SWOLL began releasing music last year (2018) before playing any shows. That collection of recorded material comprised the self-titled debut LP (SWOLL s/t) which largely began as a collaboration between Matt Dowling (the EFFECTS, Deleted Scenes, Paperhaus) and Ben Schurr (Br’er, Luna Honey), who has produced numerous acts under his label/collective Blight. Dowling, who existed almost exclusively as an indie rock bassist in his previous musical life, had began writing songs in full, but was unsure of how to move forward with them. “I felt like what Ben was doing with the Blight Collective was a really good fit with the direction of my songs, and once we started tracking, everything just snapped in place. Even though singing felt super weird to me, the momentum allowed me to get over that and just use my voice as my new weapon.”
SWOLL, is currently on tour to support their first single “Haydee,” from its second album Unwound. “Unwound is my favorite band” says Dowling of the post-hardcore Olympia, WA act which was active largely in the 90s, but never received or desired MTV-level commercial success. “In the last few years, I’ve thought about them a lot, and I’ve also thought a lot about how wider musical tastes have shifted in such a large way in recent history. A lot of what SWOLL is about is embracing an electronic/rap framework of producing music, but weaving in the power of rock, primarily as performance art back into it. I feel like a lot of electronic music loses that edge live. To me, Unwound were masters of rock as a performance art form, and that makes me hope people remember them as we forge on into a deeply electronic universe.”
Swoll’s Matthew Dowling on “Haydee:”
“Haydee’s is a Mexican restaurant in Mt. Pleasant Washington, DC where I lived for many years. I found myself going there a lot because it’s one of the only places in the city that serves food really late, and my life lends itself to not having any time until sometimes midnight or later to eat. I also love the place; beautiful, low-key setting, awesome people that work there. As the lyrics to the song started coming together, I realized it made sense speaking from the perspective of me sitting down to eat at Haydee’s on a Tuesday night after midnight. Late night musings about life, existence, beliefs, what it all means, etc. If you’re there eating dinner at that time, you’re a little bit of a freak in a certain sense. In another sense, it’s totally normal, chill and cool. People do Karaoke there, and the 3-4 people there that late on a weekday night are just pleasantly hanging out. It’s a great place to think, and I was thinking a lot of the many paradoxes of existence; mainly those that are both deep and humorous simultaneously. So, I found it perfectly fitting to shoot the video for the song Karaoke-style, at Haydee’s. Enjoy!