Interview with Dead Swans vocalist Nick Worthington
Formed in 2006, Dead Swans have taken Europe’s hardcore scene by storm with a only a demo, EP, and split release release to their name. Despite the lack of a prolific outpouring of material, the band has made their mark by showcasing a discordant melodic attack reminiscent of American Nightmare and other poignant bands that emerged in the early 2000s and melding this foundation with double-bass and other elements of modern metal and hardcore. Enforced by a live presentation that evokes immeasurable buzz every time the band hits the stage, Dead Swans have proven that they are here to stay. Following an extended hiatus, Dead Swans reformed in 2011 and are about to punctuate their six-year career with their first official full-length LP tomorrow on Bridge 9 Records, entitled Anxiety and Everything Else. Just coming off of the heels of a successful European tour run with Philly’s Horror Show, we catch up with Dead Swans front-man and vocalist Nick Worthington for a brief interview, as he touches on the making of Anxiety and Everything Else, plans for 2012, and more. Without further ado, let’s here from Nick..
Interview by Joshua T. Cohen
Joshua BTS: Greetings. Thank you for taking a few moments with Blow The Scene readers from around the world. Let’s kick off this interview by having you introduce yourselves and declare your weapons of choice with the Brighton’s hard hitting practitioners of melodic hardcore, Dead Swans.
Hey I’m Nick, I sing in Dead Swans.
Joshua BTS: Dead Swans rose from the ashes of Nervous Wreck and other UK hardcore bands with the intention of only being a side project. When did you realize that Dead Swans would take over as your primary musical focus?
Nick: I guess shortly after Southern Blue was released, around that time everything picked up pretty fast from there, we were playing alot more shows around the UK and making plans, but still at that point I don’t think we would have expected to have taken it as far as we have.
Joshua BTS: It often seems that bands that rise from a sense of spontaneity, as Dead Swans have, are able to capture an immediacy that is sometimes lost with well-planned or overly structured projects. Do you feel the spontaneity of this project has helped the band garner a sense of immediacy and importance in your musical execution looking back on your formation and subsequent releases?
Nick: I think it was just a case of we knew what we wanted, and coming from everyone’s backgrounds and musical influences- I think we kind of knew what to expect. But on the writing side of things, we still shock each other.
Nick: We recorded the EP with Sam Thredder in East Croydon in December of 2011. We decided to do another recording quite some time ago but really started to talk about it in the summer. We were all excited to go back to Sam, who had recorded our demo and Southern Blue, it gave us a good idea of what was going to come out of those few days in the studio. I was personally more motivated about this recording than all the previous. I had more of a grip on things and knew exactly what I wanted. Every song on the EP means more to me than words can explain, I’m just happy that we all got together and made it happen.
Joshua BTS: One of the elements of Dead Swans that I find most compelling, is the sense of immediacy that band invokes both musically and lyrically speaking. How do you approach the recording and writing process? Is there a captain of the ship that steers the direction or is it more of a communal process?
Nick: The usual process is Pid [guitarist Stewart Payne] will mail me some riffs and I’ll place lyrics over the top and see if it fits haha. That’s the start of a song anyway. Then when we finally go to practice it’s always different. Some songs have happened in a matter on minutes. A good example would be the first song we ever wrote, ‘Preferring the Worst.’ When that came together it was slightly mind blowing, considering it was in the first couple of hours in our first practice. But it’s always different.
Joshua BTS: Any odd pieces of equipment or recording techniques that you implement in the studio?
Nick: Benny plays the um bungo beat on the drums as we dance around a fire chanting ‘Curry.’
Joshua BTS: Dead Swans has seen a number of lineup changes throughout your history. Similar issues have seen the demise of many of your musical peers. What about the constitution of Dead Swans do you feel has allowed the band to prevail in the face of such large obstacles and line-up shifts?
Nick: The band has been through a lot of changes, we’re so grateful for everyone who has stepped in and kept the band going at times when it looked like it was the end. But now we’re pretty much back to where we were when we started, the band has not felt better.
Joshua BTS: You are just coming off a tour with a band from our neck of the woods who we’ve given much love to- Horror Show. What was it like touring with these guys throughout Europe. I know their front man Nicky broke several ribs stage diving to your music midway into the tour. Seems fitting for such a crazy lineup of bands.
Nick: Tour was so much fun, I wish it could have been longer. Nicky broke a couple of ribs the second night on tour, I remember seeing him get fired out of a canon when we were playing and land with all of his weight on one kid that didn’t run out of the way. The kid stood there like a pole, the image in my head still makes me cramp up with laughter, I still cant believe he made it through the rest of those nights like that. I miss all those guys so much.
Joshua BTS: Anything off the grid or whacked out that you checked out while on the road? Any favorite food stops?
Nick: I guess none of us will be going back to berlin anytime soon…..Burger King.
Joshua BTS: Any new or current bands that are really exciting you right now?
Nick: Holy Fever. Nothing. Ramstein.
Joshua BTS: What do your daily lives look like when you are not active with Dead Swans?
Nick: I skateboard pretty much every day and am living in Austria, Ben’s in Worthing printing stuff, Pid’s got his own hair salon in London now where Benny’s working too and Joe is buidling guitars and doing stuff for his other band More Than Life.
Joshua BTS: It often seems that the UK and much of Europe has a citizenship that is far more engaged in politics than their American counter parts, both in the general population and in the music scene. Have you noticed this difference as well? And are there any political issues that really have your attention and/or dedication right now?
Nick: Not really, I tend to not pay attention to it.
Joshua BTS: What do Dead Swans have on deck for the rest of 2012?
Nick: We have a couple of things to announce very soon, we’re playing a show in Belguim march 17th with Rise and Fall and Iron Age, and maybe a couple of fests.
Joshua BTS: hank you kindly for taking time with Blow The Scene readers. Any final thoughts?
Nick: Going skating, bye.
Dead Swan New Song Sample and Live Video
Dead Swans – Keep Them Shut – NEW SONG
[youtube width=”420″ height=”315″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HWlke9kd2Q[/youtube]
Dead Swans – Full Set – TDON Manchester 26.11.11
[youtube width=”560″ height=”315″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArvO2os2f_Y[/youtube]
For more info go to the Official Dead Swans Facebook