Meet SWMRS: Hedi Slimane’s Boy Band Muse
SWMRS new full length album Drive North hit the airwaves Friday, February 12.
We chatted with Oakland based band members Max and Cole Becker, Joey Armstrong, and Seb Mueller about their album expectations, band dynamic, are artistic processes. Oh, and what it’s like to collaborate with Saint Laurent.
See our q+a with SWMRS, below.
Stream Drive North HERE.
Galore: Does this feel like a debut album?
Max: It feels mostly like a debut album because this is an entirely new direction for us. New process, and new lifestyle even. It does feel a bit seasoned because we have been through the process before, so we know about touring, we know about press, it’s familiar to us. But the actual music? That is completely new. It is totally a debut album.
What are you expecting from this album? What are you most excited for?
Cole: It’s a series of steps and we just get excited for each new thing, and for each new day. I’m most excited for our festival, Uncool Fest. After that, whatever happens happens. My goal for this album is to sell out a show in St. Louis. Last time we were in St. Louis only 3 people were at our show.
Joey: And they were all racist.
Cole: Extremely racist. But we couldn’t tell them to fuck off because they were the only people there. I think it’s realistic to think that after this album we are going to be able to finally get sold out shows. It would be awesome if at some point we could go to Central America or South America or even Japan. We go back and forth a lot between Europe and America, but it would be awesome to go to one of those.
What was it like collaborating with Saint Laurent?
Max: What happened was they saw us play at Burgerama in Orange County and they liked our energy and decided they wanted us to write their soundtrack. And we already had a song called “Harry Dean,” so we decided we were just going to expand that into a 17 minute song with different parts to it. Working with Saint Laurent has been really cool because we got to do so many things. They put us in the campaign and we got to walk for them and they put us in the cover photo. That was awesome exposure for us. It was also cool for us to see that world and see what we like and don’t like about it. Because at the end of the day, we’re musicians. A lot of the people were really cool though.
What is your band dynamic like?
Seb: Well, as an only child, I have to say that this is what I would guess that having brothers is like.
Max: Essentially, and if we were to give each other titles, Joey would be the prankster, Cole would be the dumbass and Seb and I would be the quarterbacks.
Cole: Seb is angry. Max is aggravating.
Max: I am pretty agro.
Cole: I am not a dumbass, I just say what is on my mind.
Max: Idiot savant.
Joey: To answer your question, if we had the option of sleeping in separate beds or sleeping all together on the floor, we would take the floor.
What is the craziest prank that one of you has ever pulled?
Joey: This year for Christmas, Seb and I bought Max a 4 inch, 20 pound dildo and we wrapped it with a note that said, “For Max, From Santa,” We put it under his family’s Christmas tree. We put it in the box in a certain way so that it would pop out when he opened it. He opened it in front of his family, it was awful.
Cole: I was there. I filmed it, I have a video.
What are some musical influences that you guys have?
Cole: The Replacements.
Max: The Strokes, Bruce Springsteen, and The Clash. The Clash are one of those bands where they’ve come out with a ton of music, but you always know it’s The Clash. That’s kind of our goal.
Tell me about your song “Miley”.
Cole: She is just an ever present force in every millennial’s life. With that video, I just used a lot of found footage and edited it to go through the evolution of Miley. I’m not necessarily a fan. But I am someone who is constantly perplexed by her.
Max: She has gone through so many changes throughout her career. I mean, it makes you think of David Bowie. Here are a couple of people who have just constantly been creating new identities throughout their careers, until the end.
Cole: Miley is herself. She is a corporate entity but she stays true to herself.
What are some inspirations for your music?
Seb: I watch “Teletubbies” every morning before I work on a bass line. I watch children’s shows during the recording process. I find it relaxing.
Cole: Joey is obsessed with movies. They make fun of me because I have weird taste in movies. I like foreign movies.
Max: Blue is the Warmest Color or Life is Beautiful. We like all different things though.
Cole: It’s a very collaborative process for us. We all have very different personalities.
Joey: We also do everything ourselves. We don’t need 20-30 writers to complete an album.
What is your songwriting process?
Cole: The lyrics come from Max and me but it’s really collaborative. The real value in music is sharing it with other people.
Max: The Beatles weren’t The Beatles because of John Lennon. They were The Beatles because of John, Paul, Ringo and George.
Cole: George mostly.
Max: All of them were vital and some of them don’t get enough credit, but they were all extraordinary.
Favorite crowd to play for?
Joey: We just like anyone who sings along and is having a good time.
What do you guys do to pump yourselves up?
Joey: We all have our own routines. Stretching, warming up, whiskey and ginger.
Max: I mostly just play my guitar.
Cole: I like to listen to Missy Elliot.
Any last words?
Max: Drive North.
Photography by Evan Cisneros