Friday, August 27, 2021

Swim School spill the tea on festivals, life after lockdown and why speaking out about mental health is so important

Swim School have certainly had an exciting few months. Since lockdown restrictions lifted, the Scottish alt band have been making the most of newfound freedoms and exploring melodic rhythms.

Finally, the band have released their debut single ‘making sense of it all’, so we caught up with Lewis, Alice, Matt and Billy to find out what has inspired their music, what lockdown meant to them and how we can all show up for those struggling to speak out about mental health struggles…


We can only imagine what it’s been like to pause live shows over lockdown, how have you all coped with the pandemic as a band?


Lewis: We’ve been really lucky with how we’ve used our time in lockdown. We used the time off from live shows to really try and improve our songwriting and really push ourselves to create a unique sound, our debut EP ‘making sense of it all’ is a body of work from what we’ve been up to for the past year.


You’ve just joined ITB booking agency and have been asked to play at Latitude Festival before the latest government changes were made, how do you feel about the latest changes to live events this summer?


Lewis: I think we all feel the changes were desperately needed. With the lack of government support for people working at gigs and artists hasn’t helped the situation either. We’re all just buzzing to be back playing live again.


Can you tell us about your favourite gig to-date? We all need a reminder of how incredible it is to be in the crowd watching our favourite artists right now!


Alice: Honestly, I think we’ll all agree that the best show we’ve ever played was our first one back at Latitude. We were absolutely blown away by the response to our set and the crowd gave us our first ever mosh pit! We were also lucky enough to play a second set the day after which was equally as incredible.


I’m sure you all instinctively know when someone is having a bad day, be it on the road or whilst you’re taking a break from recording. What’s your favourite way to cheer each other up?


Matt: Give Billy McMahon a guitar, it cheers us all up, especially his freestyling, he’s amazing at it.


Your latest single ‘anyway’ is all about opening up about being honest about our mental health and how difficult it can be for people to open up; can you tell us about why you wanted to write about this important social issue?


Alice: In the midst of lockdown, the biggest piece of advice about how to protect your mental health was opening up and talking about how you feel. I believe that talking about what you are going through benefits you massively but it’s not always that easy. I wanted to write a song about that overwhelming feeling when you want to open up, but you can't. It’s hard to describe an indescribable feeling, especially when you might not have supportive people around you.


What would your advice be to someone who feels is struggling and doesn’t know how to speak up?


Alice: One factor that might stop people from opening up is the lack of supportive people around them. Surrounding yourself with good people, being honest and feeling comfortable in expressing yourself in front of those people could potentially allow you to naturally speak up. 

Writing down how you feel is also a good alternative to speaking up. Getting your feelings down on a piece of paper has that psychological effect of getting it out your head and onto paper - that helps for me so hopefully that helps someone else. 


What are your favourite feel-good anthems for days where life feels a little overwhelming?


Lewis: For me just now it’s definitely ‘wetsuit’ by the vaccines, it just reminds me of how amazing Latitude was and how great it was to be in a tent .


We (hopefully) have plenty of live music to look forward to from you all later on in the year, but what’s next for 2021 and beyond?


Billy: We just hope we can keep playing shows, we’ve got a few shows here and there coming up which we’re absolutely buzzing for! We’d absolutely love to go on tour this year, but things are still a little bit up in the air just now.


Swim School’s debut EP ‘making sense of it all’ is now available on all major streaming platforms and don’t forget to check out @weareswimschool on Instagram for the latest live events and exclusive content.  

Soph Smith


Image: Rory Barnes


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