My quest for worthwhile musical stumbles goes onwards! This time, via Noisetrade and Twitter, a new band caught my ears and has been pleasantly shaking up my iTunes library since. This band is called, Like Swimming. Swedish rockers Claes Carlström, Ida Hedene (who is absolutely gorgeous) and Petter Wesslander make up the trio. Breaching through the scene in fall 2014 with their debut album, “Structures,” the crew has been turning heads everywhere they go. They are starting to be heard a lot. I reached out and to my enjoyment; they agreed to tell me a little bit about their musical stride.
Their origin story is a rather simple and sweet. “Like Swimming is a phoenix rising from the ashes of our former band; You Say France & I Whistle, and to us it meant EVERYTHING to be able to continue exploring and writing music together. We didn´t know what Like Swimming was going to sound like, but we knew how we wanted to create music and that it was important to us to feel good while doing so. We started with months of just talking and writing over late dinners and bottles of wine to find the concept that became Like Swimming.” Nothing inspires artists more than some good food, drinks and friends.
Like Swimming’s music captures many different yet appealing elements in their genre. They elaborated on their favorite work. “The tension between acoustic and electronic sounds was important to us from the very beginning and during our first sessions as a band we tried to explore that balance and concept. Dance Any Way I Please was a song that came out of that session, and to us that song pointed a direction for the rest of our debut album “Structures.” The lyrics points out an important topic of feeling free to be who you are, no matter what people [tell] you, and in one sense that was what we were trying to tell ourselves when we started the band. Today, Dance Any Way I Please always opens up our live shows, and it sets both us and the audience in the right mood and mindset to continue the rest of the show!”
Ideal performances are plentiful for the trio. “We played a private rooftop party [in] Manhattan together with HAIM once, which [was] the most awesome show ever…The best shows for us seem to be at smaller festivals where people REALLY, REALLY care about the bands playing. We´ve had such great times at festivals like Frizon in Sweden, Halden POP in Germany, and Culture Collide in Los Angeles. So, to us an outdoor slot in the sun in Silver Lake, LA during Culture Collide is the ideal performance!” After being able to see HAIM perform at The Made In America Festival in 2014, I know exactly the kind of thrill Like Swimming must have felt that night. They are well on their way.
Despite their ideal shows, they have had some difficult ones. “Oh, this is an easy one… While promoting “Structures” in the US we played as many shows as possible, and in as many ways as possible… We played acoustic in people’s living rooms (one time we used a kid’s drum kit, instead of real drums), semi acoustic in bars and on radio and full set shows at venues and festivals. One Sunday we played this Mexican bar in Middletown, Connecticut and didn’t really expect anyone to show up cause the town was totally empty while sound checking. However, just minutes before the show started the bar was filled with people, only they were all dressed as zombies… We realized we were part of a Zombie pub-crawl, and that our audience had already been to a few bars before heading to the show. So, we had to play our hearts out to please our dead but frisky audience and in the end it really worked! I think we ended up playing three sets that night, but playing to dead people was difficult!” The Walking Dead meets Like Swimming. Probably the best concert theme ever. Insert Rick Grimes Meme here.
Ever since they have entered the music world, they have learned a lot about the business. “Being able to write music that reaches millions of listeners through streaming services such as Spotify is amazing! The freedom we have in finding new music is just mind-blowing! Our band would probably not have existed if it wasn’t for MySpace and the contacts and recognition we got in the beginning of our career. As a new band you are vulnerable and need people to believe in you (more than your mom and friends), and you need feedback to continue your musical escapades. Today, we work with really talented people to get our music out there and gain recognition in the vast jungle of music.” It has worked well for them. In fact, part of my recognition of their work was via social media, which led to a search on Noisetrade for some of their free stuff. It really works.
“The fun part of playing in a band is that the actual music is quite a small part of the total production. We love to have our fingers in everything from music video production, artwork and merchandise, stage design and social media strategies. When we started the band we actually had a small factory at Petter’s parents place where we screen printed and sewed our record sleeves in cloth…maybe we should go back to that!?” Um, yeah! That is a very original way of showcasing records. It adds a more personal touch to it all.
I have been a fan for quite some time with a love of their songs such as: Go Buffalo, God Knows and Among A Thousand Desperate Minds. “Recording music is an interesting process where you freeze a brief moment of music and put it on a record… Our songs are constantly changing and developing when we write them, record them and play them live. Go Buffalo for instance [has] existed in so many versions and live versions … that is the way we develop our sound and our music forward. We´ve recorded a (tiny) version of Go Buffalo using only a microphone as drums, as well as letting well-known producers do their versions of the song on our “Go Buffalo Remixes EP.” There´s no right or wrong when it comes to music, and that´s why we love playing covers of other peoples songs such as our version of Lean On by Major Lazer. You change something in the dynamics and all of a sudden you listen to the song in a totally different way!”
“We find our inspiration to our songs in anything from literature to architecture and everyday news about the injustice in our world… When it comes to our personal music inspiration we span from Beck to Beyoncé to The Beach Boys and Bombay Bicycle Club… Anything that starts with B is ok!”
Currently the band is taking a well-deserved break. “Right now we are enjoying a vacation in the remote cabin outside of Stockholm where we wrote most of the songs that became ‘Structures.’ The rain is pouring outside and there are no ‘musts’ other than putting more logs on the fire! We are also writing on new material for the follow up to ‘Structures, and we can’t wait to release more music! Our next big project is actually a tiny one! We´ve recorded an EP called ‘TINY Structures.’ It´s an acoustic EP of some of the songs from ‘Structures’ that we developed while touring last year. We gained so much recognition while playing these versions that we felt we needed to record them and put them on an EP. We call it Tiny, since some of the versions are really tiny, but there are some surprises on the EP that aren´t tiny at all, and even a glimpse of what´s to come in a new song called Cover My Eyes! I, for one, will be looking forward to this new EP. Good music for the seasons is always what we need. Like Swimming are one of those prime musical examples that bring joy to listeners everywhere. Once you are hooked, you remain satisfied. Please take a listen to their work and join the crowd. Catch them, once they finish chilling in Stockholm, and be amazed!