I introduced y’all to Swampbird a few weeks ago, with their music video, “Matter of Time.” I had the pleasure of catching up with the bird last week in DC while they made their way up the East Coast on their Eastern Promises tour. Meet Swampbird!
Hi our name is:
People say we sound like:
We get the standard alt country comparisons (Lucero, Drive By Truckers, Whiskeytown) but we also get weirder stuff like John Williams or the police. Not the band, but like the actual police.
We are & we play:
Our line up varies a little bit, but for the most recent tour we are:
Lucas – shred-box captain
Mike – rhythmic shred-box + song singer
Paul – beat buckets
Zac – deep groove-box + song singer
Tommy T. Whitehead is also a shred-box captain for Swampbird, but sometimes he works from home.
We are from:
Lucas: Mammoth Springs, AR
Mike: Lake Chuckyville, LA
Paul: Deez Ark, AR
Zac: Space Camp, AL
We all have pretty eclectic influences that we channel into the project. There are singer-songwriters in some of our stuff, but there are also gnarly rock riffs and other cool stuff we’ve borrowed along the way.
We also like to watch live videos of Bruce Springsteen to get really jazzed before a show.
How we got together:
About 5 years ago a few of us started playing music together as a way to party on our feet. Soon we were throwing mini shows at an apartment complex where we lived in Conway, Arkansas. That turned into playing house shows and those turned into all kinds of gigs at home and on the road. We’ve rotated members a few times, but in general we’ve been a pretty cohesive unit. We have a lot of fun and feel very lucky to do what we do.
Craziest show we ever played:
We’ve had some strange experiences over the years. We’ve played shows in a cave, in an abandoned bowling alley, and most recently on a sidewalk in downtown Portland. The cops shut that one down.
The craziest though was probably a DIY festival called Buttranger in Arkansas. It was a weekend of constant music and party time. We got to hang with a bunch of really cool and talented people like The Weeks, Ginsu Wives, and The Davincis. It was our first taste of festival style shows. Always a blast.
Songs/Albums that never seem to get old:
Take Me Home Tonight by Eddie Money. Never gets old.
What are you currently listening to:
Well, we have the latest releases from buddies Banditos and Daniel Romano spinning in the van lately.
Literally right now, right this second, we are listening to the song Pretty Pimpin by Kurt Vile. It is very good.
What experiences have you had that seem to influence your music most:
As individuals we all have experiences from back home and abroad that have shaped us and our music. As a band, though, there are definitely some standout moments that had had a big impact on our music. For instance, our first trip to Jackson, MS involved a pretty harrowing struggle while looking for a place to stay, and that struggle ended up creating a song on our latest EP.
Other bands/What you have coming up/solo gigs/etc.:
We are just wrapping up our summer tour up the east coast, so we will be gathering ourselves for a little while to gear up for the next big thing(s).
Mike has a solo record he’s about to lay down with Daniel Romano’s folks up in Ontario, so everyone needs to be on the lookout for that. Also, Tommy T and Zac are in a band called The Uh Huhs who are fixing to release their first EP in September. Paul had been working on some pretty far out stuff too, so any space cadets out there should be ready to tune in.
Some of you play in bands in a completely different genre. How does that influence you in this band/genre:
More than anything, it seems to refine our particular approach to music. We are all the type of folks that have a lot of ideas bouncing around our heads, and if we didn’t have other projects in our lives you might hear a much more schizophrenic sound from us. But having the other channels has let us hone what Swampbird is.
Beatles or Rolling Stones:
Unfair question. Beatles is our big answer. But Stones for a party or traveling to a show. You gotta hang with Mick on the weekends.
Because you guys play country, Dolly or Loretta:
Note from the band:
We are so lucky to have awesome friends and a supportive base. We have been shown great kindness at home and on the road, and that’s the most that a band can ask for.
You can follow Swampbird here: