In the Mother of all interviews Michael Gira (legendary frontman of Swans) talks to journalist and music-enthusiastic John Doran of The Quietus (a legend in his own right). This is an extensive and fascinating interview which covers everything from Howlin’ Wolf to Haiti to Francis Bacon and well beyond…
Get a glimpse into Michael Gira head by reading the interview in full over at The Quietus. For fun, we’ve picked out a couple of quotes for you below. Swans bring their monolithic live show to Supersonic’s main stage in just a few weeks. Having just released their thirteenth album in just over three decades, To Be Kind, (which has been received rave reviews: 10/10 – LouderThanWar ; 4/5 – TimeOut etc.) our audience can expect a bold and uncompromising show from one of the world’s most powerful live bands. Don’t miss your chance to see these musical titans, the last few Supersonic tickets are available from HERE.
JD: Having attended Swans gigs between albums and the Kickstarter-style demo albums, you can hear this natural kind of evolutionary process taking place. What’s interesting to me is that although it’s undeniably an organic growth, there are things that do stand out to me on the new album. Yeah, sure, it’s still monolithic, but I think the grooves are maybe funkier, maybe even sexier… is that kind of a fair comment?
MG: Yeah, that was the intent, we did sit down and say ‘lets make a sexy groove’ because we’re so sexy…[laughs]
JD: Like Alexander O’Neal or something…
MG: What I discovered on the last record was that I wanted to push forward on this one. It was about this groove and how I could really focus on that, not necessarily these big sheets of sound, but more about the possibility to find something that could just keep going forever, without feeling mechanical. So we pushed that aspect. We often focused in on the rhythms, but the idea of us actually getting funky is pretty preposterous. It’s some kind of idiosyncratic version of that I guess, but it’s a fine line for us to tread, because I don’t want to be a white boy trying desperately to grow a big butt.
JD: Something that I think is really interesting about Swans, is that you clearly came out of New York City, but if you asked most music fans, 99 out of 100 to talk about the continuum of New York groups, people would say Velvet Underground, Television, Modern Lovers, Suicide, Sonic Youth, maybe Glenn Branca, maybe Philip Glass, people usually wouldn’t say Swans. You were obviously from New York but you weren’t really a New York group, if you see the distinction?
MG: Well, I made a point of that. Whether it was career suicide or not, I don’t know, but I made a point of separating ourselves from other people in the scene, very quickly. At first we played with Sonic Youth quite a bit, we were friends, but that didn’t work out after a while and I just wanted to separate ourselves from that because I felt that was just another straitjacket, another cliché, and I wanted to make something that was ‘us’ or ‘me’ and not be attached to that.