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An Interview with indie band Swimming Tapes

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We sit down with Swimming Tapes band members Jason Hawthorne and Louis Price ahead of their performance at Hackney music festival Mirrors 2016 to talk about their rise to fame and what Swimming Tapes actually means.

Newcomers to the indie pop genre, five-member band Swimming Tapes are quickly making a name for themselves in London’s music scene. We sit down with band members Jason Hawthorne and Louis Price ahead of their performance at Hackney music festival Mirrors 2016, a one day festival featuring the likes of Bat For Lashes and Bill Ryder-Jones, to find out how they’re feeling about their big gig and what Swimming Tapes actually means.

London Calling: How are you feeling about performing at Mirrors 2016?

Louis Price: We’re super excited. It’s going to be our first proper biggish festival. And of course it’s in Hackney, which is where most of us live. So yeah, we’re super excited for it.

LC: Who are you most excited to be sharing the stage with?

Jason Hawthorne: Probably Bill Ryder-Jones. I’m a big fan of his stuff, even back when he was in The Coral. His album’s brilliant.

LC: What’s the story behind the name of the band? Swimming Tapes is pretty unusual!

LP: It took a few months before we actually came up with the name, but it came about when our bassist Paddy told us a story about him trying to sellotape a cassette player to his head while he was swimming when he was really young. And we just thought it was a funny story. And then we were bouncing some ideas about and someone said Swimming Tapes. It just sort of stuck.

LC: How would you describe your sound?

JH: Very summery, seaside-y, coastal-nostalgic. We tend to write a lot about memories, and three of us grew up by the seaside, so it was just an obvious route for us to take I think. A lot of our influences are quite pop-y, easy-listening, and very summery.

LC: Are there any musicians that you’ve taken inspiration from?

LP: I think we’re massively influenced by people like Wild Nothing, we love them, and we love Real Estate - a lot of American indie bands. We all sort of bonded over them when we first started this band. So, I would say our influence is mainly American indie music.

LC: For newcomers to your music, if you had to pick one track that shows people who you are as a band, which one would it be?

JH: I would go with Tides, our new single. It’s sort of a mixture of Souvenirs and Set the Fire. It’s not necessarily immediate; it’s more of a grower. It expresses our musicality I think. It’s a bit broader than Set the Fire is. And it’s just a very lush melody with lush tones.

LC: You guys have managed to have a huge burst of success in a relatively short amount of time. What’s the secret to your quick success?

LP: I think not believing your own hype or bullshit. We’ve all been in bands before and a lot of those bands were very driven and wanting success quite badly. But because this band was started out of pure love for simple song-writing and simple indie sounds, we just kept it simple and did what we wanted to do and not what we thought other people would want from us. So yeah, just keeping it simple.

LC: What’s been one of your favourite moments together since forming the band?

LP: Probably our favourite gig we’ve done which was our hometown gig over the summer. We played for the Open House Festival in Bangor which is where me, Robbie, and Paddy grew up, and of course Jason’s from Northern Ireland as well so some of his family were there too. It was just amazing. It was really good vibes and a lot of fun - and a lot of partying after.

LC: You have several singles out currently, are you working towards an album?

JH: At the moment we’re working on releasing another single at the start of next year and then we’re going to put together an EP and hopefully have that out in February. And then after that, the plan is to start working on an album.

LC: And what’s been your favourite place to perform in London?

LP: Probably The Brewhouse in London Fields. We played the opening launch party of Mirrors there. It was wicked. The stage was quite narrow but it was really busy and everyone had a good time, lots of nice beer too. That’s probably our favourite place we’ve played.

Swimming Tapes will be performing at Mirrors 2016 on October 29th, visit the one-day festival online to book tickets. You can also get Swimming Tape’s new single 'Tides' on Itunes.