atjf interview :: the swimmers

After the Jump presents the Swimmers, this Saturday June 21st, for After the Jump Fest in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY, performing during the day on Galapagos free noise stage at 1:15pm.

Listen :: It’s Time They Knew

MIA: Musically, how did the band form, what past experiences do you carry with you?

STEVE: Rick and I were in a previous band, one star hotel that had just imploded, and we also had a few other projects since college. Scott and I worked together and wrote songs together when we were on the road tuning pipe organs, we’d write songs on the organs during the day and record in the hotel room at night. Krista and I were married — she is a music teacher, harpist and piano player. Basically, we all just came together out of knowing each other and each having something to bring to the band. We were all friends first, and then decided to become a band.

MIA: Describe the feeling of living and making music in Philly, feel free to share a memory or a certain place (bar, restaurant, record store) that makes you feel like home.

STEVE: Philly is a great town of neighborhoods driven by interesting characters with interesting stories, but also has a no-nonsense grittiness that I enjoy. The music scene is both extremely creative and competitive. its pretty difficult to get people to shows and to succeed on a local level. some bands find a little success, then the tide shifts and the general attitude of the town starts pulling against them. The band really feels at home at Johnny Brendas, a venue in fishtown that opened in the last few years and is close to where most of us live. It has a great stage and great staff and really makes us feel comfortable.

MIA: How does the band like to get ready for a live show? Is there a favorite song that you enjoy to perform live?

STEVE: When we are driving in, we have a few very odd songs that we play to get in the mood [Clutch’s ‘Tight like that,’ AC/DC’s ‘Givin the dog a bone,’ Kraftwerk’s ‘Hall of mirrors,’ Of Montreal’s ‘Heimdalsgate like a promethean curse’]. At the venue, we just try to get comfortable with the sound on stage and relax before the show. No running laps or band prayers or barbershop quartet warm-ups, though maybe we should try those. The favorite song changes a lot, I think ‘St. Cecilia’ is usually fun and whatever cover we are into at the time.

MIA: What are your recommended records so far of ‘08?

STEVE: I have been listening to a bunch of new records, but nothing that I would wholeheartedly recommend. Evangelicals ‘the Evening Descends’ has some moments of what I would call sheer brilliance. As much as I really wanted to hate Vampire Weekend, that record is quite good. Fleet Foxes hasn’t quite taken me the way it has some other people, but it does have some nice nostalgic songs that wont let go. Cut Copy and M83 both have a couple songs I love to blast in the early summer. Will Oldham can pretty much wipe a cd with a dirty sweat-sock and I will buy it, but I am still absorbing the new Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy.

MIA: Name a visual artist or piece of work that inspires you.

STEVE: Janell Olah [who did our album cover] has done some really interesting pieces that have paralleled some of our music in a cool way. She and her husband have been renovating a house much like Krista and I are doing, and there are things that resonate between our music and her art at different times.

MIA: Please share a mixtape with a theme of your choice.

“5 songs for summer fun”

kids / MGMT [oracular spectacular, 2008]
kim & jessie / M83 [saturdays=youth, 2008]
feel the love / cut copy [in ghost colors, 2008]
skeleton man / evangelicals [evening descends, 2008]
heimdalsgate like a promethean curse / of montreal
[hissing fauna, are you the destroyer? 2007]

.images credits and thank you to the swimmers.

About The Author


“One glimpse is all it takes to tell you that Music Is Art is something special. You can start by judging this blog by its cover—it’s one of the best-designed, most aesthetically aware music blogs around—but there’s much more to it than just a pretty template. For one, Danielle Maree, the “dreamer/designer” behind MIA, focuses not only on excellent music, but on art, photography and writing and how they all intersect and inform the music. By sharing the sounds and sights that inspire her, she’s inspiring a growing number of readers on a daily basis. By documenting artists’ creative processes, she’s, in the process, creating a pretty substantial, always-evolving work of art herself.” - Nerd Litter

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