While on tour with Have Mercy, Boston Manor, A Will Away, Pure Noise band Can’t Swim was kind enough to have a chat with us at the Austin, Texas stop! Talking about the grounding principles of the band and what’s next for them, Can’t Swim surely shined a light onto what keeps this bands head above water.
Networking played a big role in the band’s signing to Pure Noise Records. With an industry that is dog eat dog, what’s y'all's secret? What kept y'all going?
Mike: Win the lottery, you got to win the lottery when you start a band
Chris: We were lucky enough to really not put much work in at all. Honestly, we just recorded the record ourselves and sent it to a few friends and got a record deal out of it. But for other bands, I have no idea what I would suggest to do.
Greg: Can’t help you!
Chris: I mean a balance of touring and getting out there and recording music and content. Plus, the Internet seems to be a very popular thing nowadays.
Danny: There’s not much, we were just very lucky. We all had a bunch of other bands that never did anything, it’s not like we have any secret.
Chris: We failed a lot of times, but Can’t Swim was luckily a shot in the dark.
On that note, the turn around between your first EP [ Death Deserves a Name] and your second [ Fail You Again] was about a year. How did you all balance that between life recording and all of the above?
Chris: We broke it up in between tours, we did six songs then we did another six songs. Luckily we do it all ourselves, Danny mixes and produces everything, so when we had a lull in touring Danny would mix 10 songs. We definitely got to take our time with it which was nice. It wasn't like a week in a studio where you had to write 30 songs in 50 hours. It took us a year, but we spent a lot of time with it.
Greg: Chris is a very prolific songwriter, as well. Were very lucky. He’s always worried he’s done and that he’s got nothing left, but he just keeps cranking them out. That certainly helps.
As the musicians who created these works, how would you compare both albums?
Chris: Oh man, the first release [Death Deserves a Name] was us doing it cause we could do it. We didn't have a goal for the band in mind but with Fail You Again we all kind of made it together, I think it was way more collaborative. Like we said, we took a lot more time on it and I just think we knew what we wanted to do a little bit more. We toured for a year, so we just wanted to see what kind of band we were first and what we wanted to be and we wrote those kinds of songs.
In September you released track ‘God Awful’, what made you all pull it from the catacombs?
Chris: Yeah, it was neck and neck between a few songs that we were going to cut. Half of us wanted and half of us didn't, the label liked it, the label didn't like it. Whatever it was and we just figured ‘Why not put it out?’.
Greg: It was just sitting there.
Chris: Yeah, it was just sitting there. Just put it out for free and have kids listen to it, so why not!
How do you guys go through the process of cutting all those songs?
Chris: Oh man it’s a disaster sometimes. Sometimes it literally just comes down to voting, you just get the 10 people involved and say ‘well this one beat this one.’ We did 16 for ‘Fail You Again’ and only cut four. It was defiantly quite a voting process.
Greg: It started off with just all the songs and sequencing then it came down to the ones we knew would definitely be on there then slowly weeding them out. But it's just a tough decision to make and it’s hard to tell if it's the right call or not.
With your recording process, what’s it like? Do just a few of you get together? Everyone in one?
Chris: We're all adults and we have jobs and lives now, it’s a lot through email. I’ll write a demo and I'll send it to the guys and they’ll email me back with their thoughts and I'll change it. It’s a lot through the process of elimination, this demo’s good’, ‘this demo’s not worth it’. Sometimes we get it in one email pass and sometimes forty thousand.
You all work really well together. There isn't a lot of bands that can say they have those moments and produce things so smoothly. On a more technical note, what’s y'all's rig set up? Any certain brand you grew up playing or a brand you just prefer?
Mike: Gibson SG
Chris: Oh yeah, Gibson SG. He’s had that for a long time. I play an Ibanez guitar, that a friend was nice enough to give me, but it’s everything we use. We recorded and I wrote all the songs with that one.
Danny: I’m a Fender guy, I kind of always been a Fender guy. It’s just how I learned guitar.
Andrea: I’ve been playing Zildjian cymbals, so that’s been my go-to right now. I’ve been playing the same kit since 2008, it’s pretty old so now I’m looking.
Motivation and confidence are two things that can make or break people when they pursue their dreams. That being said, what keeps you all going?
Danny: Funny movie quotes and inside jokes. Our band thrives on them.
Chris: Yeah those two things! Going back to what you said before, the relationship we all have, how good we get along. It always feels fun, even when it’s work. Even when it's 15 hours in the studio, 15 hours in the van, were all in the same mindset of still enjoying this. It’s actually very easy when you think of it like that. Like we’ve said, we've been in a bunch of bands where it certainly didn't feel like at all. The music comes along with that. You’re going to write a lot better if you get along with the people you’re making it with
Was there a moment so far in Can’t Swim’s career, where you all realize this was the right zone to be in?
Greg: I think we talk about that a lot. Back to the fact that being in a million bands that just never really did anything. I mean we might get a little bummed out about a show or a crowd reaction sometimes then we just kind of sit down and think about the logistics about how cool the situation we're in currently is and especially being a newer band being able to play some bigger shows. It’s just such a blessing that we have not been afforded for a lot of our lives and now it’s really really great. I know I never expected this to happen.
Chris: Then we did the band for a year us four, then Andrea joined the band. We all kind of got in the room and all felt like it was complete and whole, even other than just musically. We got along great, but it just felt complete. Which I hope so because if anybody else needs to join the band I’m just going to quit.
On the last note, after this tour, you all are going to head overseas to tour with Creeper. What else do you guys have coming up? Anything you can tell us?
Chris: There are tours after Creeper, I will tell you that!
Greg: We just announced a show in Poughkeepsie on December 15th, which is kind of near where we live.
Chris: Then recording more and maybe our next record by next year sometime.
Hitting the ground running in 2018 I see!
Big thanks to the folks in Can’t Swim for taking the time to speak with us! Make sure you catch the band on tour Have Mercy and Boston Manor if they happen to be coming into your neck of the woods! And check out their latest track ‘God Awful’ below!