for dozing off to.
What do you have planned after your upcoming tour?
There are one or two little projects in the pipeline that it’ll be good to concentrate on. We’ll be working on these new Swerve ideas too with a view to maybe releasing some kind of mini-LP/EP thing where you don’t have to think in terms of an album, plus there’ll be more live dates inevitably.
Select Touring Presents
“I Wasn’t Born To Lose You” Australia Tour June 2016
Wednesday 22nd June 2016
The Triffid, Brisbane QLD
Tickets Avail: http://www.oztix.com.au
with guests Ultra Material and Kellie Lloyd (Screamfeeder)
Thursday 23rd June 2016
Corner Hotel, Melbourne VIC
Tickets Avail: https://corner.ticketscout.com.au
with guests Grinding Eyes and EXEK
Friday 24th June 2016
Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle NSW
Tickets Avail: https://bigtix.com.au
with guests East Coast Low and Holy Soul
Saturday 25th June 2016
The Factory Theatre, Sydney NSW
Tickets Avail: http://www.factorytheatre.com.au
with guests Sounds Like Sunset, Grinding Eyes and Holy Soul
Tuesday 28th June 2016
Amplifier Bar, Perth WA
Tickets Avail: http://amplifiercapitol.com.au/
with guests Childsaint and Dream Rimmy
Check out Swervedriver’s website to find out more!