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Interview

Swallows
15/01/2004 (interview with Charlie & Crow)



Please give a brief history of the band, including current line up.

Current line up:
Charlie Swallow - vocals / guitar
Greg Crow - bass / backing vocals
Szymek - drums n monkey antics

Swallows formed when I met Crow in Safeway, we jammed n hit it off as we both loved the same style of punk rock having both been influenced by skateboard vid music like Rancid, Op Ivy, Pegboy, Goldfinger basically all the punk rock on videos like H - Street, 411, Puzzle, as well as going to every gig we could when we were growing up. For me that was bands like Snuff, Rancid, and Ash (!) in a pub in Bristol, for Greg it was Exploited, Rancid, and a crazy night in San Francisco involving D.I. and getting beat up by a skinhead!! Me n Crow jammed for 2 years before meeting a drummer,
Rob.

Drummers were always an issue, we've been together for 1 year and had 3 drummers - Rob (currently with The Foamers), Italo (an Italian who went back home), and Szymek whom I met four years ago in Stockwell skatepark.We played our first show at the Dome, Tuffnell Park in June 2002 with Italo, he left so we didnt start gigging properly until Jan 2003.

Discography.

Songs From Gregs Bedroom - 5 songs


Has any band member played in other bands, if so what?

Crow - Braindead (sounded like 80's skate thrash like 'Rock for Light' era Bad Brains
Rancour (old skool punk)

And if you could have anyone from any band join you, who would you go for?

Crow - Tim Armstrong of course!!!!

Charlie - probably either Duncan from Snuff or Ben Weasel, but Ben probably
would hate me!!


If you were writing a review about the Swallows, how would you describe the band?

Swallows are melodic punk that will put a smile on your face and get you jumping around to catchy tunes whilst hopefully singing about stuff that matters, like changing education, the state of the UK, music, bands, working out how to pay rent, girls, boys, work, just everyday things that can be a big deal sometimes.

Why did you go for the name The Swallows and what other band names do you rate?

Swallows, not The Swallows (we're gonna have P.Diddy issues here I can tell....), came about when Italo said it was cool, and me and Crow agreed. Crow likes the fact that the swallow, apart from being a cool tattoo, is the only bird that mates for life, and sybolises love and strength. A swallow can fly accross half the world and still live. Try walking to Brazil in the winter and see if you survive!!

How did your two releases come about and what track are you particularly proud of?

We recorded twice on the CD, once at Bonafide (Scrapheap, Jen Song, Politics), Curtain Rd, London, and once at Premier, Corby (I Don't Know Why, Tommy). I like the new stuff we're doing, as the band has progressed a lot from the recorded bits we did a year ago. If I had to choose one song it would be Jen Song cos it was the first song I wrote after I started jamming with Crow in Dec 2001. Lyrically I like Politics, basically it outlines how politics seems to be put in place by those with power and control to distract the public from becoming incensed and reacting to the fucked up way the country is run by puppeteer businesses whose strings are pulled by Bush, McDonalds, Esso and the whole economic strata that we're subjected to, but rarely recognise as a bad thing, because we lead to belive its the government, or this person or that person that runs thing when it is clearly not so.


What bands would you recommend checking out?

Charlie - some of the Panic Button bands like The Lillingtons, The Eyeliners, and Enemy You I've been getting into recently. Also early Snuff like the Reach album. Any Screeching Weasel album recorded before 1995. I love dub like Jah Shaka, and Nucleus Roots, and hip hop like Dilated Peoples too. Fuck it, even Blink 182 and Green Day I like, from the early days. As for old punk, definately The Buzzcocks and the UK Subs.

What is the Punk/Oi scene like in your area?

Pretty lame as I live in Stratford, East London where NO ONE can be bothered to get off there ass to come to a show. There are a couple of bands from our area but they all seem to be into the Simple Plan end of music which makes me wanna jump off a bridge into an abyss. Punch Puppet rocked but they split up. A lot of London bands have a shit attitude to other bands too, like slating bands behind peoples backs, and spreading shit about people, this sucks and these bands can stay the fuck out of the punk scene as far as I'm concerned. We've played some cool London shows with bands like The Filaments, Dead Pets, Operation Nailbomb, Jakal, The Griswalds, The Dakini's, The Jinx Project, Kittenhead Gearshifter, and My Dad Joe.

Plans, gigs and releases planned for 2004.

We're gonna record 3 songs in a studio soon, they are gonna fuckin kill you!!! Also we're in the process of putting together a summer tour, but we need the stepping stone of being asked to go out as a support to a bigger act,. One way or another its gonna happen because we work hard. We'll do it ourselves probably. Our next gig as it stands will be on 23rd Jan 2004 with The Dead Pets, Moosehawk, The Dakini's at The Windmill, Brixton.

Any final comments?

Never give up, if you want to start a band, do it. If you want to write a zine do it. Make stuff happen. Don't listen to anyone who puts you down or gives you shit because they don't like your band. Unite against the posers, wannabies, idiots and people that drag the music scene down through backbiting, slagging and negativaty. When you meet someone cool at a gig or in a band keep in touch as this bonds people together in the world. Also dont EVER stand next to Crow when he farts as you may well not make it through to the next hour.Swallows are up for gigs outside London, we will come and wreak havok in your town.

No thanks to bands and people that drag punk rock through the shit. Stay away from these people and our scene will stay strong.BIIIIIG Thanks to Loz @ Beerbelly promotions, The Windmill crew (Pete Kittenhead Gearshifter & Tim), Justin at the Cart n Horses pub in Stratford, all the cool bands we played with, Dave @ Toxico clothing, OTR Studio in Hackney, SPF Media (Journey Days), all the cool people who come to the shows (especially in Stratford!!), Stockwell & Leytonstone skate massive, Si n Kev for the P.A., Gareth for the photos on the website, Jef in SA for the website, and Rory Minor Defect in Ashford (RIP The Star).

Check out www.swallowsmusic.com


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Please note that the opinions expressed by band members does not necessarily reflect the views of this website. Punk & Oi in the UK Limited are in no way liable for comments made by interviewees.