When it comes to Swervedriver and Australia, it’s a “love-love relationship”

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When it comes to Swervedriver and Australia, it’s a “love-love relationship”

Words by Tammy Walters

It’s no secret that Oxford alternative rock band, Swervedriver, and Australia have a mutual love for each other.

Post hiatus in 2015 while touring Down Under, the shoegazers stopped into Melbourne’s Birdland Studio where they recorded half of their comeback album, I Wasn’t Born To Lose You; the first time they ever recorded internationally. Two years later, the boys are back to play The Croxton Bandroom on Thursday September 19 with brand new material.

“It’s funny because we didn’t really go to Australia for the first five years of putting records out but then I think one year we went three times in one year, which was crazy. I’m pretty sure we flew on Christmas Day once to Australia,” laughs frontman Adam Franklin. “We’re really looking forward to getting Down Under again and feeling that love-love relationship.” 

Swervedriver made a name for themselves in the late ‘80s/‘90s, supporting bands like Soundgarden and Smashing Pumpkins, with their unique shoegaze styling. This eventually grew into heavier rock and metamorphosed into a melting pot of psychedelic blends, classic pop juices and indie rock charm.

Reforming and re-entering the songwriting process after an eight-year break, and trying to maintain the natural sonic progression of the band, was challenging for I Wasn’t Born To Lose You.

For their 2019 release, Future Ruins, the trio were back into routine, drawing on from their original band inspirations of Sonic Youth, T. Rex and Dinosaur Jr, and using Australian psychedelic rock frontrunners, Tame Impala as reference points for moving into a modern age. 

“We got back together and we didn’t record anything for a long time but when we did, we thought ‘it’s got to represent the natural development of where the band would have gone’. But say we recorded seven albums between 1999 and 2015, or whatever it was. By that point we may have changed or shape-shifted out of recognition, but that would have been crazy to come back and do an electronic album or something,” Franklin laughs.

“I was certainly listening to records and things that had inspired us right at the get go and you know the comics books, as well as rockets and books and stuff that just moves us.”

Following suit from I Wasn’t Born To Lose You, Future Ruins was recorded overseas, in an LA studio across a two-week period with 30 songs churned out for the taking.

“You never really know, with any idea, how far along it will go,” says Franklin. “There are some songs on this album which were just sort of laid down and you come around and think ‘oh that’s pretty cool’ and you do stuff on top, and before you know it you have this song.

“Whereas in 1989 and 1990 we would have, of course, been in a rehearsal room sort of bashing it out and working out what’s going to happen next. I mean that’s probably the biggest difference between then and now. Back then you might have had an idea, a complete 360-degree idea, of what a song might sound like but I think now you can reach that point at the demoing stage.”

Swervedriver have clearly embraced a bucket load of changes in their return to music from their sonic scope to the recording and distribution processes, but they also embraced an alternative to traditional record label funding. Future Ruins was entirely crowdfunded by fans and supporters who were more than happy to come to the bands aid in the name of new material, which Swervedriver are eternally thankful for.

“We’re really happy that everything has stood the test of time and that it still actually has some kind of tangible meaning in the modern arena,” Franklin says.

Swervedriver bring their seminal shoegaze to The Croxton on Thursday September 19. Grab your tickets via the venue website. Check out their 2019 album, Future Ruins, via streaming services.