Alter The Press!


Interview: The Swellers

Alter The Press! recently spoke with Nick Diener from The Swellers. Diener talked to us about the bands superb Fueled By Ramen debut, 'Ups and Downsizing', growing up in Flint, Michigan, the music scene at home, the bands inspirations, their current US tour alongside platinum-selling group Paramore and more.

ATP: You've just released your new album, 'Ups and Downsizing' on Fueled By Ramen. How did the writing and recording of the record go?
Nick: We started writing the record right when we released our last full-length, "My Everest", and ended writing it the last day we were in the studio recording "Ups and Downsizing". The ideas never stop coming, and we never stop tweaking things. It was recorded in January/February of this year in both Michigan and Chicago, IL. 5 different studios!

ATP: I understand this album is more uplifting lyrically compared to 'My Everest'?
N: Yes, but just by a little bit. We're just a bit older now and realize some things can be fixed. Just gotta take things one at a time.

ATP: Which songs from the album definitely show this?
N: "Ups and Downsizing", the title track, is about having to leave your life in one place and start it in another. The lyrics in the bridge pretty much say "we're making this new place our house, it'll be just fine." Also, "Feet First" is a song about someone jumping off of a bridge to end their life, but before they hit the water, realizing they want to live.

ATP: How has the reaction been to the record? (We gave it a 4.5/5)
N: It's been really good! Thanks again for the great review. A lot of zines and websites over here were very stoked that we made the record that we did. Same with our fans. There are a few kids who are bummed that it's not as "shreddy" or "fast" but we just wanted to make a record that we really liked. Didn't really take Dragonforce fans into consideration this time. Sorry, folks. Just wanted to make a record that we could listen to in ten years and say "yeah, that was a good time".

ATP: The album is influenced by your experiences in Detroit. Would you like to expand on that?
N: For us, it's mostly about Flint, MI. We grew up in the Flint scene and learned everything we know about playing shows and starting up a band from that city. It's been sort of a ghost town for awhile, with a lot of crime, since all of the industry left the area years ago. But the city is doing better now, slowly but surely.

ATP: What was the music scene like in Michigan when growing up and how is it today?
N: In Flint, we had the Flint Local 432, which is the greatest all-ages music venue I've ever been to. It's closed down now (for now), but we had the best seen I've seen anywhere. I've done like 20 tours of the United States now and I haven't seen anything like it. Now, most of the action is in Detroit and Ann Arbor.

ATP: Any bands from the area you'd recommend?
N: Our favorite michigan bands are Cheap Girls, Fireworks, Empty Orchestra, and Black Dahlia Murder.

ATP: What bands have influenced and inspired The Swellers?
N: Weezer, No Use For A Name, and The Get Up Kids are 3 reasons we started this band 7 years ago. All of those bands still pop into my head while writing songs.

ATP: You recently released a video for 'Fire Away'. What is the story behind the concept and how did the shooting go?
N: Shooting was amazing because we used a lot of our friends on the set. Our good friend Mike Berlucchi was the director of photography, and our new friend Anthony Garth directed the whole thing. Our guitar player Ryan's brother, Michael, was the star in the video. The concept was basically about a guy who decides he wants to escape reality, so he does, but then realizes he needs help and other people to survive and actually be happy.

ATP: Are there any plans to release any other singles from the album?
N: Definitely. We want to put out 2 or 3 more if possible! Lots of video ideas, as well.

ATP: How did you become involved with Fuled By Ramen?
N: We sent them our demos, they liked them, and we began talking from there! They're the label that had been talking to us the longest, and had been the friendliest and the most interested in our band.

ATP: How has the reaction been to you signing the label?, especially in the punk community, as FBR is a more poppy, radio-friendly label.
N: It's been great for the most part. Some people were confused, but then said something like "oh well, at least FBR signed a good band for once," so that's pretty flattering.

ATP: You're on tour with Paramore in the US at the moment. What can we expect from these shows?
N: Today is the second show and so far, the reaction has been really good. Kids are hungry for new music. We're excited to maybe be some of these kids' gateway bands.

ATP: Do you think you will gain new fans on this tour?
N: Definitely. We have already so far and it's only been one show. After this, we'll be touring nonstop with more and more bands.

ATP: Do you have any plans to tour outside the US, especially the UK?
N: Yes! We heard rumors that we'll be headed to the UK and Europe in Spring of 2010. Very excited. It'll be our first time over there.

ATP: What else do The Swellers have lined up?
N: Big US tours in the winter. Those will be announced soon! And we're already writing for another record. Never stops.

ATP: Is there anything final you'd like to say?
N: Thank you for the interview and the great review. Hopefully meet up soon!

The Swellers' new album 'Ups and Downsizing' is available now on Fueled by Ramen and will be on tour with Paramore and Paper Route in the US and Canada until November 11th.

The Swellers on Myspace and Twitter.

Sean Reid

Alter The Press!