First off, you guys are about to release your full-length debut 'The Grand Partition And The Abrogation Of Idolatry' through Nuclear Blast Records. What can people still unfamiliar with SWWAATS expect from that album? What effect do you hope it will have on an unsuspecting listener?
The album was written without any sort of pre-determined creative boundaries or parameters, so the listener can expect music that is free of limitations. We never worried about being true to any particular genre or style, we just wrote what felt natural for us to play and the result is a very unique listening experience in terms of what is generally considered to be extreme metal. In simpler terms, we don't know what to call it, but we know it's heavy and it's extremely pissed off.
Could you give a short introduction to the band, the music and your ambitions?
SWWAATS is a middle finger punctuated with a question mark. We're the part of you that wants to question everything you hear and to defy what you feel is wrong. The music is as direct and unforgiving as the band's agenda. We are here to shake things up and make misery out of the lives of the complacent.
I managed to delay this question, but of course the one thing that everyone wants to know: what is up with the long band name and long titles? Do you have problems with being concise?
The band's name is a literary reference. Perhaps we read too much. As one can see, we're not fans of brevity. Personally, I believe that the time for metaphor and vague outline is long gone. If you can't outline exactly what it is that you are trying to say, then there's no point in saying it. We knew from the start that we would get a lot of grief about our titles, mainly because most people hate to read anymore it seems. We however feel that it is not prudent to ignore the tastes and desires of metal fans who are literate and have above-average attention spans.
And are you already getting sick of this aspect of your band being highlighted, having to answering questions and seeing it mentioned all of the time?
Not really. Our name is absurdly long and the commotion surrounding it is equally absurd. We find great humour in the absurd.
Where does your name actually come from? Do you feel there is a certain element of danger in being successful?
As previously mentioned, our name is a reference. It comes from a piece written by William Burroughs called "apocalypse" in which he describes art and creative expression taking a literal and physical form. The "Apocalyptic" consequences of "success" are totally subjective. But have you watched the news lately? Holy Shit.
The next big thing that stands out in your music is of course the insane level of brutality! What is the secret?
It wouldn't be a secret if I told you, now would it? I can say however that lack of creative limitation is an integral part of what we do.
One person that must have had something to do with that is your producer James Murphy. How did you get him to work on your album and what are your experiences with him?
Working with James was really great. We had several producers in mind once we got our deal offer and James had the best portfolio to suit the sound we were looking for. He was a wealth of knowledge, extremely active with ideas and was a riot, he's a really funny guy and awesome to hang out with. Great times were had by all.
What do you feel is the most appealing feature of your music? How does SWWAATS hope to contribute to the ever growing immensity of the metal scene?
There is a certain desperation in our sound. As well, we never thought it would be a good idea to sound like any other band. The band has very wide ranges of influence in very abrasive forms of music. There are elements of every kind of music you can think of that would piss off your parents... unless your parents listened to Venom and worshipped Satan or something. Coincidentally, if that is indeed the case, you'll probably enjoy our music regardless.
Which contemporary bands do you feel a connection with, musical or philosophical?
Speaking for me personally... Gojira falls into both of those categories. I fucking love Gojira. Musically... I enjoy the shit out of Irreversible, Hunab Ku, Rwake, Secret Chiefs 3, Today is the Day, Frank Zappa, Human Remains, Mastodon, Suffocation, Gigan, Khann.... lots and lots of things. If I've heard it and liked it, then it has more than likely influenced me.
Judging by your bio you seem a socially conscious band. What topics do you address in your lyrics?
Wage Slavery. Psychological warfare. Denial and contortion of human rights. Globalism. Eugenics. The ills of central banking. Generally we like to cover topics that people don't enjoy talking about.
And what difference do you hope to make as a metal band?
Music has always been a very strong beacon of communication, and has been capable of delivering some of the worlds most progressive and esoteric philosophy. Metal is what we play, so here we are.
I read in your biography that SWAATS members come from all kinds of different places in the US. How did you guys get together and how does geography influence the logistic aspect of the band (rehearsing for example)?
We had to search abroad for members using networking sites via the internet, as there wasn't anyone locally at the time who wanted to play the music that we wanted to play. Afterward we all settled into one location for the purposes of writing and rehearsal. Aaron and I were located in Tampa FL at the time, and considering Florida's previous history with great metal, it just seemed like the place to be.
What is the funny story behind you being picked up by the mighty Nuclear Blast?
There is a funny story? In my youth, I took a trip to a house in Versailles Kentucky (about 30 miles from where I lived at the time) and arrived to witness a sixteen year old kid attempt suicide by swallowing an entire bottle of aspirin and washing it down with one-quarter gallon of bourbon whiskey. He proceeded to vomit and convulse profusely, and begin to throw and break the contents of his living room, this included a television, coffee table, couches, etc etc... I hear screaming from the bedrooms in the home, and walk into the hallway to discover a man with no legs wielding a knife and threatening to murder everyone in the house while scooting aggressively along the floor on his knuckles. That's a pretty funny story... but getting signed to Nuclear Blast was awesome. I think we were very lucky to have the right people hear what we were doing, and to believe in it enough to present us to the world at large. It is a wonderful feeling and a great honour.
Having a label that is based in Europe, does this make it more easy for you to play overseas? When will we be able to see you guys over here?
I would say so, yes. You can expect to see SWWAATS on the Thrash and Burn tour in April/May! We can't wait to meet everyone. Yes... everyone. Please come and say hello!