Tuesday, July 22, 2014

'Not Nostalgic': A Q&A with Fayetteville's SW/MM/NG

Posted By on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 12:22 PM

click to enlarge swmmng.jpg

The fellows from Fayetteville’s SW/MM/NG are about to go places — literally, as they hit the road next month as part of a national tour with stops far from home, and more figuratively, as they've procured a spot on Old Flame Records’ roster and are gearing up to finally release their full-length debut. They play a somewhat comforting amalgam of what, on Facebook, they describe as “Genre dad rock, if your dad is into reverby pop songs.”

I caught their last local show before the tour commences, at a benefit for Fayetteville’s Nightbird Books (which warrants a reminder to support your local indie bookseller). Brian Kupillas (vocals/guitar) was kind enough to field a few questions, and fill me in on the band’s vinyl fixation, the preferred nomenclature for describing their sound (“not summery”) and the strange serendipity of their current success.

Tell me about where you guys are right now. It seems like you're poised at the start of some really exciting things.

Yeah it appears that way. I have no idea what’s actually on the other side. It’s the furthest I’ve ever gone with a band so it’s the peak of it; I have no idea what happens after it. The record comes out in August; [we'll] go on tour; we have a publicist, which alone is an impressive thing, that we were able to do that, like, convince a bunch of people to put money behind us.

You seem a little pleasantly surprised by all of these developments. Did you have a vision or a plan when you started this band?

No — when we started it was just playing house parties; it was never like, one day we're going to be something, it was never like that. Just fun.


In light of that, what goals do you guys have now?

The only goal we have right now is for the record to come out. It’s been so long in the making. We did it ourselves and then we had to redo it and then we got a label and they wanted us to have a more professional sound. Our goal is to have it out on vinyl — for some reason, that’s a goal of ours. And they were like, “We’d love to put out your record, its just expensive to put it on vinyl and these recordings are kind of crap; you need to get it professionally done.” It’s been a long time in the making.

Why vinyl?

Obviously it’s making a comeback, and a lot of people think it’s the best way to listen to music. I think, sonically and aesthetically, it’s more pleasing, just a bigger format. Part of it, the science behind it, I think it would make our record sound better and part of it is just that [we] want to be on the same shelf as artists we know and love; it just makes it that much more legitimate. I’ve been in a band where we’ve pressed our own CDs before, and that didn’t impress me. But to actually go and make vinyl records, and enough of them to sell to an audience, it feels good.

Your music is enveloping — such a pleasing sensory experience. Like floating in a warm ocean. What is your creative process for putting these songs together?

What typically happens, I’ll bring a skeleton to the band and we just kind of work on it. There’s typically a part that strikes them right away that they like, and they’ll start their parts; it becomes a conversation, essentially. Like Jared will come with his initial reaction to the song, like just start playing; Joel will pick up the rhythm with JD, the drummer. We’ll just play off each other with the song itself, just playing it over and over and over again to a tedious extent. Then we iron out the details, like add little pieces, the subtle stuff that you only end up hearing on further listens. The first hearing is just kind of a wash, you get like the melody of a song or maybe a lyric or two. You maybe walk away from the song with like the chorus and the beat — that comes right off the bat, but through working it out together, you get the subtle undertones. I feel like I’m giving us way too much credit but yeah, stuff like that.

That seems fair — there are a lot of layers to your music.

A lot of that comes from Jack, the keyboardist. Adding him in was great — he brings a lot to the table and it’s really fun to work with another instrument that can be both melody and rhythm. Starting where we started, with just two guitars and a two piece drum set to have like keys and a bass and a full kit now is a lot for us, and way more fun to work with. I think I appreciate it a lot more now, having been starved from all those pieces for so long. I think the other guys would agree with that. We did the whole self-limitations for a while and now it’s kind of breathing easy; it’s renewed music for me at least, just writing it — like, "Oh, I can think of things in other terms now, it's not just two guitars and a drum set that can only do a couple beats." 


How would you describe the texture of your sound?

Not summery, not nostalgic — those are pet peeves of mine for sure. Because that’s definitely a movement in music: the nostalgic factor, like never-ending summer. Our song “Younger” is essentially a critique on that, enveloped in a song meant to sound like one of those. I can see why people say it, but it’s a conscious effort to undermine that— the very verbiage of calling it that. But if I had to describe it in positives rather than negatives, let’s see: I end up just saying ‘guitar pop,’ when I’m sending emails about booking shows. Or, Jared coined the term 'lake pop,' from the gills of Arkansas.

You guys are getting ready to hit the road, but what’s the word on the record?

I don’t even know what day the record comes out. Maybe August 26th or 28th. Wish I knew but it’s been hard to get that pinned down, because vinyl takes a while to make and they just got the test presses in. So as long as those are good, it’s on point.
click to enlarge swimming.jpg

Stay tuned to the guys’ Facebook for updates on their vinyl release. It’s going to be a limited pressing of 500, and preorders are available. They’ll be back in Arkansas on August 30th at Stickyz with Isaac Alexander and Sea Nanners if you want to catch their homecoming.

Tags: , , , , ,

Speaking of...

  • Ben Harper, Major Lazer, Chance the Rapper and more announced for Wakarusa 2015

    January 21, 2015
    Wakarusa, which previously announced The Roots, STS9, Young the Giant and others for their 2015 festival, set to be held from June 4-7 at Mulberry Mountain, announced more of its lineup last week and this morning. The group includes Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, Chance the Rapper, Major Lazer, Thievery Corporation, Umphrey's McGee, Slightly Stoopid, Portugal. The Man and many more. Tickets are on sale now. /more/
  • Here are the 2015 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase semifinalists

    January 20, 2015
    After weeks of deliberation, violent debate and black magic, we’ve come up with our final and definitive list of semifinalists for the 2015 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase. If you’ll notice, there are 20 of them. Also, this is one of the strongest lineups we’ve ever had, with great artists in a variety of genres from all over the state. /more/
  • A Q&A with Alexander Jones of Bombay Harambee

    January 16, 2015
    With a brand new cassette-only release and a full-length LP on the way, Little Rock band Bombay Harambee is about to have a busy year. Members include Spaceman Dave on bass, Jason Griswold on drums, Alexander Jones on vocals and guitar and Trent Whitehead on guitar and vocals. /more/
  • New Kari Faux video, 'Gahdamn'

    January 15, 2015
    Recent L.A. transplant Kari Faux, who made our shortlist for Arkansan of the Year this week, released a new video this morning for her single, "Gahdamn," the opening track from her 2014 tape, "Laugh Now, Die Later." The clip features Childish Gambino, who gave her a huge boost with his remix of her song, "No Small Talk" (excerpted at the beginning here), and her frequent collaborator and fellow Little Rock native BLACK PARTY. /more/
  • Dave Matthews, Kenny Chesney in Walmart AMP's Summer Season

    January 14, 2015
    Brantley Gilbert kicks off the Walmart AMP's summer 2015 lineup, released this morning, with a performance on May 1 — tickets go on sale Friday Feb. 27. Chicago plays on May 3, the Steve Miller Band on May 16, the Dave Matthews Band on May 19 and Kenny Chesney's "Big Revival Tour" comes through town on July 30. Check their website for ticketing information and more. /more/
  • The Roots, STS9 in first round of 2015 Wakarusa lineup

    January 7, 2015
    Wakarusa Music Festival, scheduled to be held from June 4-7, announced the first part of of their 2015 lineup this afternoon, a group that includes The Roots, STS9, Rebelution, Young the Giant, The Devil Makes Three and more. Two more releases are on the way (more suspenseful that way). /more/
  • UPDATE: Jerry Jones buys $7 million in land in Fayetteville, transfers it to Razorback Foundation

    January 7, 2015
    Failed development acreage adjoining a regional park in Fayetteville has been purchased by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. The Fayetteville Flyer reports. /more/
  • A Q&A with David Slade of American Princes

    January 5, 2015
    I’ve followed the musical career of David Slade since 1994, when I saw him in a band of young upstarts called Halo 8 at a Fresh Blood Night show at Vino’s Brewpub (before they even added the Brewpub part). I think they also opened for one of my first bands. He’s been one of the forces behind American Princes, along with Matt Quin, from their beginning in 2001. /more/
  • New music from YGOA's Goon des Garcons and Fresco Grey

    January 2, 2015
    For anyone trying to catch up on new music released over the holidays, the late-December output of Little Rock rap collective Young Gods of America should be at the top of your list. First up is Goon des Garcons' new tape, "YOUNGDIRTYBASTARD," mostly produced by the crew's resident spaced-out visionary Mach Soul. /more/
  • Live: The Moving Front, Pockets and RadRadRiot at White Water (Photos)

    January 2, 2015
    I first saw The Moving Front live over seven years ago, their album release show (also at White Water) during the first day of “Towncraft” week, a group of events commemorating the documentary’s release. I remember running into Scott Cook that night and him asking me, "Why are you not still playing music?" I took his advice, and now Scott plays guitar and sings back up as one of the newest members of The Moving Front. /more/
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Morgan Sykes

  • A Q&A with Jason Wiest, the new host of KABF's 'Big Gay Radio Show'

    Jason Wiest was announced on June 23rd as the new host of KABF’s “Big Gay Radio Show,” which is the state’s only LBGT-specific programming. Weist is a man of many hats: his nine to five hustle is as Governor Beebe’s speechwriter, but on Friday nights you can find him at Sway, the downtown gay club he owns and operates (perhaps you recall his cameo in the recent feature on the House of Avalon).
    • Jul 15, 2014
  • A Q&A with Diarrhea Planet

    Following their excellent show, I sat down with Jordan Smith (guitar/vocals), Emmett Miller (guitar/vocals), and Brent Toler (guitar/vocals) as they shed some light on the highs and lows of relentless touring, unlikely influences (Prince is in the mix), and imminent world domination.
    • Jun 2, 2014
  • The rise of the House of Avalon in Little Rock

    Welcome to Glitter Rock.
    • May 29, 2014
  • More »

Most Shared

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2015 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation