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Interview: Swound!

Swound! hail from Nottingham and are four brothers; Joe, Rowan, Tom and Lloyd, who since releasing their debut album, 'Hello Future, Our Name is Swound!' have gone on to play events such as Radio 1's One Big Weekend and Guilfest and received praise from the likes of Zane Lowe, Steven Lamacq and Huw Stevens.

More recently the band announced they are to appear on popular US Children's programme, Yo Gabba Gabba, as well asking fans to challenge them to do various tasks, in order to receive a download of 'Hello Future, Our Name is Swound!.

Sean recently asked bassist Tom Staszkiewicz about 'Challenge Swound', playing One Big Weekend, their appearance on Yo Gabba Gabba and more.

ATP: First of all, introduce yourself and tell us who you are and what is your role in Swound!?
Tom: Hello! My name’s Tom. I’m the eldest brother and I play bass.

ATP: So whats the story behind Swound!? When did you decide to become a band?
T: Our parents locked us away and forced us to learn instruments from an early age. We weren’t allowed to mix with other people, which is why everyone in the band is related. Or, Joe and I formed Swound! with friends a number of years ago whilst we were both at university. There was no real plan behind it, we just wrote some songs and had a laugh playing them live. We did ok locally, but I think it was more about our general charm, good looks, charisma and wit than about the songs. We split up when we finished our degrees, but decided it was weird not being in a band and started a new one a couple of years later. We still had our web address paid for, so kept the name Swound!. By this point, Rowan and Lloyd had started university so eventually we got them involved too. It’s one or the other anyway.

ATP: When you were growing up together, what music did you listen to and has this influenced your own sound?
T: We liked a lot of punk and alternative rock. Personally, for me it was always about trying to rip off the Pixies. These days, our tastes are reasonably different, but we all listened to the same punk bands when we were younger.

ATP: For those who are unfamiliar with you. How would describe Swound's sound?
T: We’ve been described as indie punk. I like that as it works pretty well and isn’t remotely complicated or pretentious.

ATP: Last year you released 'Hello Future, Our Name is Swound!'. How has the reaction been to the record?
T: Really good! Reviewers generally loved it and we sold out all the ones that went to the shops so had to make it available digitally. It got short listed for XFM album of the year and even made the end of year top albums list in Rock Sound magazine. We were really pleased.

ATP: How did you become involved with Stressed Sumo Records?
T: They’re kind of local (we’re from Nottingham and they’re based Derby) and had been releasing stuff by some friends of ours. It was one of those mutual love in things that brought us together.

ATP: Whats the story behind Challenge Swound?
T: Because ‘Hello Future…’ sold out, loads of people were emailing us about getting hold of a copy. So we thought about doing a Radiohead, but had been beaten to the concept by, oddly enough, Radiohead. So we changed the idea slightly and decided people could only download the tracks once they’d submitted a challenge that we would try to complete. It was just an excuse for us to try and do some fun stuff in between recording and gigging. We film our efforts and put them online and the reaction has been really good so far. We’ve swam Loch Ness in search of the Monster, had a bash at going back in time, Had Westwood pimping a bottle – all sorts of things. I can’t really picture Thom Yorke drinking a blended Big Mac meal.

ATP: Earlier this year you've played Radio 1's One Big Weekend. How did that go?
T: We had a great time. Our set was one of the busiest of the weekend in the introducing tent. I’d like to think it’s because of our amazing popularity, but instead of going up against Dizzee Rascal, Moyles decided to have a bit of a vanity hour at the same time as us. I’m not sure people were particularly up for comedy covers of bad songs (fortunately, we didn’t play our version of No Limit), so it worked out well. We played a great set, I think, the reaction was fantastic and a lot of famous people were congratulating us afterwards. Every now and then we get ‘famous days’ and that was definitely one of them.

ATP: Did you play any other festivals, if so how did they go?
T: We played Guilfest in the Rock Sound Cave, which was a blast. Joe and Rowan were comparing all weekend – after 2 days of the crowd hearing about how amazing our hotel was compared to their dirty tents, I was surprised we didn’t get bottled off the stage, but everyone was very nice and responsive. We also got to see some cool bands too – Twin Atlantic, The King Blues etc. We had such a good time that next year, we’re hoping for lots more festivals

ATP: What can we expect in the future for Swound!?
T: At least one celebrity marriage and high profile divorce, a subsequent spiritual phase, an acrimonious split and a record breaking reunion tour in 20 years. We’d just settle for increasingly more popular albums and gigs though. We’ll take whatever, really.

ATP: I hear you're appearing on Yo Gabba Gabba. How did that happen?
T: Yeah! We’re friendly with the producer. His name is Christian Jacobs, but obsessive music geeks like us know him better as MC Bat Commander from LA band The Aquabats. We played with them a while back and he really loved our band so has since asked us to contribute a track. It’s about recovering properly when you’re ill. Nickelodeon are fascists when it comes to lyrics though, so we’ve had to redraft the song several times over to remove even the slightest hint of controversy, but I think we’re sorted now. We’re dead proud; I think it’s only us and The Super Furry Animals from Britain who have been asked to do this.

ATP: Would you llike to say anything else?
T: No, I feel content with the interview as it is. Thank you very much for asking such nice questions.

Swound!'s new single 'Predator 3’' is released on November 3rd on Stressed Sumo Records and their album, 'Hello Future, Our Name is Swound!' is available now via

UK Tour Dates
20th Oct ‘In The City’ RockSound Showcase @ Moho Live Manchester
29th Oct Amber Douglas,The Isle of Man
30th Oct Barlogo Ramsay, The Isle of Man
31st Oct The Railway Douglas, The Isle of Man
2 Nov The Fly Bar London
3 Nov Rock City Nottingham

Sean Reid

Alter The Press!