ITW #4 – SWEAT
Robben, Georgia, Jordan and Alan are SWEAT and we couldn’t be happier to have them today.
Arranged & assembled in 2015, our group began by slowly playing out some tunes I (Robben) had written over the past few years. As we progressed, we began to experiment more with co-writing. Georgia, a new songwriter and incredible singer, began to write simple yet strong 3-chord melodies carried by a smooth and bold vocal presence. Jordan sets to platform the band with driving and intuitive bass grooves while Alan maintains a steady drum line, incomprehensibly solid due to its balanced beat.
For the past year it seemed impossible for a band to release an indie rock album without being compared to Mac DeMarco, Beach Fossils or similar bands. From what we could read, it seems to be your case. Do you find it annoying or is it a compliment?
Like any band, I’m sure we’d prefer to be seen in a more unique light, but it’s a reality within the scene to be compared. To say we weren’t influenced by him would be false. Growing up in Edmonton, we (Jordan and Robben) knew Mac and by association definitely took to similar music styles. I guess it’s a bit of both, I know a lot of acts who get the same treatment, it’s to be expected at this point. We typically just try to have a bit of fun with it, see how long we can read a review of ours without seeing a comparison. It’s cool in any sense, we appreciate any sort of coverage and undoubtedly like his tunes. I think the best we ever got was being compared to the Beach Boys, I can get down with that.
Your music sounds like a crossroads of so many influences, from so many eras. During your composing and rehearsing process, is it easy to find compromises among the band members?
Typically finding compromise between how the tunes sound is through a lot of trial-and-error, playing a part 20 times over to really get a solid feel. Like any act, we have good, bad, and great practices. The great ones are hardly more consistent, but that’s all a part of it. I think the most important thing is persistence, if something sounds off, try it differently. Don’t immediately toss a tune because it doesn’t sound right. Some songs fall into place, while others are extremely grueling. It’s all part of the end product, right after you’re done playing a tune and know that you finally got it — it’s a rush! The exciting part is the sound is always developing, even old tunes, nothing is played the same way forever.
Lots of bands rely heavily on self-marketing and social media. You seem to be shyer than others on this topic. Why?
I like to think we’re going for a bit more of a subtle approach as far as marketing goes, that alongside the fact that we don’t know what the hell we’re doing. If we think of something funny to say, that generally hits the page, or during our short tour this past summer we were pretty active. I’ve followed bands that were extremely active and in your face and it got annoying. Our main focus is the music, luckily, the label that put out our self-titled EP Human Sounds Records and its founder Josh Andrews is a fantastic person and does a lot of work for us. Typically I’ll send him a tune of ours and within a few days, we’ll have a write-up, mention, or popular Youtube subscriber uploading our tracks. It’s worked out well and we’re comfortable.
Your self-titled album SWEAT has a stunning production quality. Would you tell us a bit about the recording sessions?
We recorded the whole album instrumentally in one day last January in our friend Garrett Johnson’s studio. It was a day full of pizza and junk food that by the end had us lying about on the studio floor. Garrett is a fantastic producer and musician (The Gary Jerry John-John Band FKA Brazilian Money) and recently released his ninth album. Garrett is another ex-pat from Edmonton so we’ve known each other for a good while. He was great to work with and gave some great advice towards altering our technique and sound. I believe we might be working with him again soon!
Our curious minds couldn’t miss that you made an announcement on your Facebook page lately. Tell us about it?
This may now be a bit late, but we have a new single! “Lil’ Moments” available up&around on iTunes, Spotify, Tidal and all other digital platforms. We recorded it ourselves and are working at releasing a few new tracks that I think we will collectively group together in a small release that I like to call our “lo-fried” demo collection (hehe). We plan to be back in the studio in March 2017!
Compiled by Marc Louis-Boyard for Slow Culture.
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