How Punk Band SWMRS Is Helping MTV Bring Music Back
The long running joke has always been that MTV — “music television” — never plays any actual music. Well, get ready, because MTV is bringing music back to their programming in a super dope way!
MTV’s new live-with-live music flagship show, “Wonderland”, is part of MTV’s largest rebrand in twenty years. With resident DJ Matt FX, Stand-up Comedian Myke Wright, and hosts STEAK and Lizzo, the show features new live music performances encompassing all genres every Thursday night at 11 PM ET/8 PM PT on MTV.
The layout is a literal, physical “wonderland” of a street party, boasting three different stages with fun house-type decor, including a faux indoor dive bar and taco trucks. With all areas crawling with multiple cameras, some performances air on TV, while others are exclusive to MTV.com. Bonus: if you are in LA, you can grab tickets to the hottest party in town and get lit with some of your fave new artists!
Punk band SWMRS appeared on the show a few weeks ago, and played in the dive bar section, while Tove Lo performed outside on the mainstage. SWMRS is your modern day mix of The Beach Boys and The Ramones — a new generation Green Day, which makes perfect sense since drummer Joey is the son of Green Day frontman, and MTV rock star veteran, Billie Joe Armstrong. Lead singer Cole Becker even refers to him as “Uncle Billie.”
Check out the vid below of their performance of “Figuring it Out” HERE, their tunes below, and our Q&A with Cole below!
How do you feel about MTV bringing music back and being a part of that?
I’m so excited because I always felt like I would’ve been someone who would’ve been glued to MTV back in the day. In high school, I tried to find modules on the internet that would play full programming reruns of it. Music is a part of youth culture and it’s something that is really important for a lot of people, and from what I understand, it wasn’t really ditched for any particular demographic reason. They randomly just dropped music for awhile, so I’m glad it’s coming back. Music videos are really fun to make and to watch, so it’s really cool that they’re bringing back music and I’m really glad to be a part of it.
Have you looked back on any of the really famous shows like Nirvana’s Unplugged?
What’s cool is they’ve been doing MTV Classic, so I just recently re-watched Unplugged on TV, which was cool because I’d seen it on YouTube before and I loved that as a special. I was really happy I got to see it on the format that it was really intended for.
What made you write the song “Miley”? Do you guys actually really love her and think she is a “punk rock queen”?
I was writing for the school newspaper in Berkeley when I was going to college, and I got assigned to cover her entrance into the New York City Porn Film Festival. I was like, “What the fuck? Miley’s in porn now?” It’s actually a really cool video, really arty pornography. I started looking into more of what she’d been doing lately and I saw that she started a shelter for homeless LGBT queer youth, and I was really impressed. I was like, “Damn, Miley’s a very multifaceted person.” I was just toying around with the song and I put it on my own SoundCloud and all my friends were like, “dude, that song is so important.”
You guys are from Oakland, and the name of your current album is called “Drive North,” which is also an awesome song (on the album) about hating LA — do you actually hate LA?
I was in Hollywood yesterday. I fucking hate that part of LA. It’s so stressful. Everything east of Hollywood is pretty cool. Griffith Park is a really nice park. I didn’t realize LA had trees.The funny thing is that song goes off the hardest in LA. The culture [in LA] is very oriented towards pretense. Everybody’s trying to get their foot in the door somewhere, so there’s no genuine interaction, is what I’ve noticed.
You guys worked with Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day on many of your songs and as a producer — has he given you any advice on how to be a rock star since he was on MTV during its’ popular music period?
All he has ever done with us is just be supportive and made sure that we feel comfortable being ourselves, which I think was one of the most valuable lessons and support mechanisms that could’ve ever been offered. He’s been super hands-off, but just supportive, which has been so nice. When we did James Corden, he said, “Go up there and play it the way you play it every night and have a good time.” That was so important to me.
You have some pretty loyal fans — what kinds of crazy things have they done that you found surprising?
I would say the weirdest thing somebody has ever done … It wasn’t weird, but it’s one of the coolest fan interactions we have is we have a [fan] Takahiro from Japan, he saw us on [MTV] and since then has come to see us, like flown out from Japan, over 10 times. He always brings us gifts, like beautiful Japanese [gifts], like monogrammed chopsticks, and really cool shit.
What’s next for you?
We just re-released the album, so we’re touring it for another year and then maybe, maybe you’ll get new music!
How can we hear your tunes?
All Photos by Getty for MTV