MONDAY, JUNE 29, 2015|
Posted by: Aviva Bogart
Swimm's Chris Hess, as pointed out by many a drooling fan, is very attractive. Which is why it's so fitting that "Beverly Hells," Swimm's new single, is an outrageous satire on Hollywood, satirizing the oiled up, sun-kissed, freshly waxed pecs and steel abs that Hollywood demands her male inhabitants showcase. Oh, and did I mention perfect surfer-boy beach blond hair? These are all things that a Zeus-like model shows off obnoxiously in "Beverly Hells" to the viewer's delight. It's come to a point where even the men in Hollywood are exhausted by self-branding. But don't be fooled, the message isn't all about Hollywood's high aesthetic demands.cThe flawless bod in "Beverly Hells" is an allegory for the demands that are made of Swimm as a band, and the chutzpah that people demonstrate in wanting Swimm to sound a certain way. What's so great is that Hollywood doesn't win when it comes to Swimm, and that Swimm stays true to their unique sound, which is constantly evolving into a mosaic, genre-blurred landscape.
There's a refreshingly eclectic blend of genres in your music after listening to "Beverly Hells" and 2013's Feel EP. Who can you guys cite as your biggest influences?
Swimm: Refreshing! I'll take that :). We are so ADD with our music tastes. I don't think we could ever just choose one thing. Like ok guys.. Even though I have cruised to Cass McCombs, cried to Amen Dunes and danced to the JB's in one day we absolutely have to play only psychedelic folk music. Oh and watching countless videos of Nirvana and Naomi Punk cannot at all influence us to want to write songs to bang our heads around on stage to. See what I mean? I've decided I do want to focus things a bit more than say the Feel EP was. Perhaps give groupings of songs that make a little more sense together... but not necessarily let it ever be predictable what the next group of songs will be like.
The shot of the leaf shrouded muscle dude with SWIMM in lights above him is pretty iconic. Was this visual something you had in your head for a while for the video?
I definitely had the idea of Miles being the "face of SWIMM" from the first day I met him. He was this perfect looking creature and also super positive and eager to meet everyone and connect. I imagined him from the get go laying on a table with some sort of Zeus like posturing. The details of the SWIMM floating above and the flowers falling grew out of much conversation with director Alex Familian who is amazing at taking ideas and elaborating on them into a fantastical state of mind.
Chris you mentioned on the bands website that you're a shameless Delta Spirit super-fan, and the subjectivity of fans' opinions is the down right scary thing about performing anything. As a performer, is there anything you might do before or during a show to deal with inevitable criticism?
That is a good question. The easy answer is to throw back a few drinks. Loosen the gears a bit. But because I have to sing, I realized that I don't have the luxury of being able to drink every night on tour for whatever purpose it may serve. So I have gotten very used to not drinking at all before shows. It is scary... especially cause my friends are pretty critical so I know how difficult it is to impress the people whose opinions I really cogitate over. But honestly meditating is incredibly helpful to me. If I have some time to breathe and even visualize a positive experience on stage it is huge. Playing to the people in the room who you think are hating it as opposed to the faces that are smiling is such a different show. I just try and remember to play to those who don't look like they wanna throw their Moscow Mule at me.
Chris also mentioned that the three things that he would take on a hypothetical deserted island after having to abandon a hypothetical ship were his In Rainbows vinyl, Ace Ventura VHS, and the honey mustard served backstage at your gig at St. Petersburg's Museum of Fine Arts. Say this hypothetical ship allowed you to bring 5 albums to the hypothetical islands shore, what would they be?
1. Radiohead In Rainbows
2. LCD Soundsystem self-titled debut
3. Fleetwood Mac Rumors (but I'd have to sneak the b side of Silver Springs)
4. Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto Getz/Gilberto
5. Arcade Fire Funeral