Swans Of Never, Reviver | Buzz Blog

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Swans Of Never, Reviver

Posted By on January 24, 2010, 11:27 PM

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While the majority of the celebrity gawkers and film fanatics were up in the hills this weekend, down in the valley there were dozens of shows playing to packed crowds, including the Rise Above benefit show at Burt's which was filled to the walls! But more on that later...

--- This past Friday over at Kilby Court, we bid a short farewell to Reviver who as of this posting have set off on their three month tour of the states. Sending them off in style were new thrahser band (so new they don't even have a website) Gourd's Gold, our old friends The Lionelle, and the hard rocking Swans Of Never. I got to chat with Swans and Reviver before they bolted for Vegas, plus pictures of the show for you to check out.

Swans Of Never (Kennt Bozich, Matthew Nanes, Dallas Syme and Tate McMallum-Law)


Gavin: Hey Matthew, first off, tell us a little about yourself.

Matthew: Hi, my name is Matthew Nanes. Swans Of Never is my vehicle for creating music and I either play by myself or with a full band depending on how I want to present the music at the time. I've been doing this since 2005 in one form or another. When I play shows with full bands and shows, I have my friends Kenny Bozich (ex-The Almost), Tate McCallum-Law (The Lionelle) and Dallas Syme play with me. It keeps things fun and interesting.

What got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Matthew: What got me interested in music and rock music in general was the Christmas I got the red and blue Beatles greatest hits albums and Queen's greatest hits on cassette when I lived in Italy while my parents were stationed there with the Air Force. That got me interested in music but when I moved back to the States and all of the sudden, there was all of this music I missed like Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and Weezer. From there, I got into punk like Bad Religion and Descendents and that transitioned into hardcore and heavier punk music like Snapcase and AFI during their Black Sails days. If it wasn't for those initial bands like The Beatles and Queen, I don't think I would've ever made it to these other sub-genres of rock if it wasn't for them. At least to me the path from Queen to Snapcase makes sense.

How did the decision come about to form Swans Of Never?

Matthew: Swans was something I did because after I quit Day Two and Gaza, I was pretty over it when it came to being in bands and going on tour because after touring so much right after high school and having a lot of heavy things happen in my life, including adopting my then new faith, the last thing I wanted to do was leave and start all over again and trying to be "big". I just wanted to write songs and play shows here and there. Unfortunately, those first couple of years were pretty unfocused as far as a plan but it's fine. I don't regret anything maybe except for posting the initial crap demos I had on my MySpace page. I should've known what I was doing musically.

Gavin: All of the people you play with came from various groups, mostly hardcore and metal, and are now playing more Indie rock songs. How was it making that kind of transition in style and essentially playing to a very different audience?

Matthew: The transition wasn't really a transition at all because I have been writing these inital Swans Of Never songs like this while I was in those bands. It's easy to write hardcore and metal music in a group setting because writing that kind of music requires a lot of energy. With Gaza, I wasn't (and still not) really a metal guy and I just played bass so it was easy for me to just play sludgy music and go crazy. With Swans, I just write the songs and if it sounds good, it sounds good. I've always been a sucker for melody and harmonies and it's more fulfilling writing those songs rather than a constant breakdown or shredding. The more "indie" side has always been there, I just never had the chance to do it in the scale that I'm doing now.

You released your self-titled EP last year. First, what made you choose Andy Patterson to record with?

Matthew: I picked Andy because he had done some demos Gaza did before the I Don't Care Where I Go When I Die record that I recorded on. I like Andy because he allows you to do whatever you want (provided you know what you are doing) and he's pretty straight forward when it comes to recording. Whatever you sound like, he won't doctor it up unless you want to and I'd rather just let the tape roll and let the sounds of the instruments be what they are. He's great at doing that.

Gavin: What was the recording process like and were there any issues you ran into along the way?

Matthew: At the time, it was more of a demo than a legit EP, and it was supposed to be more of a lighter, Death Cab-by, sort of thing. But while Kenny was recording the drums it just became heavier and I let it go from there. I recorded some acoustic songs but it just didn't make sense with everything else I recorded. I just found myself really scared to do it just because it was just Andy and I in the studio and me just going for it, not really knowing what was happening other than recording my songs. A lot of it was off the cuff and we just rolled with it and I think it turned out well but I think the next time Kenny and I go in, it will be a lot more focused. I released it as an EP on iTunes without the acoustic songs when I was finished with it and I'm finally making a physical release for it now. I shouldn't have waited so long to do it.

What did you think of the public reaction to it when the album finally came out?

Matthew: The thing is that the public didn't necessarily "react" to it. I hadn't pushed it all that hard because I still wasn't so sure what to do with it but now things are getting a little bit more focused. The people that have heard it have enjoyed it. The best compliment I've heard so far was from Chad Johnson (ex-A&R at Tooth & Nail Records) say that it was really good and raw and that it was different from the rest of anything out there right now. That was a big compliment to me.

Are there any plans for a full-length album right now, or are you mainly sticking to playing shows for now?

Matthew: There are plans for an EP but we might record more songs so it might turn into a record. There are some acoustic songs that I really want out there so when I play by myself, people will feel comfortable buying the record. There are also some full band songs that we have that aren't recorded that I feel need their due as well so we're going to do that as well. The acoustic songs have been recorded with A.P. and the full band songs will be recorded with Wes Johnson at Archive. Local and out of town shows will be played as well!

A bit state-wide, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?

Matthew: I like the fact that Salt Lake has so many little mini-scenes that are all very creative and people are putting records out and that there's a couple of shops that are willing to help out, like Slowtrain. The bad thing is that no one is coming out to shows, not even high school kids. The internet has ruined music in a way that the world, let alone a teenager, doesn't need another band. They're being fed so much crap from MySpace that's all style and no substance that I don't blame a kid for not wanting to invest in real local art. When I was a kid, I was stoked to go and see New Transit Direction, Form Of Rocket or Day Of Less at Kilby Court. They made me want to play shows but nowadays, you just have to look good and add as many friends as you want. It's sad and bands need to come together and work on creating a bigger scene. The way that scenes work is that people have to believe that they're part of something bigger than themselves. Artists need to give people good reasons to feel that way with their music. Another thing is that I'd like to see more bands actually say something or be very honest with their music. I don't agree with a vast majority of what Gaza's putting out there but I respect that they're taking a stance on something rather than settling on songs that don't say anything and image. That's a lot more than I can say about a lot of bands in general, not just Utah.

Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it bigger or better?

Matthew: The $10 local show is killing the scene. Younger bands may think that there's money to be made but it doesn't take long for them to know that they are. I played one of these shows because I had other friends playing but I won't ever do it again. If you want a good reason to discourage a kid with no money not to go and support local bands, put on a $10 local show. It's ridiculous. Kids are being duped. Support venues who are trying to cultivate a scene like Kilby. More venues are also needed with some integrity and support for local music that Kilby has.

Gavin: Aside yourself, who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?

Matthew: Local-wise, I'm loving Band Of Annuals. They have amazing songs. Reviver is also an amazing band, they're exactly what Salt Lake needed as far as hardcore goes. The Lionelle is writing great rock songs and is only getting better. Emme Packer is also a great artist that's writing really good, honest songs.

Gavin: What's your opinion on the current airplay on community radio these days and how its affecting local artists?

Matthew: I'm not sure if I can count X96 "community" radio but other than running contests for bands to open for the Big Ass Show or whatever else, there's no support there anymore after they axed their show. It seems like KRCL is doing a great job of having local bands on the radio and supporting their records. Radio seems to be dying but the support for KRCL is only growing because people are just getting tired of what corporate America wants to sell them on. As long as they're supporting local music, KRCL's Salt Lake's only hope locally from what I know of.

Gavin: What's your take on file sharing these days and how it affects you as a musician?

Matthew: If people are sharing my music, I really hope they participate in the sharing of art by coming to a show and buying a shirt because other than that, it's not supporting me pay off the money I paid to record it. Good art should always be compensated somehow if there's a connection being made between the artist and the audience. People should really try to avoid sharing music from independent labels as well, they need every penny they can to make it. I say, if you like what you hear, please support the artists and the people working hard to bring the music to you.

Gavin: What can we expect from you%uFFFDguys throughout the rest of this year?

Matthew: Expect for me to take a little break to get married and enjoy my family. After that, expect another record to be made, more solo and full band shows and solo shows out of state that will be accompanied by my soon to be wife!

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?

Matthew: I will say that if anyone is genuinely wanting to know what my faith is all about and why I do this, come to The Rock Church on 2100 S. and 195 W. in the red warehouse. Also, check out my good friends in Reviver and The Lionelle, they play great music that deserves to be heard. Also, check out my EP on iTunes, Amazon and Slowtrain!

Reviver (Sam, Tom, Matt and Jeff)


Gavin: Hey Sam, first off, tell us a little about yourself.

Sam: I'm Sam. I play guitar/back up vocals in Reviver. I eat a lot of Ramen and sleep on a lot of floors.

Gavin: What got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Sam: At age twelve I started going to local shows and picked up playing guitar, It was awesome seeing kids playing in bands and putting together DIY shows. I was pretty clueless/open minded about music so for a while I tried to make it to almost every show that I got a flyer for. Punk and hardcore seems to be what has stuck with me most consistently, though I do enjoy many other genres. Some of my favorite bands growing up would have to be NoFX, Botch, Refused, Rage Against The Machine and The Bouncing Souls.

Gavin: How did you all get together to form Reviver?

Sam: I met Matt at a show a number of years ago and through some mutual friends we started jamming together in a shoe gaze-Isis clone type band with Brian. At the same time Matt was playing guitar in a hardcore band with Chase called Cool Your Jets that he was taking a bit more seriously. He ended up asking me to join CYJ so they would have someone more reliable for touring. After touring a bit with CYJ we were beginning to realize that it wasn't capable of being the full time touring band that a couple of us wanted it to be. Matt and I discussed starting a new full time band formed around Brian on drums, myself on guitar, Matt singing/playing guitar and Chase playing bass. By around November '07 we had written a handful of songs, played a couple shows and recorded a live demo with Andy Patterson. That is about when I considered Reviver a real band.

Gavin: Your music hits on hardcore, but its got more catchy rhythms than most hardcore bands produce. How was it for you all developing that sound and perfecting it for live shows?

Sam: I think we all clicked together pretty naturally. We had all played in at least one other band of a different genre of music with each other. So we were pretty familiar with each other's personal tastes and influences with interests to use them in how it would shape our sound. Some songs come out short, fast and simple. While others are a bit more experimental, longer, effects driven and complex. We don't want to be a band that writes the same songs over and over and we want to be able to cross genres a bit.

Gavin: Last year you released your full length, Versificator. What was the recording process like for you, and what issues did you come across while doing it?

Sam: The recording process was way smoother than any of us had thought it would be. We recorded with Andy Patterson, who is an excellent recording engineer, the best you can get around these parts. He's a genuinely awesome guy to hang out with, so recording an album with him is super fun and laid back. We knocked out the instrumental stuff in a couple weekends and then covered the vocals over a few additional shorter sessions. From there, Andy mixed it and sent it off to Carl Saff for mastering.

Gavin: What made you guys decide to go with Exigent Records for the release?

Sam: We were eager to get a serious release under our belts and didn't think putting out a release with a smaller indie label with as much potential, big (empty) promises and awesome of a catalog as Exigent would become such a huge hassle and handicap for us and that album. In retrospect, we would have been much better off self-releasing or considering other labels that had interest in us at the time. Lesson learned.

Gavin: What did you think of the public reaction to it when the album finally came out?

Sam: The response has been good as far as we can tell. We wrote the album we wanted to and put it out there for whoever wants to give it a chance.

Gavin: As of this show you're headed out on another tour. Where's this one taking you and when will you be back?

Sam: We're sticking around the South since it's winter. We will be home mid February and then back out in the beginning of March.

Gavin: Are there any plans for a second album right now, or are you mainly sticking to playing shows for now?

Sam: The plan of the band has always been to tour a lot. But we do have a wealth of unreleased material including an EP that will be released this year. Another new song will be going on the Enough Is Enough Compilation. Maybe more will be released if we have the means to get around to it...

Gavin: Going state-wide, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?

Sam: Very difficult to put into words without getting frustrated. Compared to 10-11 years ago when I started going to shows, I'd say the bands are better but they have fewer places to play and less people interested in the act of going to shows and supporting music. Everyone is jaded. Who knows though, maybe something will come along and bring it back?

Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it bigger or better?

Sam: I don't really have any answers or a strategy, but people should go to shows and start taking the initiative on booking and promoting shows. We also need more good DIY spots. Places like The Outer Rim and anything Kollective related exist soley to screw bands and show goers over to make a buck. It's been ruining the scene over the years and it makes me so frustrated that they are still here.

Gavin: Aside yourselves, who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?

Sam: There are so many, ten off the top of my head would be: Form Of Rocket, Gaza, Loom, Eagle Twin, Nine Worlds, Despite Despair, Bird Eater, City To City, The Lionelle, I Am The Ocean, and Pilot This Plane Down. That's actually eleven but I don't want to erase one now. Haha.

Gavin: What's your opinion on the current airplay on community radio these days and how its affecting local artists?

Sam: I can't say I have much of an opinion about it. I have an iPod and a high speed internet connection. I don't really watch TV or listen to the radio.

Gavin: What's your take on file sharing these days and how it affects you as a musician?

Sam: What it has done to the music industry is bittersweet, but I am glad it exists. I don't own 90% of the music on my iPod. I get my hands on the music I want to hear in whatever way is most practical for me. From my own point of view, being in a band, I just want people to hear my music and hope that they will like it and come out to a show. I'm not saying that you shouldn't bother financially supporting musicians though. Being in a full time touring band is one of the most financially irresponsible things you could do with your life. So if you really like a band, please go to a show or see if they have their own DIY ran online merch store to buy a CD or shirt, because then your money is actually going straight to the band. Some forms of distro are a novelty and through the evil grape vine of distributors and labels and whatnot it doesn't always benefit the band. But as long as you're listening I don't really care if you're spending money or not.

Gavin: What can we expect from you guys throughout the rest of this year?

Sam: As mentioned before, there is an EP we'd like to get out this year, no label solidified, but it will get released even if we have to put it out ourselves. Also, we'll be putting an exclusive new song on the Enough Is Enough Compilation. We might release more if we can. Other than that, we're trying to be on tour through most of 2010. Going to do the full United States a few times over, plans for Canada, talks of Central/South America... Who knows? The world is our domain and the bigger we set our expectations the more we'll get done.

Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?

Sam: 1. Keep an eye out for the Enough Is Enough Comp, it's going to be a free downloadable compilation in support of gay equality rights featuring around 50 bands, everything from hardcore to pop punk. 2. A quick Google search of "Reviver Versificator Mediafire" and you have should have no problem finding a link to download our CD, I fully support anyone doing this. 3. The GCA Mix Tape, it's a free downloadable compilation our friend put together that features a demo track of a song from our upcoming EP as well as songs from other Utah-based hardcore bands. Look it up.

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